Do You Feel Guilty Setting Personal Boundaries?

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Ever had that feeling of guilt when you set a boundary with someone?

  • You say you can’t help a friend with moving house.
  • You say you can’t loan money to a family member.
  • You say to your partner that you don’t want to visit your in-laws
  • You say to a friend that you won’t accept any longer her always leaving it to the last minute to cancel on you.

Yeah, you know what I mean? You’ve dared to voice your boundary but then guilt starts to creep in. You contemplate what you have said.

Questioning how it’s going to make them feel if it’s going to affect the relationship you have with them. You even start to consider if you should recall what you’ve said and let them know you are available or can attend or you will go. 

The reason you feel guilty is that you may be feeling the other person’s disappointment or because you think you are prioritizing your own needs over someone else’s. It feels as though you are rejecting others and being uncompassionate in their moment of need. 

I mean how dare you do that right?

Well, I let you in on a little secret. The real truth is when you set and maintain healthy boundaries it avoids resentments and nurtures our compassion for others. When you put others all the time first, you start to feel depleted, resentful and your needs don’t get met. 

The knock-on effect of that is, you then go looking to get your needs met from others, which they, in turn, try to fulfill out of a similar sense of obligation and to avoid guilt!

So next time you set a boundary and you feel guilt coming on, tell yourself “It’s OK to set boundaries” or “I’m proud of myself that I set the boundary, although it was uncomfortable to do” or “feeling guilty is not a sign I have done something wrong”.

It may even be worthwhile to investigate why you think the thoughts you do about boundary setting. Try an uncover what you have been conditioned to think about when it comes to setting boundaries.

Another important thing to remember…

You are not responsible for other people’s feelings or comfort level. More importantly, if you are always trying to take care of someone else’s feelings, you are aiding them to remain in the role of a victim. 

Setting boundaries is a skill. As with learning any new skill, the more you practice the easier it becomes. The more you practice, the less guilt and fear you’ll feel and the more people will adapt to your boundaries.

Having healthy boundaries is your way of showing others how want to be treated and the more confident you become in setting your boundaries you’ll begin to see a positive shift in how people treat you.

Rachel Goss is a Life Coach at Thought Performance Coaching. Rachel is a compassionate, caring and insightful Life Thought Coach. She is passionate about supporting people to step out of suffering and limitation and step into fulfillment.

With her support and guidance, you connect to your inner wisdom, unleash your true potential and optimize your emotional well-being. Experience inner freedom and see your life through a different lens. Read about her Creating Healthy Boundaries coaching program.