Have you ever felt like someone’s buffet? Do you lay it all out for people and allow them to come and take as much as they want, whenever they want? If so, setting boundaries may be an area of your life that needs more attention. Boundaries are the energetic barriers that help us stay connected, in tune, and in alignment with ourselves. They cultivate healthy relationships and attachments, and they prevent you from extending yourself beyond your limits.
Do you remembering being taught to share as a child? The phrase, “sharing means caring,” always pops in my mind when I think of my earliest childhood memories. The conditioning that we received as children contributes to our inability to set and hold strong boundaries. Being taught to share because that shows someone you care sets us up for dysfunctional relationships later in life. Sharing is great but sharing at the expense of yourself is toxic.
If the amount of energy you expend in your relationships always exceeds the amount received, boundaries may be an issue for you. They definitely have been for me. When you’re in the midst of living with no boundaries, you believe that you are supposed to give without limits, especially to the people you love the most. You also believe that it is ok to sacrifice yourself in order for those around you to be fulfilled, even if that sacrifice is at your own expense. These beliefs contribute to our inability to form and enforce healthy boundaries in our lives. They also perpetuate the false narrative that in order for us to maintain relationships with the people that we love, we must be available for them whenever and put up with whatever.
Well, that simply isn’t true.
You don’t have to sacrifice your needs and wants to make others happy. You don’t have to be available 24/7, nor do you have to work yourself to the point of exhaustion just to prove that you love someone. The people that are meant to be in your life will always respect your boundaries; they may even help you step into them. The giving and receiving will be reciprocal and being around them won’t leave you feeling drained.
What I’ve learned over the years is that when you live without boundaries, you will always feel depleted. With some people, you could give everything you have plus more, and it still wouldn’t be enough. They will always withdraw without making any deposits. Your life will be plagued with unhealthy relationships, and you will always wonder why you aren’t receiving on the same level that you are giving. You will live out of balance with the scales tipping in everyone else’s favor. You’ll be left in the negative, and by the time you realize it, you’ll be so depleted and misaligned that you will have to spend years climbing out of the energetic hole that you’ve been dug into.
The good news is that it is never too late to begin setting and enforcing boundaries in your life. How you engage in the relationships is completely up to you, and it will be up to you to choose to set the boundaries that free you energetically! Remember, sharing is great, but not at the expense of YOU!!