The discussion about selfishness has me thinking about boundaries. I hear so much about creating healthy boundaries and I think I’m getting a handle on what that means, but trying to keep boundaries healthy seems to be harder in relationships that matter the most.

At first I thought setting boundaries was just a matter of saying “no” more often. I sort of went overboard for awhile, even a little bit rude or selfish, I’m afraid. I gained a little grace at saying “no” by learning how to set boundaries early in a conversation or a relationship. Like when someone calls on the phone I now will say something like, “I can only talk for a few minutes, but I’d love to hear more later. For now, do you want to give me the short version of why you called?”  In a relationship I might talk about how lending money to friends is something I do very carefully and only one debt at a time. It’s easier to talk about lending money when it isn’t actually up for discussion, but just as a subject of conversation.

Another thing I’ve learned about how to deal with someone who asks me to do something I don’t really want to do, is I ask myself, “will it hurt me to do this thing?” That question can help me sort through my own definition of selfishness. I also remind myself, that I get to chose how to give to others, when and even if I want to give to others. If I am giving out of obligation, then I need to dig deeper and ask myself if this then, is truly giving? For me, I’ve just come to understand that setting a boundary is better than giving out of obligation. It’s more honest, anyway.

16 Responses to Boundaries

  1. Scottf14 says:

    This makes perfect sense to me. There is no reason to feel obligated to give anything of yourself. It should always be a choice to give, or not to give. Otherwise it can lead to resentments.

  2. reiki says:

    ^ lf you have a family being selfish is nearly impossible, lf your a good parent saying no happens on a regular basis. I remember when l was young l really enjoyed being selfish but things changed once l had a family.

  3. Luv4ever says:

    I really, really struggle with this one. It gets me frustrated because even when I can tell that I should go ahead and establish these things early, I just can’t. I’ve tried, but I don’t think I handled it the right way. I kind of feel as though I’m not aggressive enough for people to take what I say seriously, but I don’t want to get crazy about it. It’s extremely hard to find the right balance.

  4. jonathan says:

    I will try to remember the question you ask yourself when someone asks you to do something you don’t want. Will this hurt me? I will use this for myself because it seems that this question goes to the core of the problem and solves in a flash. Sometimes when someone would ask me to do something I would immediately and without thinking put a sad face or moan giving away the fact that I did not want to do that. But asking myself this question will give me the answer and I can be more polite when actually answering.

  5. davbonpol13 says:

    It is hard to set boundaries, especially with family. I am a giver by nature, so have to be very careful not to let this side of me get out of hand! Not long ago, my sister sought my advice on this very subject. Her daughter has been leaning very hard on her, to the point that my sister needs to make her boundaries known to her daughter. The thing is, my sister knows that her daughter needs help, and it is hard for her not to help her when she asks. Her daughter has become too dependant on her mother and needs to be lead to more resources for help.

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