Setting Healthy Boundaries with Myself

Everyone I know has trouble setting healthy boundaries, myself included!

It’s easy to think about how hard it is to set boundaries with the challenging people in your life. What we sometimes forget, is how important it is to set healthy boundaries with ourselves. So that’s what I’m going to be sharing with you today.*

Whether you realize it or not, you have a relationship with yourself. It may be caring and kind, harsh and critical, or neglectful and seemingly non-existent.

Part of your relationship with yourself includes setting boundaries with yourself…and it can be confusing at times.

Boundary Confusion with Myself

When I’m confused about what I’m responsible for and what God and others are responsible for I may think…

  • If I am needy, I am bad
  • It is up to others to meet my needs
  • It is selfish for me to have wants, needs and dreams
  • If I love, I should be loved in return
  • I can let some parts of my life go, and it will turn out okay
  • I can say anything I want, and others should understand and not be upset

TRUTH: Needs are created by God. Needs are good, and not having them met is painful. If I love, I may be loved in return. If I am not being loved in a certain relationship, I can invest in other friendship relationships. I can decide if I want to stay in a relationship or not (literally and/or emotionally). My life is my responsibility.

Setting Boundaries with Yourself

It is important to take ownership of your life, including your heart, mind, emotions, time, talents, work and maturing of your character.

When I take ownership of my life, I decide:

  • What I will do and will not do
  • To take care of myself
  • To give without resentment
  • To nurture my relationship with God
  • To take responsibility for myself and my own growth

When I take ownership of my life, I become more deeply concerned about my own issues than with the issues of the person I’m struggling with. I try to:

  • Not give into my temptation to focus on what the other person is doing wrong
  • Look at my own need to mature and grow
  • Help myself grow, even when the person I’m in relationship isn’t taking steps to grow

Two major areas in which we need to set boundary with ourselves in relationships:

Our own character

This includes the habits we struggle with, and the ways we get out of control. Ouch! No one wants to hear this, but there is hope here. Regardless of what the other person is doing, we can focus on our own growth.  We can work on our tendency to:

  • Deny or rationalize our failures or part in the problem
  • Avoid conflict rather than working problems through (if possible)
  • Want someone else to take responsibility
  • Only see only our point of view when hurting
  • Be critical and negative toward others. Love cannot grow in a climate of fear

Our attempts to control others – we do this in a variety of ways.

  • Guilt
  • Anger
  • Persistent assault on other person’s boundaries
  • Withholding Love

Ways you can help yourself set limits on your tendency to control others:

  • Ask your spouse, friend or another to let you know how your control affects him/her
  • Let yourself feel your own helplessness to change the other person
  • Learn to grieve what you can’t have and embrace the good that is there
  • Increase your support from self, God and others
  • “Hang onto yourself” when someone brings up a concern – say to yourself, “This is hard. I care about this person and our relationship. I’ll be ok…breathe. I may have some things to change, but I’m doing a lot right too”
  • Give freedom to the other person to be different from you
  • Set boundaries with the other person, rather than controlling him/her

Just as in all relationships, boundaries are easier to set when you have a loving and connecting relationship with yourself. For help to build a positive relationship with yourself, check out my book, Give Yourself a Break: Turning Your Inner Critic into a Compassionate Friend.

I hope this has given you some new ideas to think about regarding setting boundaries with yourself.

I’d love to hear from you. What made sense or stood out to you? When is it hardest to set a boundary with yourself? How have you seen yourself grow in this area?

Please share this post with anyone you feel could benefit, or on social media. We’re in this together…

*Some of this information based on information shared in Secrets of Your Family Tree, by Carder, et all)

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

12 thoughts on “Setting Healthy Boundaries with Myself

  1. —Wow, that’s really great information. Thank you so, so much Kim. —I love this question: “Ask your spouse, friend or another to let you know how your control affects him/her.” —I’ll do that even though I fear some of the feedback.

    “Let yourself feel your own helplessness to change the other person.” & “Learn to grieve what you can’t have and embrace the good that is there.” —Absolutely, really good advice!

    “When is it hardest to set a boundary with yourself? How have you seen yourself grow in this area?” When I feel disconnected from the Holy Spirit, even though I am communicating that in prayer, when that happens, I think internally: —You know what? I can just read and consume any theologian/ psychoanalyst, et.al.’s writings I want because God doesn’t really care about me. . . .Maybe Drs. Rudolf Bultmann; Dr. Barbara Thiering; D. F. Strauss; Dr. Margaret Barker; Dr. Jordon Peterson; Dr. Peter Rollins; Dr. Susan Davies, etc., etc. are right about God/ our mind, etc. I don’t really know what is going on when that happens but I assume it has something to do with feeling unloved/ disconnected and needing to feel powerful (—deconstructing, demythologizing the Bible/ Christian faith.) . . .When I feel the Holy Spirit’s love again, I can embrace more total mystery and sit with Jesus at the “kids table” more often (—which I have always felt more comfortable at anyway). —As sad as it sounds, I think it is an irrational way to “punish” God when I feel disconnected. But, obviously, we can’t punish God because He is complete without us. It could also just be a way to feel powerful because when that happens (—I feel disconnected from the Holy Spirit) I feel totally powerless. . . . I’ve grown in this area but NOT to where I need to be. I notice it when I have been consuming that scholarship and my counselor will start making statements about Jesus/ God. I find myself channeling those theologians/ psychoanalysts.

