Excerpt from Get What You Want: How to Go from Unseen to Unstoppable by Julie Solomon
Creating boundaries is not what people seem to think it is—putting up a wall around oneself so others can’t penetrate it, or forcing what you want at the expense of your own honesty. A wall is built out of fear and mistrust. It blocks people and experiences out. Boundaries, on the other hand, are markers, low fences. People and experiences can come and go, but you are the guardian of who swings open that gate and what comes in. Boundaries help us reclaim our own lives. Boundaries help us define what we want in our space, and what we don’t want. And we can’t know what belongs there if we don’t know ourselves in the first place. If we want to establish clear boundaries, we need to focus on ourselves, build our own strength, and ask for and accept help when we need it.
Often, people find it difficult to create boundaries because we have lost track of the separation between ourselves and others. I know this challenge intimately, having advocated for so long on the behalf of others in my lifetime. I spent years constantly reacting, worrying, pleasing, fixing, problem solving, and taking on responsibilities that didn’t have my name on them. The result was that I lost the sense of where I left off and others began. After becoming so entangled in someone else’s life and problems, I lost sight of the fact that we were separate people.
It only made sense to me to respond, fix, and find solutions for everyone around me.
I also confused this absence of boundaries with love and caring. I became so fixated on the choices and decisions other people made, I would lose the ability to distinguish between myself and them.
This is not love—it’s obsession.
By focusing on the lives of others instead of living our own lives, we move away from love and turn toward fear. Not only is it harmful to a relationship, it’s also extremely self-destructive.
Another thing that can happen when we lack boundaries is that we delay our own happiness. I did this for years because I didn’t want to upset the other person. I would act like I didn’t care; I would tell myself that the self-sacrifice was for the sake of making them feel better. Honestly, it was an effort to feel that I had some power over them.
The choice to abandon our own happiness for such a purpose is an act of fear, not love. Boundaries allow us to move away from self-abandonment and toward self-love. True, healthy love isn’t destructive or controlling. It doesn’t diminish or strip us of our identities, nor does it in any way diminish those whom we love. Love is nourishing; it allows each of us to be more fully ourselves. Most important, it allows us to have the least amount of responsibilities and control over another adult.
AFFIRMATIONS TO SET BOUNDARIES
- I am worthy of love and can give it to myself.
- I choose to take care of myself and my needs first. It is not selfish.
- I own my actions. I am not responsible for yours or how you respond to mine.
- I can love without taking responsibility for your pain.
- I let go of the belief that I must take care of and save everyone in crisis. I am not that powerful.
Get What You Want will show you how to get what you want, especially if you think getting what you want is impossible. Available in: