There are lots of myths about boundaries, so I want to start my discussion with Cloud and Townsend‘s list of common myths. The first myth is that setting boundaries is selfish.
Why would we think that setting boundaries is selfish? Because it means we won’t be saying YES to everyone any more. Instead we will be saying no. In addition, people resist change, and if you begin to change by setting boundaries, guess what? Those around you, despite their love for you, will sabotage your efforts: guilt trips, manipulation, and accusations of selfishness are just some of the reactions you can expect. A good friend of mine recently complained that as soon as she started setting boundaries, people began to call her selfish.
But setting boundaries is no more selfish than putting on your own oxygen mask first. Boundaries are an essential part of self-care! Cloud and Townsend point out that boundaries enable us to be good stewards of the life we have been given. Self-care is also good stewardship.
So don’t get tripped up and think that setting boundaries is selfish. It isn’t.