    —Anyways, here are my own simplistic thoughts: I understand that daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others but it’s so different with God who is my best friend. I mean, this is really crazy but when we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice, —BUT how on earth can we address this with God Himself? The most basic boundary-setting word is “no.” It lets others know that we exist apart from them and that we are in control of ourselves —but with God Himself? This is why I say the most real conflict you will ever have in your life won’t be with others, but with yourself, —internally. I want to experience life not as a victim but instead living it purposefully with some feeling of self-control. —Maybe that is the problem. I understand how to communicate expectations clearly, and consistently externally but with myself and God. I guess I can tell myself how I want to be treated, but with God, I don’t know how that would even work.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Aleea. I’m so glad this post was helpful. It is so wonderful you can tell you are growing in this area! One step at a time… I love this, daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others” Amen! I think you are closer to figuring all this out than you think. See what you think about this. It isn’t so much telling God how you want to be treated, but being open and real with Him, asking that He show you truth gently, take in love and grace from Him, and get a tiny bit closer to Him every week or month. Even when we say “no” to God, He doesn’t go away, but gently waits for us to turn back to Him. Blessings to you…

      1. Thank you so, so much Kim! That is so straightforward and so easy to implement. I love how you can simplify things and I can’t believe how much of yourself you are willing to give. Sometimes, when it gets really bad, I think, “For the Love of God, Aleea. . . .Kim Fredrickson is dealing with a hundred fold your issues and she goes on by the Grace of God, —now get back in there!”

        “I think you are closer to figuring all this out than you think.” —Oh my, —dare I even have hope like that? Kim, when you say it for brief moments I can believe it. . . . . There is something I can’t see; something I’m not yet aware of; something I’m not willing to do that keeps hanging me up.

        “See what you think about this. It isn’t so much telling God how you want to be treated, but being open and real with Him, asking that He show you truth gently, take in love and grace from Him, and get a tiny bit closer to Him every week or month. Even when we say “no” to God, He doesn’t go away, but gently waits for us to turn back to Him.…” —Okay, I’ll do it. I’ll tell Him even more deeply and really how I feel. I know He knows but I can fully articulate it to Him as well. I’ll pour my heart out even more and then wait even more on His replies. . . . He knows I so want Him, even when I’m totally confused by Him. He knows how deeply I want Him. I know He knows that. I need to learn to love myself first, —that’s one of my issues. —And my task is not even to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within myself that I have built against it, which are a lot!

        I so appreciate you Kim. . . .The caves we fear to enter hold the treasures we seek. . . . but who wants to go in there? —That’s where the dragons we need to slay are. . . .I keep looking for that black as night moment, the moment when the real transformation is going to come. —At the darkest moment comes the Light. . . . I’m always just trying to clear my own heart enough to receive it.

        Many prayers and love to you Kim, daughter of the King.

        1. You are so welcome Aleea! Love what you shared 🙂 One more thing… “I keep looking for that black as night moment, the moment when the real transformation is going to come. —At the darkest moment comes the Light. . . . I’m always just trying to clear my own heart enough to receive it.” I don’t think there is a ‘black as night moment’ – just a lot of dark gray ones, that we turn to Him some of the time…not all of the time. Transformation still happens…and it’s happening for you!!! Prayers and love to you too.

          1. “I don’t think there is a ‘black as night moment’ – just a lot of dark gray ones, that we turn to Him some of the time…not all of the time. Transformation still happens…”

            Thank you so very much Kim. —That’s very good and better framing because we all have more gray experiences than “black as night.”

  2. Wow, thanks so much for this article. I love it when you suggest what I can say to myself, like ‘this is hard. I care about this person and this relationship. I’ll be ok.. breathe ‘ I may have some things to change. But I’m doing a lot right, too.’ I tend to want the other person to say that to me, but I can learn to say it to myself and even hear God saying it to me (through you). Thanks!

    1. Jeanette,
      I love what you shared, “I tend to want the other person to say that to me, but I can learn to say it to myself and even hear God saying it to me (through you).” You’re on your way!!!

  3. Thanks Kim. Excellent as always!.]

    Reading through this I can see just how far I have come since reading your most helpful book.

    I owe you such a debt of gratitude!!]

    Love, Mary

    1. Mary…that must be so encouraging to see all of your growth. Yahoo!!! You worked hard, and went to God with your heart. No debt here, Mary. God has used you in my life to encourage me, and to let others know about my book! Whenever I see sales in New Zealand, I know they heard from you!

  4. Thank you, Kim! I will always be practicing and growing!!! One idea really stood out to me. “Learn to grieve what you can’t have and embrace the good that is there.” I find when I refocus my attention on my many blessings, (the good) and express my gratitude, it helps me resist getting stuck.

      1. I should add that refocusing doesn’t typically happen easily or quickly! Maybe the only way to get better at not getting stuck is to just keep practicing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *