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Why Boundaries Help Us Grow

Setting boundaries isn't selfish or unloving — it's self-care and love for others.

We’ve been taught that boundaries are selfish, or unloving. In reality, they are the opposite. When you set a boundary, you are communicating to someone that their behavior is unacceptable. This can feel uncomfortable for both parties; the person who receives your boundary may be hurt by it at first and needs time to process your request for change. But if they continue to behave in an unhealthy way after receiving your boundary, then it should probably be clear that this relationship has run its course — whether you choose to end it or not depends on what is best for all parties involved.

Setting boundaries doesn't mean being selfish; it means taking responsibility for yourself and making sure others know how much of yourself is available for them before jumping into a relationship with them (or renewing one). Think about how people treat their possessions: They don't lend out things they don't want damaged or lost! It's no different when you're talking about yourself as “property."

There is a difference between supporting someone and enabling them.

Enabling is not helpful. It’s not helpful for you, and it’s also not helpful for the person you are trying to support. This can be confusing because it may seem like your goal is to help them, but in reality, all you are doing is enabling them.

Sometimes we need boundaries so that we don't enable others or ourselves. A boundary is something that helps us set limits on what we will allow ourselves and others to do or have in our life. Boundaries help us identify who we are as individuals while helping us learn how to take care of ourselves first before taking care of others.

Enabling comes in many forms: financial support, allowing someone else's bad behavior/choices without consequences, making excuses for another person's bad behavior/choices without consequences (ex: "You were drunk when you said that"). Enabling often occurs when there is an unhealthy relationship dynamic between two people where one person tries desperately to control their partner by denying reality ("You didn't mean it,") lying about situations ("He did something terrible") or manipulating information ("I've never seen him act like this before.")

You can't be everything for everyone.

Boundaries can be difficult to set, but they are necessary for your mental health. You want people to think highly of you and for them to like you. However, there’s a fine line between being friendly and helpful, and allowing others to take advantage of your kindness or drain your energy.

You can’t help others if you don’t take care of yourself first! If someone asks too much from you, then they aren’t respecting the boundaries that exist between the two of you. They may not realize that their request is unreasonable or hurtful until after they have made it – so unless they are open-minded enough to listen when told ‘no,' then it might be best if they find someone else who will meet their needs without imposing on other relationships (including yours).

You can't help others if you don't take care of yourself.

You can't help others if you don't take care of yourself.

This is the most important principle in this article, because it's a truth that we all need to learn but often forget. You can't be there for other people if your physical and emotional health are suffering because you have not taken time to care for yourself.

You cannot be there for anyone else unless you are present, both physically and emotionally. If you're exhausted from being up all night worrying about your sick child or dealing with an argument between siblings, then obviously it's going to make things harder on everyone when it's time to go out into the world and do something productive.

Boundaries are in place to encourage growth, not hinder connections.

One of the most common questions I get asked is this: Why does it seem like everyone has boundaries except me? You might be asking yourself that question right now, which is why we need to address the myth that boundaries are negative. Boundaries are not about disconnecting from others or cutting them out of your life; they’re simply a way of managing your own energy and protecting yourself from things that don’t serve you. It’s also important to clarify what boundaries aren't:

  • Boundaries aren't meant to control or restrict anyone else's behavior (that would be manipulation).

  • Boundaries aren't meant to make other people do what we want them to do (that would be manipulation).

  • Boundaries are not walls that keep us apart from our loved ones; they're bridges between us and them—a way of communicating our needs so we can work together as a team instead of against each other.

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