Why Do We Have Problems Setting Boundaries?

You and I have made it to mid-September and for that we deserve a pat on the back.  Most likely, you have either started back to school or someone in your household did.  Maybe you started a new job or like me, a new exercise program.  Regardless, you have most likely added some activity or commitment to your life that was not there earlier in the year.

All of this new and positive activity injection means that the energy that we have needs to used wisely and deliberately because there isn’t any spare to waste.  This has made me think not only about priorities but also boundaries because I want to eliminate the risk of being two months into my new routine and feeling overwhelmed, guilty, angry, victimized or suffocated.  All of these feelings along with complaining are clear signs that no boundaries in place.  And who hasn’t found themselves exactly there?

Why Do We Have Problems Setting Boundaries?

Many times, I have walked straight into a situation without the heads-up-thinking that I needed and found myself wishing I could find the nearest exit.  These situations have come both as innocent, in-the-moment agreements to do something like “sure, I can go shopping with you all day for a new dress for you sister-in-law’s wedding”, or bigger more permanent arrangements like “why not move in?”.  In both cases, my lack of stepping back and understanding what my boundaries were around the situation caused me to experience all those ugly, previously mentioned feelings.

Why is it that so many of us have problems setting boundaries?  What is our internal dialogue that tells us that it is wrong or harmful to be clear about what we will and will not tolerate?  You wouldn’t move into a house that did not have clear delineation point between your property and your neighbour’s, so why is it that setting limits between ourselves is considered to be not be friendly or neighbourly?

We Believe We Can’t Say “No”

Most of it comes from our belief that we cannot say no because we don’t want to lose people’s approval or to risk anyone thinking badly of us. It is about feeding our sense of self through other people’s perceived opinion or us.

The result of saying yes when we mean no drives us clearly towards giving ourselves a hard time and then our inner critic does the happy dance.  We end up not having the resources we want for the things that matter to us whether it is time, money or energy.  And the boost of self-esteem that we so wanted from others thinking we are amazing now feels more like we are being taken for granted.

So, I am imagining all the things that I want to get accomplished and create in the last few remaining months of 2019 and how they will enrich my life.  I am then imagining how much smoother it will be for me if I start saying no instead of yes so that I have the resources to do what I want and the sense of self to look after myself first.  Here’s to the power of saying no!

Let’s Connect

How can you practice imagination today?  What in your life can you build an imaginary story around?  What’s stopping you from imagining – nothing!

And as always, I invite you to join in on the conversation on Facebook and Instagram 

To our Health and Wellbeing,


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