BETTER BOUNDARIES: 5 Biggest Myths That Cause Guilt And Prevent You From Setting Better Boundaries

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woman feeling guilty about setting boundaries

When you're ready to set better boundaries in your life, it's a really good idea to uncover some of the myths that might be skewing your perspective. 

When I begin work with clients, it’s one of the first things we do together. 

As we start talking about some myths they might be operating from, I'll ask them…"what's getting in the way of setting better boundaries?" They’ll give me their reason and it turns out to be a myth. So today, I'm sharing five of the most common myths I dispel with my clients, in order to restore the deep depletion and exhaustion they’re feeling from over-committing and chronic people pleasing. 

Before we review the five myths, I really wanted to discuss obligation. Obligation tends to be the underpinning of why we don't set better boundaries for ourselves. So let's talk about obligation. Here's the dictionary definition...

...An act, or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound, a duty to commitment. Ex: “I have an obligation to her to look after her.”

And then similar descriptions are duty, commitment, responsibility, moral imperative, a task, a job, a chore, an assignment, a burden, an onus, liability, accountability, requirements, pressure constraint. 

When we look to set better boundaries, we can experience guilt. We might feel guilty, because we have an obligation to somebody. Be careful here, because that obligation can also be used against us. We can be guilted into doing things, because of an overdeveloped sense of obligation. I just wanted to bring this up, so you can start to determine how you're setting your boundaries. You want to define them with self-care in mind and the intention to have healthier relationships with others. Let's jump into the top 5 myths I regularly cover with my clients…

...Myth #1: If I set boundaries, I'm selfish. 

I swear, this is probably the very first thing that comes out of their mouth when we start talking about building better boundaries in their life.

This is a myth! You get to decide how to take good care of yourself. Setting boundaries is being honest and truthful in your relationships. This one though…is the reason why I covered obligation. People can accuse you of being angry for setting boundaries. You might feel guilty for taking better care of yourself. That's why I want you to really discern the difference between healthy and unhealthy obligations. 

...Myth #2: Boundaries are a sign that people can't rely on me. 

Here comes that guilt again, right? However, when we take good care of ourselves, we are going to be congruent. If you’re feeling like people can't rely on you when you set boundaries, then there's going to be times you’ll notice that you're incongruent with your YES. You want to be a full YES when you agree to help people and here’s the reason why. When you're stepping up and helping people, even when you don't have the time, energy or resources to help them, it’s going to cause you stress and begin to degrade your health. You’re not being honest with them, or yourself, and you might be falling into the “people pleasing” trap. Here’s the truth. People can absolutely rely on you even more when you explain your limits. You get to say “I'm at capacity today,” 

Keep in mind you're gonna get people who'll run to you with their urgency and they need your help. Give yourself a moment to check in with yourself, because their urgency is not your emergency. I've always loved that quote.

...Myth #3:  If I set boundaries, it will hurt others.

Others are responsible for their emotions around your boundaries. It’s true that some people might feel hurt. Remember, this is not your responsibility. There's a difference between uncomfortable and harm. And I want you to know and discern the difference. Another thing to be aware of is when you do start to set boundaries, you're going to get some pushback. 

Your boundaries are not a weapon that you’re using to hurt them. Boundaries are a way you give yourself permission to take better care of yourself. 


Wait!...There's Two More Myths

I've got two more you'll wanna know about, so watch the video below to catch the last two. 


Your self-care coach,


Ps...The consensus in psychology, regarding lack of healthy boundaries, says that we didn't get our needs met when we were young, so we sought approval, support and direction outside ourselves. I dive deeply into these old patterns to help you heal and restore the deep depletion and exhaustion you've been feeling around giving away your time, energy and resources.