“Setting boundaries is selfish”
“If I set boundaries, I will be hurting others and people won’t like me”
“Boundaries can harm my relationships”
If you ever had someone, tell you that you were being selfish after deciding to create boundaries for yourself, then you are not alone. This is a common misconception created partially by our culture that links being selfish with people who set boundaries. To clarify this fallacy, a better term to use would be that setting boundaries is not a selfish act, but rather a considerate one! When you take the time to realize what your limits are, communicate the things you accept, clarify the things you are not okay or comfortable with, and finally set all of this in place to the people around you, what does that mean? It means you get the chance to create some sort of standard of how you want to be treated by others! Which is very important and impactful for your own self-worth and for your relations with others.
Turning Pleasers Into People
Some people assume that boundaries can negatively affect or even harm their relationships. They might think that when they set certain limits when they feel uncomfortable, this will result in offending or hurting the other party. Therefore, communication is automatically thrown off the table, they find it difficult to have a conversation, so instead they choose to stay quiet and bend over backwards to satisfy the other person, out of fear of losing/ upsetting them. Plenty of people might fall into this act even when they know that what they are agreeing with can harm them in some way. Eventually, they turn into people pleasers with new goals focusing on how to satisfy and please the needs of those around them rather than taking care of themselves. At some point in our lives, we’ve been there. Even when it comes to very simple acts like being forced to go out with your friends even though you don’t feel comfortable around certain people in that group. Yet, when you feel pressured to do something, sometimes we automatically want to please others and just go with it even if we know that we might get hurt and feel uncomfortable.
The Truth About Boundaries
The truth is, when it comes down to it, boundaries help us have healthy relationships with people, not harmful ones. They help us know and understand when we need to say “no” and teaches us where our values lie. They also make our expectations clear to those around us, which eases communication and makes relations smoother, simpler, and healthier. Setting emotional or physical boundaries protects your relationships whether it’s at work, at home, with your friends, or with your significant other. It's always important for us to keep in mind that when we put our own needs above those of others, we are not being selfish, but rather we are simply taking care of ourselves and our wellbeing. You should not have to minimize or belittle your wants and needs to satisfy or please the people around you (we know it’s hard and slipups are bound to happen), but simply being aware of how important your mental health is and how important your boundaries are can make you think twice when a situation shakes that fact. When you learn to express and communicate your needs without fear or worry of hurting your friends, family, co-workers, or significant others, your relationships will become much more stable as people will have a better understanding of how you want them to deal with you.