Boundaries 101

Recently I have been doing a lot of coaching on boundaries. I would like to tell you that I know so much about boundaries because I am really smart and just knew how to do it. That would be a whooper of a lie!   I use to SUCK at boundaries, as in I had none. You know what happens when you don’t have boundaries? You hurt and you hurt people.

So what is a boundary?

The dictionary describes boundaries as:

: something (such as a river, a fence, or an imaginary line) that shows where an area ends and another area begins

: a point or limit that indicates where two things become different

I like to view boundaries as a fence around me.  It just separates me from someone else. Another way to view it if you are struggling with the concept that boundaries are bad is to view it from the perspective of a house. Most homes have fences, separating your property from your neighbor. It doesn’t mean you don’t like your neighbor; in fact, you could love your neighbor it is just a fence that separates your home from your neighbors. When you view boundaries from this perspective it isn’t a bad thing.

A boundary IS NOT something we create for someone else, it is NOT a way to control others behavior.

Boundaries are a way that we take care of and protect ourselves.

People are ALWAYS free to do whatever they want to but you are free to tell them when they have crossed your boundaries. An example from my life is I will not tolerate someone yelling at me. NOT EVER! I am really clear on this boundary. You are free to yell as much as you like but the minute you yell; I am going walk away. I am not telling you, you can’t yell or even that you shouldn’t yell, I am just telling you that if you yell I will walk away.

Setting clear boundaries isn’t always easy, but it is important not just for us but for the people we love. We owe them and ourselves the love and respect to be honest and to set clear boundaries.

Five things to remember when setting boundaries:

  • Boundaries come from a place of love for yourself and the other person. If you are hurt or angry this is not the right time to set a boundary.  Until you are calm and can come to the person with love you are not ready.
  • Boundaries are not about manipulating anyone else’s behavior. Remember, people ALWAYS get to choose how they will behave. You are just setting a clear line of what you will allow into your space. This is not a me vs. you thing, this is about what is okay for you within your personal/emotional space.
  • Boundary violations have to have clear consequences. You can not be flippy floppy with what your response will be when a boundary has been violated. The person you have set the boundary with needs to know exactly what your response will be. This isn’t punishment this is love in action, for yourself and the other person.
  • When having a boundary conversation, make sure that the person you are talking to understands you are doing this out of love for yourself and them. Your truth has nothing to do with the other person. They don’t have to agree with you, this isn’t about them this is about you.
  • The people who trigger us the most are usually our greatest teachers. If people are stepping all over you it is because you have never set proper boundaries. Instead of being angry or upset, view this as a lesson on how you can create better boundaries for the people in your life.

Boundary setting can be tricky and a lot of self work needs to be done in order to make sure you are setting clear boundaries with even clearer consequences. I can help you set up boundaries with the people in your life, so that you can have relationships that are authentic, where all parties involved are being respected.  I can also help you design a plan on how to have a boundary conversation. It really isn’t as hard as you think.

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