Boundaries help you build and maintain healthy relationships with others by helping you communicate to others where your responsibility begins and ends. One step to understanding this “line of responsibility” is being self-aware which can mean being in tune with your emotions, your thoughts, and your values. You could show this by evaluating how you think about a person’s perception of you. Do you put too much worth into what that person thinks of you? Do you know when you have emotional discomfort? By thinking through these questions you quickly realize who you want to spend your time with and who is draining you.
In this blog, I will go over 4 signs that you lack healthy boundaries with others. Identifying that you need better boundaries is the first step to creating a life where your needs are honored, respected, and prioritized.
Sign #1: You have a hard time voicing your wants and needs
This is a big one. If you feel uncomfortable telling the people in your life what you need and want, it’s a sure sign that you lack strong boundaries. You might feel selfish for doing this, but it is normal to have desires and expectations in your relationships. Without voicing them, you are keeping yourself from experiencing the fullness of the relationship. This is especially true if a person in your life makes you feel guilty for having wants. They are crossing your boundaries and the relationship could be negatively affecting you more than you know.
Sign #2: You feel drained
Another sign of unhealthy boundaries is that your relationships are not fulfilling you or allowing you to grow. If a relationship has healthy boundaries you will not walk away from interactions feeling exhausted, used, or unseen. Healthy relationships are based on respect, value, and a healthy amount of give and take. When you have healthy boundaries you are able to see what relationships are benefiting you and which ones are not.
Sign #3: You have a hard time saying no
A lack of healthy boundaries makes it hard for you to say no to things that you don’t want to do. You might have a fear of letting someone down or being abandoned if you don’t agree to what is being asked of you. News flash! Saying “I don’t want to do that” is a perfectly legitimate reason for not wanting to do something. And saying yes when you don’t want to might leave you feeling exhausted and resentful as you have left no time for yourself. It is helpful to remember this truth. Their feelings are NOT YOUR PROBLEM. Part of having healthy boundaries is knowing that what someone else feels is not your responsibility. And that may mean allowing them to feel their disappointment, anger or whatever feelings they have when you set healthy boundaries..
Sign #4: You don’t have a good sense of self
Without boundaries it is easy to let the needs and desires of others become your identity. This is because you are no longer living out of who God created you to be. Your world revolves around doing what makes other people happy rather than yourself. If you feel as though you have lost your sense of identity; ask yourself “What brings me joy?” At first you may feel selfish or wrong in defining who you are and who you are not because others will be angry or disappointed. You may feel guilty about saying no to the demands and expectations of others but living out of your authentic self is the only way to truly love yourself and others. It’s also the only way you can hope to live with internal peace no matter what anyone else demands of you.
If you have a hard time setting and maintaining healthy boundaries, we CAN help. At New Vision Counseling and Consulting we have highly trained therapists that will guide and walk beside you as you create healthy relationships and a fulfilling life. Your next step is to contact us at (405) 921-7776 to learn more about how we can best help you.