Our very first Guest Blogger is here Lady!
The incredibly insightful Family Therapist, Tracey Alder, takes a look into why we women find it so challenging to create and enforce boundaries - particularly when it comes to the idea of self care.
Boundaries: Wow, it’s a loaded word.
Most of us know we need to have them in our lives, but when asked to describe them we become vague, have trouble finding the words, frown lines deepen.
From my training and experience, both professionally and personally, boundaries are not naturally intrinsic. They are a skill set that, ideally, are passed down to us by our caregivers. If so, we find that our internal alarm system – our gut instinct - can be relied upon to alert us that somethings is wrong and we act on that sensation. Job done.
If we haven’t been taught these lessons, we have to learn about them ourselves and muddle clumsily through. This takes work, time and energy. Ugh! Who can bothered?
Without a boundary template, we can find ourselves being unsure or uneasy about what, when, why or how to implement them. And more often than not, the uncertainty will be accompanied by varying degrees of guilt or confusion.
Alarmingly, if an attempt is made to vocalise our boundaries to those close to us, we can be met with resistance, which then prompts endless self-doubt and a tendency to subscribe to the dangerous rhetoric that we are bossy, selfish or irrational.
For women, this is particularly problematic due to a broader cultural context - we are supposed to be all-giving, all-doing, all-seeing, self-sacrificing Queens Of The Universe aren’t we? No wonder we struggle with the idea of them setting them!
Resistance to our boundaries can come in all shapes and sizes: whether it’s a sticky-faced, over-tired toddler; a belligerent and entitled teenager; a persistent and boring colleague; a toxic friend that demands more of you than you can give; or a partner who just can’t be bothered to listen or respond appropriately.
What do we do then? Frequently we will crumble, relent or give in. And the common side effect of this is resentment, low self-esteem and doubt. In a nutshell, we put our needs second.
So why are boundaries so integral to healthy relationships, including the one we have with ourselves? Fundamentally, they protect us and promote respect.
For this reason, boundaries easily fall into the category of self-care, and so sadly they are shunted to the side and filed under ‘not important’.
Think about that for a minute: do you deserve to feel safe and respected? Do your needs matter? Do you believe that you matter? Are you enough?
When you get a taste of the positive effects of healthy boundaries - whether it be physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually or culturally - it usually feels too good to ever go back.
You may find you have more time, you can say “no”, you make better choices and the people in your orbit treat you well. You are asserting your wants and so you should!
You can follow Tracey on the squares HERE