Are you one of the many people who want to set boundaries, but the guilt of being rude or selfish stops you in your tracks?
Same… But I am here to tell you that you are not alone!
So this week, we’re discussing a common issue that many people, myself included, grapple with. It’s a challenge. It’s an issue I’ve been actively addressing for the last four years and occasionally find myself wrestling with…. learning How To Stop Feeling Guilty For Setting Boundaries.
September is designated as Self-Care Awareness Month, It is a time for us to take a moment to remind ourselves we have to take care of ourselves. It is essential. Self-care is often neglected. We tend to put everyone else’s needs before our own.
This is all about creating personal rules that define how we want to be treated by others and what we’re comfortable with. It’s a crucial aspect of self-care, yet it often triggers feelings of guilt. So, let’s explore how we can better navigate this emotional terrain and free ourselves from the guilt that can sometimes accompany boundary-setting.
It is time to Demarcate
According to Vocabulary.com, to demarcate is to set or draw a boundary, like that of a country. It can also mean to separate clearly in other ways. When you demarcate, you’re creating a boundary.
Dealing with the guilty part can be tricky. At first, you may be Feeling Guilty For Setting Boundaries. It may seem like you are being mean, rude, selfish… all the words that make you seem like a shitty person. That is because you are used to ALWAYS saying yes and you constantly put everyone’s needs above your own.
It’s a really bad habit to break, but I know you can do it.
I said before it may seem like you are being mean, rude, and selfish… But here’s the thing: It is not selfish; it’s necessary. Those guardrails on the highway I mentioned earlier are there to keep you safe. They are there to prevent you from going off the road. The boundaries you set keep you emotionally and mentally safe. They protect your well-being and relationships from getting derailed.
So, if you are struggling with guilt, remember it’s perfectly normal. It takes time to adjust to this new way of navigating your relationships. But with practice, it becomes easier, and you’ll find that you’re not only protecting yourself but also strengthening your connections with others.
The Purpose of Boundaries
Okay, so why are boundaries even a thing?
I like to think of them as your very own personal safety nets, the force fields of your emotional space. They’re there to keep relationships and daily routines from going off the rails. Boundaries are your way of saying, “This is how I expect to be treated, and these are the limits I won’t let anyone cross.” Boundaries are the rules you set for yourself and others in your life and you can set boundaries in various areas of your life.
These rules help you maintain a healthy balance between your own needs and the needs of those around you. I know reading that seems a little overwhelming and it can be. You might worry that you’re being selfish or hurting someone’s feelings.
However, it’s puzzling why we frequently experience guilt when attempting to establish them. Let’s take a closer look at this widespread challenge and I will give you the best straightforward advice that I can to help you overcome the guilt associated with creating a barrier around yourself.
Because without boundaries, stress and anxiety can sneak in, wreaking havoc on your health and relationships. So, they’re like your armor against the chaos of life.
Why Do We Feel Guilty?
Now, let’s get to the root of the problem: Why are we Feeling Guilty For Setting Boundaries? Well, it’s pretty common, and there are a few reasons behind it. Here are the main 3…
Firstly, many of us are raised with the idea that being accommodating and always saying “yes” to others is the polite and caring thing to do. We’re taught to avoid conflict and prioritize the needs of others. So, when we finally muster the courage to set boundaries, it can feel like we’re going against these ingrained beliefs, triggering guilt in the process. Establishing boundaries will stir up trouble, creating tension or awkwardness in your relationships or workplace. Essentially, you want to keep the peace, and boundary-setting can sometimes feel like it’s doing the opposite.
Secondly, When we set this standard for ourselves it often means we are disappointing or saying “no” to someone, which can evoke feelings of letting them down. We naturally want to be liked and maintain positive relationships, so when we draw a line, the fear of upsetting others can lead to guilt. Understanding these reasons behind the guilt is an essential step in learning how to overcome it.
