I used to believe that having boundaries meant that I was being selfish or rude, and in turn I felt that boundaried people were being rude. It took many years of self reflection and being mindful for me to realise that not having boundaries was unhealthy and ultimately causing me to be unnecessarily frustrated.
I can trace my lack of boundaries back to when I was younger and being raised in an enmeshed and unboundaried home. As a child I was taught to put the needs of others before my own, and if I put myself first I was told that I was being selfish. I did not have much privacy, my mother would read my diary, and then relay the facts that she had found to me at a later date. My mother would burst into the bathroom when I was in there, there was no lock on the bathroom door. My possessions would be searched through and my telephone conversation sometimes listened to.
Aside from all of this my home was very reactionary. If I was in a bad mood I would not be left to get over the mood and allow the emotions to just flow, I would be told to “fix my face before it was fixed for me”, or “stop crying before I am given something to cry for”, or that I am exaggerating. As small as these incidents may seem they all add up and tell a young child that their feelings are invalid and their boundaries are not allowed.
Fast forward to being an adult, putting boundaries in place has been an ongoing effort for me. I was once given the analogy that I should imagine being in the middle of a circle, and putting everyone that I know outside of the circle. Then imagine only those who I want inside of my circle to enter, and then from that point forward add or remove anyone from the circle as I see fit. In the early stages of having boundaries you may find that you are the only person in the circle, but you do not want to remain like that because we are meant to be social. I find this idea comforting and I remove people temporarily or permanently when the need arises.
I hope that this helps you, also how do you exercise your boundaries? Feel free to share below.