It is easy to undervalue what you are doing and how you live your life. Thinking this is the way I am, and this the way life is. Often through our work, I hear the problem of “I invite other people into my space and then before you know it, it’s not my space it’s theirs!”
Understanding and knowing your boundaries comes with high self-esteem, learning, experience, and ultimately personal development work. However, often and without realising it pain is protected or defended and the easiest way to do that is to put barriers up or call it defenses. Whatever word you use it will certainly protect you and keep most people out.
Maybe you are continually disappointed in people and relationships, or certain ‘types’ of people that you have decided (through experience and the odd bias) will cause you trouble or just not your type. Protection from pain is our first response.
The other extreme is an open door or freeway i.e. loose and useless boundaries but driven by a need to be loved, appreciated, and be taken care of. Never ever wanting to hurt or let anyone down as you were, you manage to avoid difficult conversations, clarity around your boundaries by ducking and diving and getting into all sorts of scrapes - exhausting. It is a coping strategy that can work, occasionally.
Both work but at what cost?
Think of someone with clear boundaries, you know where you are with them. It’s so much easier because there is respect and knowledge that the respect is mutual, it’s easy. That’s important yet there are difficult conversations still to be had, learning about others and ourselves doesn’t come without curiosity and a willingness to be open to learning.