Another reason for that nagging guilt is the concern that you’re being selfish by focusing on your own needs. Nobody wants to appear self-absorbed or thoughtless, right? So, the idea of putting yourself first can trigger a sense of guilt, as you strive to strike a balance between self-care and consideration for others. Understanding these reasons can help us better manage the guilt and find a healthy middle ground.
In real-life situations, it is essential to maintain healthy relationships, preserve your well-being, and ensure your personal needs are met. It’s common to feel guilty when you first start, but it’s important to remember that boundaries are a sign of self-respect and self-care. Here are 10 real-life situations along with tips on how to avoid feeling guilty about them:
- Work-Life Balance:
Situation: Your boss frequently asks you to work overtime or on weekends.
How to not feel guilty: Politely communicate your availability and the importance of work-life balance. Offer alternatives or compromises when possible.
- Personal Space:
Situation: A friend or family member invades your personal space or privacy.
How to not feel guilty: Calmly express your need for personal space and privacy, and explain why it’s important for you. Offer to spend quality time together at a more convenient time.
- Financial Boundaries:
Situation: Someone constantly asks to borrow money from you.
How to not feel guilty: Set clear financial boundaries by explaining your own financial priorities and limitations. Suggest alternative ways you can help, such as offering advice or resources.
- Emotional Support:
Situation: A friend frequently relies on you for emotional support, draining your energy. How to not feel guilty: Communicate your own emotional needs and let them know you’re there for them but need to prioritize self-care as well. Encourage them to seek professional help if necessary.
- Social Commitments:
Situation: You’re invited to multiple social events, and you’re feeling overwhelmed.
How to not feel guilty: Politely decline some invitations, explaining that you need time for self-care or other personal responsibilities. Prioritize events that truly matter to you.
- Online Boundaries:
Situation: You receive negative or hurtful comments on your social media posts.
How to not feel guilty: Block or mute individuals who consistently violate your online boundaries. Focus on positive interactions and engage with constructive feedback.
- Health and Well-being:
Situation: Someone pressures you to engage in unhealthy behaviors (e.g., drinking, smoking).
How to not feel guilty: Firmly but kindly decline and explain your commitment to your health. Offer alternatives for spending time together that don’t involve those behaviors.
- Time Management:
Situation: You’re over-committed and overwhelmed with various responsibilities.
How to not feel guilty: Prioritize your tasks and commitments, and learn to say no when you’re stretched too thin. Remember that you can’t be everything to everyone.
- Family Expectations:
Situation: Your family expects you to follow a specific life path (e.g., career, marriage) that you don’t want.
How to not feel guilty: Communicate your own aspirations and choices honestly and respectfully. Understand that your life choices should align with your values, not others.
- Toxic Relationships:
Situation: You’re in a toxic or abusive relationship.
How to not feel guilty: Seek support from friends, family, or professionals, and remember that your safety and well-being are paramount. In such situations, it is crucial for your mental and physical health.
Remember that standing up for yourself and asserting your wants/needs is a healthy and necessary practice for self-care and maintaining healthy relationships. Feeling guilty is natural, but it’s essential to prioritize your well-being and communicate your boundaries respectfully and assertively. Surround yourself with people who respect and support your boundaries, and don’t be afraid to seek professional help or counseling if needed.
Ditch Feeling Guilty for Setting Boundaries
- Talk it out: Tell the people who will be affected by your boundaries what you’re doing and why. Make sure they know it’s not about them; it’s about you taking care of yourself.
- Start with baby steps: Begin by making healthy decisions in less important areas of your life. This can help you feel more confident about setting limits.
- Be kind to yourself: Understand that it’s totally okay to put yourself first. You deserve to be happy and healthy, and putting your wants/needs first is a way to make that happen.
- Remember, boundaries can change: Know that your boundaries can shift as life changes. They’re not set in stone; they’re a tool to help you navigate life’s twists and turns.
- Get used to saying no: Saying no is a big part of boundaries. It’s perfectly fine to turn down requests or invitations that don’t align with what you need or value.
