Boundaries aren’t limited to saying no. Boundaries reflect what we believe we deserve.
Some people were born into situations that encouraged listening to and trusting themselves. Others had their right to self-respect violated at an early age. If our ability to trust ourselves was tampered with when we were young, we may have to work extra hard to acquire and keep boundaries—and self-esteem— in place.
“Someone who barely knew me mentioned to a friend that he thought I was selfish,” a woman said. “For the next six months, I had the worst time setting limits. I kept trying to prove how unselfish I was.”
No matter how many boundaries we’ve set, it’s not unusual to still feel guilty each time we say no. We may be afraid that we’ll lose the other person, or that he or she will go away if we say no. But when we don’t honor ourselves by setting boundaries, we’re the ones who disappear.
Challenge: The hardest thing about boundaries can be recognizing that we’ve lost or misplaced ourselves again. Maybe we could look at setting boundaries as an ongoing process of discovering who we are.
From the book: 52 Weeks of Conscious Contact
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