Guilt, boundaries, and me

Catherine Andrews
6 min readMay 22, 2022

How I’m staying with it all.

Photo by Héctor J. Rivas on Unsplash

Some boundaries I’m setting lately and how I’m dealing with the guilt

Happy Sunday, Soothers. If you’re like me, a thoughtful, empathetic, perfectionist and people-pleasing do-gooder tryna live her life out in the world, you have probably struggled to set boundaries. Setting boundaries has been a huge challenge for me throughout my life, mostly driven by feelings of guilt and fear for not helping a person as much as I could (which then led my brain to think, “You’re a bad person!” and then to an identity crisis of not being “a good person” and total terror around that… btw, I’ve found it valuable to try to work towards being a person who is true to herself, rather than a “good person.”)

But something’s shifting for me lately. I don’t know if it’s the YEARS AND YEARS of therapy and self-development work finally compounding, the “villain era” memes going around that make me laugh, the fact that I am in my 40s and finally feeling good and solid about this or what, but I am finally getting… I won’t say GOOD, at setting boundaries, but guess what? I AM SETTING BOUNDARIES! And it feels great.

Here’s the thing: I didn’t realize I was bad at setting boundaries for a long time. Because boundaries are murky concept and hard to define, I didn’t even really realize I didn’t have them at all. I just thought I was a good person who liked to help and was tired a lot!

So I wanted to share some real-life boundaries that me and my clients or students are all setting lately, so you have an understanding of what boundaries in action might look like and if it’s something you might need to practice more of.

Then, after sharing these examples, I’ll give you my tips on how I deal with the guilt that inevitably arises after setting boundaries if you’re newer to them.

Examples of boundaries popping up in mine and others’ lives (all anonymized):

  • When a person I don’t really know or have a regular relationship with reaches out on email or in the DMs, wanting to hang out or has an ask of me and I do not have the time or desire, I have started simply… not responding at all. This feels like next-level boundary setting (and next level guilty and selfish, which…

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Catherine Andrews

Teaching awakening + healing through vulnerability + self-compassion. Finding hope in a messy world. Author of the Sunday Soother. http://catherinedandrews.com