In a nutshell, this is all about finding a healthy balance in your life. Feeling guilty For Setting Boundaries can actually be a sign that you’re taking good care of yourself. With time, as you get more comfortable with this practice, that guilt will fade, and your relationships will become more real and satisfying.
How to Set Boundaries Without Feeling Guilty
Now, let’s dive into how to set boundaries without carrying around that pesky guilt:
- Keep boundaries separate from selfishness: Remember that not all boundaries are selfish. Healthy boundaries are about taking care of yourself, protecting your mental health, and deciding what you won’t tolerate. Selfish boundaries, on the other hand, aim to grab something from others, like their time or stuff.
- Set boundaries for your well-being, not to control others: Boundaries are all about looking out for yourself, not trying to control everyone else. You can’t make people respect your boundaries, but you can let them know what you expect.
- Think about what happens if you don’t set boundaries: Take a moment to reflect on how not having boundaries affects you and your relationships. What’s the impact on your well-being? Sometimes, the fear of setting the rule is worse than what actually happens.
- Be ready for some pushback: Don’t be surprised if others push back when you start setting boundaries. It might take a little time for them to get used to it. Stand your ground, but be open to finding a healthy compromise.
- Be crystal clear and direct: When you communicate your boundaries, be clear about what they are. If it helps, write them down. When you talk about your boundaries, be confident, and remember, you don’t need to explain yourself.
- Understand that boundaries can change: Just like life changes, your boundaries can change too. It’s a natural part of growing and adapting to new situations.
Sometimes you gotta say Fuck ’em
I won’t sugarcoat it; transitioning from being a people-pleaser to prioritizing your own well-being is a real challenge. It can often make you feel like you’re doing something wrong or being selfish, even though you’re not. Personally, I’m the kind of person who always wants to be on good terms with everyone and make friends with everyone. However, it becomes clear that trying to please everyone can lead to exhaustion.
Sometimes, you just have to take a step back and say, “I need to focus on myself and not worry about what others think.” If someone can’t respect your choices, or they refuse to understand and instead make you feel guilty, they might not be the kind of people you need in your life. Those who truly care about you will comprehend and respect your decisions.
I understand that it can be incredibly tough to distance yourself from certain individuals, especially if they’re family or long-time friends. But there comes a point when you have to realize that putting yourself first is absolutely necessary. If you’re constantly giving your all to others without considering your own needs, who’s going to do the same for you?
I’m willing to bet that you often find yourself always being there for others, yet it feels like no one is there for you when you need it. I experience that feeling too, and it’s not a pleasant one. If you don’t stand up for yourself, who will? It’s crucial to strike a balance between being there for others and taking care of yourself.
So, here’s the bottom line: setting boundaries isn’t about making life harder; it’s about making it better. Your needs are valid, and you have the right to protect your well-being. It might be challenging at first, but with these tips, you can navigate the boundary-setting process with confidence. And remember, boundaries are essential for a flourishing life and relationships. So, stop feeling guilty and start setting those boundaries for a healthier, happier you!
Let others and yourself know that…
Have that tough love conversation with yourself and literally out loud say to yourself I am sick of your shit. Then turn to a person who does not respect your boundary and say the same thing. LOL At this point in my life, I am over everybody’s shit and I am ready to tell them.
I am ready to be a villain in their story to protect my peace.
Ready to take action? Start your boundary-setting journey today. Begin by identifying what’s truly important to you, communicate your boundaries clearly and kindly, and remember that it’s okay to say no when necessary. By doing so, you’re not only nurturing your own well-being but also nurturing the health of your relationships. Start embracing boundaries, and you’ll soon discover the incredible positive impact they can have on your life. It’s time to prioritize yourself and your happiness, so go ahead and make the change!
Tell me in the comments one way you are working on setting boundaries and how you are getting over the guilt.
Until next time, Have a great day! Remember you are a badass!