Setting boundaries can be one of the most important things you can do for yourself.
Knowing how to create a boundary where it’s needed can be difficult. You don’t want to come off as selfish if you say no to someone.
But boundaries allow you to build a healthy relationship with yourself and with other people. In fact, they can actually strengthen relationships.
Setting healthy boundaries means taking responsibility for yourself, and defining how you care for your well-being and the well-being of other people.
Healthy boundaries = healthy relationships!
Boundaries determine where one person begins and another person ends. They’re not meant to keep others out, they’re meant to keep us in. Boundaries protect your personal and mental space. They define your emotional and physical limits between you and another person.
They define what your action will be in response to an action of another person and the behaviors you’re willing to accept and tolerate from them — and establishes what behavior other people can expect from you.
You might not have control over what other people do, but you DO have control over how you respond.
If we aren’t clear about our boundaries, things can get…a little blurry. With loose or unclear boundaries, you may find yourself taking on other people’s beliefs, values, and feelings to appease them or because you worry they might be upset if you disagree with them – even if you don’t truly believe in these things yourself. In other words, you may be giving your power away to other people, allowing them to influence how you feel, and what you do.
But your power belongs to you. You can choose how you react to something. You can choose how something makes you feel, what you will do about it, what you won’t do, what your values are, and what is in alignment with your authentic self.
It doesn’t mean you’re being selfish. It simply makes yourself a priority.
Healthy boundaries should be clear and flexible where you’re able to communicate your needs and have these needs respected. Some boundaries may change depending on the person you’re interacting with. As long as they don’t compromise you or another person in an unhealthy way. Remember, it’s up to you.
There are 5 types of boundaries:
Physical: How you feel about privacy, personal space, your body, intimacy, and affection.
Emotional: How you will share your feelings with other people, and enforce how they will be respected.
Mental: Your thoughts, beliefs, opinions, and ideas, and how you will uphold them.
Material/Financial: How you spend, earn, lend, and donate money or material possessions.
Time: How you balance your time between friends, family, partners, children, yourself, and at work.
When defining and setting boundaries for yourself, you must take all 5 of these into consideration. Every part of you.
Saying no is something that can be really useful in setting clear boundaries with other people. It can be intimidating for those who are so used to saying yes. But saying no can help you feel confident and empowered. It’s a deliciously radical act of self-care and is necessary for your mental health.
I know… it can be scary to say no!
But look at it this way —saying no to something you don’t have the mental or emotional capacity for is a loving action for yourself and others. You don’t want to show up for them unable to be fully present. This also can help avoid any resentment you might feel for the other person by saying yes when you wish you said no.
Practicing saying no can be as small as saying no to a phone call, or not returning a text right away. You can turn down an invitation to hang out with other people because you already have plans with yourself.
If people try to push back on boundaries you’ve set, stay strong and stick to them. Be the guardian of your boundary.
When defining your boundaries, it can be helpful to get crystal clear on what your values are. What are the most important things to you?
What is everything you need to be seen, supported, and heard?
Your emotions can give you a lot of information about where boundaries need to be set. For example, when someone does or says something to you that doesn’t feel right, what’s happening in your body? What are your instincts saying? How are you feeling? What are you thinking? These answers can help you determine where a boundary needs to be set — or if one is being crossed.
Listen to what your gut is saying. Hold space for yourself as you are guided to these answers.
You deserve to say no without feeling guilty.
You deserve to be treated with respect.
You deserve to prioritize your needs like you prioritize the needs of others.
You deserve to be accepting of your mistakes and failures.
You deserve to deny others’ unreasonable expectations of you.
It’s also important to determine how it will look after your boundaries are set. What action or follow-through will you take if someone crosses that boundary or your needs aren’t met?
Holding space means being able to be physically, mentally, and emotionally present for someone — including yourself. This can be an excellent exercise in protecting boundaries for everyone involved. As you hold space for another person, you allow them to fully express themselves, all while keeping you in. Holding space for yourself and protecting your boundaries is essential to return the favor to those you love.
You can create this space of safety and trust for others by:
Don’t forget to hold your own space. Practice self-care, and check in with your own boundaries. Do this anytime you’re feeling overwhelmed, or just need to give yourself a little extra love.
We all wear so many hats these days. As mothers, as partners, and as professionals. It’s important to create space for those transitions in our days from each of those roles, back into ourselves.
So ask yourself:
What do you need right now?
What is your body asking for?
What is the best way I can support myself right now?
Is there a boundary I can set that’s in the best interest of my well-being and of others?
Be present for yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally — just as you would for a loved one. Show up for yourself with kindness, acceptance, and without judgment in whatever comes up.
A boundary I have recently set for myself was choosing to step away from a certain social media platform. At the beginning of my journey, this platform had allowed me to say what I needed to say, spread my message, and tell my story — in a way that I’m not quite sure I would have been able to do so quickly any other way.
But I soon found myself mindlessly scrolling and feeling bad about myself. I began comparing myself to other people and where they were in their journey. I did not like the way that felt.
I didn’t want that for myself.
After watching the documentary, “The Social Delimma,” I knew I had to make a change.
So I started to ask myself, are you sure that this is the only way? Is this aligned with your true values, is this what you’re choosing for yourself? Is this bringing you joy?
It did not bring me joy. I was fearful that my message would suffer if I left.
But I knew I had to choose a different way to tell my truth. I held space for myself as I decided to create this boundary for myself.
I made a decision that was aligned with my values and my inner voice.
I chose love over fear.
I knew I trusted in human connection — and the organic way that life brings people to us.
I’m so glad life has brought us together here. Thank you for holding space for me.
If you need help setting or sticking to your own boundaries, as a life + transformation coach I would be honored to guide you on that journey.
Let me hold space for you.
You can book a complimentary clarity call with me here.