Setting Boundaries Isn’t Selfish

I have come to realize that boundaries are really important.

Boundaries help me to survive and thrive so that I don’t feel like I’m drowning and can create the space to do what’s actually important to me.

Boundaries were never roll modeled for me.  I was born into a family of women who were super human.  My primary role models were my mom and her identical twin sister.  The two of them did everything for everyone, but last of all for themselves. I have memories of my mom staying up ironing until 2 a.m.

Where’s the joy in that!

I have learnt that without boundaries I often feel overwhelmed, underappreciated, frustrated and angry.  I end up doing the things that I truly didn’t want to be doing.

Can you relate?

Setting boundaries isn’t necessarily easy either.  New boundaries will impact others.


I was reminded of this by my very truthful older sister who kindly pointed out that “Victoria has no problems setting boundaries.”  When she first said it I internalized it as criticism, that I was selfish.  The reality is that yes, perhaps it comes across as selfish, but I know I’m not.

What’s important to remember is that boundaries aren’t selfish, they actually serve.  Boundaries enable us to prioritize ourselves, those we love and respect, and help us to achieve our goals.

Without boundaries it’s far too easy to have our days eaten up by everyone else’s wishes and priorities. 

At work, boundaries enable us to focus on the tasks that will impact what we are being evaluated on, vs. other people’s to dos.

In life, boundaries enable us to spend more time doing what is really important to us, vs. what is important to others.

3 Steps to Setting Your Own Boundaries:

1.    LISTEN: Listen to your gut, not your guilt.  Stop ignoring what your gut is telling you.  It’s most likely right.

2.    ASK:  Ask yourself questions like:

If not: decline, delegate or make a recommendation.

3.    TRUST: Trust that your decision to set boundaries will impact others. It may be really hard for them to accept.  Know this and make peace with it.  Think of it this way, if you don’t, you will continue to live the life others are asking of you, vs. the one you want.

This is where you get to trust that your boundaries have nothing to do with being selfish.  They are here to help you to prioritize and thrive.

With practice it becomes a habit and then your new normal.

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