I want to offer some assurance for anyone struggling with setting boundaries. Ready for it? Deep breath.
It’s not your fault.
Yep, I said it, and I’m going to say it again. It’s not your fault.
In my experience, there are plenty of good reasons we struggle with setting boundaries. Most of us are taught some pretty messed up stuff about them. We’re taught to put others first, even at a detriment to ourselves. We’re taught that we need to keep things smooth at the surface, even when that means underlying issues go unaddressed. We’re taught to be polite and deferential. We’re not taught how to listen to our needs, let alone speak them.
We’re taught these things so completely from such a young age that it’s hard not to believe them. The ideas given to us by someone else can start to feel like our own.
So, once more – take a deep breath. Remember that it’s not your fault. And even more, we can work on believing something different about our boundaries. Like that we’re allowed to have them, as a start. And that doing so doesn’t make us rude, selfish, or wrong.
I've created a PDF with 5 more affirming beliefs you can play with about boundaries. Try them on. See how they fit. Create your own, if you like.
You’ve got this.
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Nicole Perry is a Registered Psychologist and writer with a private practice in Edmonton. Her approach is collaborative and feminist at its heart. She specializes in healing trauma, building shame resilience, and setting boundaries.
About the Blog
This space will provide information, stories, and answers to big questions about some of my favorite topics - boundaries, burnout, trauma, self compassion, and shame resilience - all from a feminist counselling perspective. It's also a space I'm exploring and refining new ideas.