Does Anxiety Stop You From Setting Boundaries?

by | Oct 24, 2022 | Boundaries, Healthy Relationships

If you were to ask me if I would rather experience a high level of discomfort for a minute, or deal with a lower level of discomfort for days and weeks on end, I’d tell you that I’d rather have high anxiety for 30 seconds, than low-grade dis-ease for longer periods of time.  

Even so, I still find myself putting off uncomfortable conversations and then watching how those unfinished conversations and open loops just drain my energy over time.  

The idea of delivering disappointing news to someone fills me with anxiety, and my knee-jerk avoidance of that anxiety then leads to even more exhausting situations.  

Here’s the thing, though.  

When I began reframing the idea of “setting boundaries” as actually just living into my personal value system, honoring myself and standing, with integrity, for what I believe and value, I was able to start melting and shifting those old habits in meaningful ways.  

I began getting clearer on things like … 

  • Who I am and what I like about myself 
  • What I will accept in my life, and what I won’t accept in my life
  • What I will allow, and what I won’t allow 
  • When I will flex and flow, and when I will stand firm and static 

And, as I got clearer on the answers to those questions within myself first, it became much easier to communicate those things to others around me.  

If you struggle with similar things, you may want to reflect:  

Are you having more trouble getting clear on your internal boundaries and values, or are you having more trouble with communicating those boundaries to others?  

If it’s the former, then filling up and fortifying yourself and increasing your sense of self-connection and self-respect is needed first.  And if it’s the latter, then keeping a file of handy scripts may help!  (I provide a long sheet of these to students in my Boundaries Masterclass!)

And as we end, I want to leave you with a few reminders: 

Controlling someone is telling other people how they should live their lives, whereas healthy boundaries are telling them how they can participate in your life.  

Saying “I don’t like the way this makes me feel” is a perfectly acceptable reason to remove yourself from a conversation, person, place or thing.  Honor your feelings. That’s reason enough to walk away from something.

How are healthy boundaries enhancing your relationships?  I’d love to know.  Leave a comment below!

1 Comment

  1. Suzann

    Thanks for “I don’t like the way this makes me feel””I experience the low-grade dis-ease a lot of the time and that sentence sparked a possibility. It is in my relationship with myself and is helping as you say get clear and clearer on my internal boundaries and values. Thank you so much


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