BOUNDARIES, THE ESSENCE OF CONFIDENCE
Updated: Mar 25
To this date, this is my favorite of my Instagram posts. Boundaries are the foundation of my framework at selfishladies. And they will become the foundation of your life when I’m done with you 😊
Perhaps like all of you, I thought I knew what boundaries were. I was a clinical social worker, I was helping clients set boundaries and respect boundaries, and I thought I was doing it correctly. I thought I knew what they were - and my-oh-my was I wrong.
My life coach training manual included a one-page outline on boundary setting. Plain, simple, and to the point. One page. When I read through the content on boundaries, I remember having the most notable physiological reaction throughout my body. It resonated on the deepest level of my being. I related so heavily to all this information, and I had just never had the words to put to my experiences. How could one page bring me so much validation?
This caused me to wonder how or why I had never learned about boundaries in these terms. I reflected and took time to combine this information with the knowledge and skills I had being a therapist - I started putting these puzzle pieces together. Issues including (and not limited to) self doubt, and people pleasing started to merge and unfold in front of me. The feeling I had while connecting these dots this left me speechless. After a few months pondering the question "what does all of this mean?," I gradually came to my realization that (most) women have been socialized in a way that prevent us from setting boundaries; prevent us from doing the VERY thing that is required to build confidence and a sense of self worth. This was the genesis of my embracing that I had to spread the gospel - I was going to teach and educate women how to be selfish.
And so I did.
Those of us who do not know how to set boundaries with ourselves, and others, were just never taught. We were taught (directly or indirectly) that wanting or needing something was selfish. When you were considered selfish you were left feeling ashamed by family or other figures of authority. Your needs were not allowed to be a priority - HOW DARE YOU THINK ABOUT YOURSELF BEFORE OTHERS.
Is this sounding familiar?
Because we were not taught to embrace our needs, we must learn. We must take our lives into our own hands and learn how to shift our thinking and perspective in order to understand ourselves in relation to ourselves and others, in a new and entitled way.
What is a boundary?
A boundary is us communicating to ourselves first, and then to others, that “I MATTER.”
Plain. And. Simple.
When you matter to yourself, you are not as afraid to honor what you want and need, and make that known to others. You are less threatened by others when you know that you matter. You are less reliant upon others to validate you, and help you feel good about yourself. You compare yourself less, AND when you notice that you are comparing, you can check yourself without wandering down the self-doubt and self-hate rabbit hole.
So what else happens when we don’t have boundaries?
We people please. We are indecisive and respond to others' suggestions or requests about plans etc with, “its alright its ok it doesn’t matter.” We accommodate and tolerate inappropriate behavior from others without saying anything about it (moreover we question ourselves about what we did to make them behave that way).
We can be left feeling belittled or emotionally abused. This is because we think its our job to fix others, so when they are harming us we either think we need to change them, or we find a way to blame ourselves for their behavior. We have trouble identifying how we feel because we don’t know how we feel, because we are so focused on others. We avoid conflict – because god forbid we don’t want the same things that others want; we blame ourselves and see this as a bad thing – as something we did that was wrong or bad.
Finally, we may form attachments to others really easily – smothering them or enmeshing with them too quickly – why? Because we are so afraid that they will leave us, we are so afraid that we are leave-able and not worthy because we see ourselves as unworthy. Because we don’t have boundaries. Remember, boundaries are all about me mattering. Thus, If I don’t have boundaries, I don’t matter, so I defer to others to dictate or define my worthiness.
Boundaries are the access key for the all inclusive confidence club. When I can learn to honor my needs and make them priority regardless of being faced with opposition or disagreement, then I can be my own boss. When I can face conflict and I don’t take the outcome personally (to the best of our abilities), then I am I control of my well being and not others.
WHEN I AM SELFISH, I am a better version of myself and thus a better friend/partner/boss/lover/employee/parent/sibling/child/student to others. Its life’s greatest paradox, according to me, and I’m honored to preach my gospel.