Cloud and Townsend, in their book Boundaries, reminded me one of the unexpected side effects of setting boundaries. In the process of setting boundaries, I identify my needs. I remember the first time my counselor asked me what I wanted. I looked at him blankly. I had no idea. As I selected my rights and what I wanted to protect with boundaries I started identifying what I need. I need to eat regularly. I need enough sleep. I had many needs that I neglected for years. I was taught to ignore my needs. My needs had no value compared to family or parents. I was in the habit of neglecting myself. Sad thing was that the more I neglected myself the less I was able to do.
“….the ability to take ownership of, or responsibility for, our own needs.”
I didn’t know how to meet my own needs because I didn’t recognize what they were. Many sessions were spent in identifying and learning how to take care of my needs which in consequence usually meant strengthening my boundaries. Boundaries helped me to recognize my needs. My counselor also taught me that I am the one responsible for meeting my needs. I can ask for help but the responsibility lies with me. This required a major shift in my thinking. Boundaries played a vital role in creating that shift.