Updated: Mar 4, 2021
Why you’re not setting them and what to do to put YOU first
I used to feel that if I told certain people how I honestly felt and what I needed that I’d be “rocking the boat” of the relationship. So I stayed quiet.
Have you done this before?
And sometimes, I felt so exhausted from being spread so thin that I simply ignored the situation/problem and diverted away from it.
If so, when did you start to realize that your boundaries had become weak? Maybe you’re just noticing now.
I think sometimes women feel that peace only thrives in a relationship when we put ourselves to the side and accommodate others to the point of exhaustion.
This never helps though. In fact, it can lead to heightened stress, resentments and feelings of overwhelm.
The Importance Of Setting Healthy Relationship Boundaries
A woman this week told me that between work, being a mom, and being busy, she has NO time to set boundaries. The idea of not having time to set boundaries in relationships, however, is a myth, and a dangerous one at that. In fact, if you want to be a good mom, friend, professional, lover, etc, it is crucial you set healthy boundaries. Here’s why.
If you’re not creating a sacred space for yourself and you don’t say no sometimes, space will not exist. And, it is detrimental to your health to refrain from setting and maintaining boundaries in relationships and creating healthy space for yourself.
Without boundaries, you’re being inauthentic in your relationships. A lack of boundaries—even loose ones—creates a lack of real depth or true presence within you and with others.
Without boundaries, you’ll experience more stress, exhaustion, health issues, digestive issues, and have less energy.
You won’t feel seen or heard because you’re not expressing yourself in a way that others can hear.
Why Don’t Women Set Healthy Relationship Boundaries?
There are two main reasons that women don’t set boundaries. One is an attempt to avoid conflict. The other is that most women haven’t been taught how to effectively communicate boundaries or how to say no.
When I asked my Facebook group of 1700 women why they don’t set boundaries, the number one answer was avoiding conflict. In doing this, however, we’re equating conflict with something negative. And most people avoid what’s “negative.”
The reason boundaries and potential ensuing conflict feel negative are that we are afraid we’ll get hurt or that we’ll hurt someone else. In the short term, this avoidant behavior does relieve some tension in the body. However, in the long term, it can lead to resentment, heightened stress, digestive issues, increased tension in the body, headaches, sleep problems, and issues within the relationship itself.
If you’re avoiding altogether, here are some ways you may be doing it:
Ignoring the problem
Sometimes we pretend that a problem doesn’t exist. However, inside our bodies, we’re fuming and upset by being hurt. However, we might continue to act as though nothing has happened, and the other person has ZERO ideas what’s going on.
You’ve swallowed your feelings down. And, you could also be swallowing down food, especially sugar, which happens for a lot of women who are not dealing with their feelings.
Changing the subject
You’ve decided to divert the problem into a different problem.
A few years ago my best friend forgot my birthday, although she remembered two months later. I was upset, and it took me time to calm down before I could talk to her about it, which is always a great thing to do before approaching someone. So, yeah, she forgot my birthday, which was the issue. However, rather than talking to her directly about it, I could have transferred my anger and “changed the subject,” getting upset with her for missing a yoga class or something else. Or, I could have taken my upset out on someone who felt safer at the time. For example, I’m upset with my best friend for forgetting my birthday, but then I’m suddenly angry at my boyfriend for not organizing date night. Both scenarios only lead to increased upset.
In order to avoid conflict, you dissociate and/or stop engaging. At times it is healthy to stop engaging. We get to pick our battles, and we can choose to walk away from toxic situations. When posed with what to do in situations like these, I have often drawn from the Serenity Prayer.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
In my Facebook group, the second reason women said they weren’t setting boundaries was lack of knowing how to communicate them, but we MUST empower ourselves and engage effectively and move through conflict. Not doing so leads to a long list of mental, emotional, physical, and relational issues, including:
Your emotional health. Suppressing your emotions can affect your cortisol and stress hormones, which will challenge your health, sleep, weight, etc. These unresolved emotions can also show up in other avenues of your life, leading you to be reactive rather than responsive because you’re really feeling fear.
Creating more fear because you’re teaching your brain that conflict is negative and bad. Conflict will be equated with anxiety.
Making less money and missing out on opportunities. You’ll likely not challenge yourself or take risks to grow at work because you’re staying “safe.” This means less money and less success.
Missing out on playful, authentic and sensual relationships because you may be accommodating everyone around you, even in bed. You’re living out other’s desires and NOT YOUR OWN. You’ll miss out on authentic relationships with your kids, too, because you’re letting them run the show instead of being a good role model.
Poor sleep. You’re likely exhausted because you’re doing everything for everyone else.
You Can Set Healthy Relationship Boundaries And Live With Increased Peace And Joy
Isn’t it time to up your game and learn to set effective and healthy boundaries? How can you contribute to more peace in your life and peace in this world?
As a coach for women, I have helped thousands of women set and maintain healthy relationship boundaries and drastically improve all aspects of their lives, as well as develop sustainable, supportive and nourishing relationships of all kinds. If you’re ready to step into your personal power, I invite you to contact me to talk about coaching for women, your needs, goals, and how I can best support you on your bright and beautiful journey.
Also, if you haven’t been taught how to effectively communicate your boundaries so you can feel heard and seen and are interested in learning more, I invite you to check out my free Lovingly Assertive Script.
All my love,