Personal boundaries are about self trust and self respect. When you can trust yourself to follow through on what you say you’re going to do, you build respect for yourself.
Following through includes sticking to boundaries that you have set.
Since we talked about boundaries with ourselves in the last episode, this episode we’re going to discuss boundaries with others.
There are three parts to setting boundaries with other people:
- Deciding what those boundaries are going to be.
- Telling the other person/people
- Keeping them
It seems pretty straight forward but I definitely understand that this is a lot easier said than done.
Something to remember is that boundary building AND holding are both skills that are learnable. So even if you’re not all that good at this right now, you’re going to get stronger as time goes on. The more you flex your boundary muscles, the stronger they get. Keep this in mind whenever someone tests your boundaries. Think of it as an opportunity to use the muscle to strengthen it.
When it comes to boundaries, there are ones that aren’t that big of a deal, and ones that we absolutely won’t let anyone cross.
However, if we don’t keep the ‘little’ ones, we’re not going to have the strength to keep up the big ones.
That means if you allow someone to talk you out of a boundary, but you justify it as “it’s not THAT big of a deal,” don’t be surprised when you find yourself compromising on the bigger ones.
Particularly when it comes to abusive/toxic relationships, this is how a partner sees what they can get away with. They push to see what you allow. If you allow the little boundaries to be trampled on, it gets easier and easier for them to continue to push until it’s as if you never had any boundaries to begin with.
This is why setting boundaries and keeping them is so important.
Before I say the following, I want to make sure I say that I am in no way victim blaming. If you have experienced abuse or assault, it was NOT your fault. Ever. Regardless of the situation. So I am not saying that at ALL.
But when it comes to boundaries, you teach people how to treat you. If someone pushes against your boundaries, you can explain once, MAYBE twice in certain situations, that they are pushing too far and tell them to back off.
However, after that, if they still continue to push and you continue to allow it, you’re teaching them, and yourself, that what you say doesn’t matter and if they push hard enough they’ll get their way.
Its just like when it comes to parenting. If your kids learn that if they scream loud enough they’ll always get their way, they’ll scream any time you say no. Grown adults unfortunately are the same way.
The more you stand your ground, the more they’ll learn.
Now, this does come with the disclaimer that I know someone needs to hear.
When you have boundaries, when you stick to those boundaries, not everyone will stick around. And that’s ok.
For a long time, I didn’t stick to my boundaries. I said I had them, but not really. I would do whatever was asked of me because I was so scared they’d leave. This applies to relationships, friendships, jobs, etc.
But here’s the real question: if they don’t respect my boundaries, they obviously don’t respect me. So why would I want someone in my life that doesn’t respect my boundaries anyway?
I pose that question to you, boo. You’re listening to this right now knowing full well that this resonates with you. You know down in your being that you need to hold to your boundaries but you truly don’t want to.
Because the attention you get is more important than your boundaries.
The attention you get is more important than your boundaries, your body, your opinions, your wants, your dreams, your worth.
And the fact of the matter is that until you know your worth, until you respect yourself, you’re going to remain stuck. You’re going to remain running in circles, claiming you don’t know what to do or where to start.
Until you decide that it is better to be alone than to be disrespected, you’ll stay in this place.
Again, this is not a judgement call. I know I’m giving some tough love, but it’s only because I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to want instant gratification, to want that attention that you were deprived of for so long.
I’ll end this soapbox moment with this: it doesn’t last long. They will eventually leave. Because if they don’t respect your boundaries, they won’t respect you enough to stay. The easier your boundaries are to cross, the more they’ll rely on that. Do you really want someone because it’s easy for them to use you?
Ok, now that I’m off my soapbox, it’s time to talk about setting boundaries. How do you set a solid boundary?
The fact of the matter is that you’re going to have a lot of boundaries in a lot of areas, so you need to decide on something that’s most important to you. Maybe it’s a boundary in a friendship, with your boss, at work, a physical one that you want someone to uphold.
Whatever it is, the process is basically the same. In the last episode we talked about about how to be prepared for when your boundaries are violated.
But as a recap, we discussed affirmations to prepare your brain to accept boundaries as well as accepting that your boundaries WILL be tested, pushed against.
Also, this is a muscle that must be flexed. So give yourself grace. I’m giving you skills, tips and tricks about how to keep your boundaries but you’re probably going to slip up a time or two. And that’s OK.
This is NOT giving you an excuse to do it on purpose.
But if it happens and you look back and wish you didn’t, don’t get down on yourself.
If you didn’t tell your mom to stop speaking to you that way, if you didn’t, tell that guy you weren’t hooking up anymore but didn’t stick to it, you didn’t stand up to your boss when he was being a jerk.
It’s going to happen – and that’s OK. This whole journey to confidence, to believing in yourself, to respecting yourself, to seeing your worth, it isn’t easy. It takes time.
You are human. You’re going to mess up. The key is to give yourself grace.
Again, this is not an excuse to purposely let go of your boundaries. If you end up doing that, you haven’t gotten the point of setting them to begin with.
As you can tell, there’s a lot that goes into setting boundaries before you even set them. Caring about yourself enough is a huge part of the journey. There is no quick fix. This takes time.
Setting boundaries is how you show yourself you respect yourself.
Not allowing people to violate is how you show other people that you demand respect, that you are worthy of respect.
Once you begin to internalize this concept, keeping boundaries will get easier. Not only will it get easier, but it will feel good to know that you can trust yourself to care about and respect yourself.
So pick something thats important to you and decide that you will keep it. Make that boundary your focus for the next 21 days.
Why is that the boundary you’re going to set? Why is it important to you?
When you know your why deep down, you’ll give yourself more of a reason to stick to it.
This is the Why test.
When you’re trying to figure out the Why, ask ‘why’ 5 times.
Every time you get an answer, ask why again.
The point of this exercise is to get to the root of why this boundary is important to you. The first why or two will be somewhat ‘superficial.’ It’ll be things that are pretty surface level. The reason that you initially think of when you think about why.
But the why needs to be deeper than anything superficial. The more you ask why, the deeper you go into your subconscious. When you really allow yourself to do this, you’re going to realize why this boundary is not only important to you, but why it’s been a struggle. You’ll get to the root of the problem.
Now this may take time. I’ve tried to rush this exercise and it doesn’t work very well. Allow yourself time to process the five whys. At minimum fifteen minutes.
Get out a journal and begin to write down the answers to the 5 why’s. Generally I’m all about the journal but in this case recording yourself speak would be good as well. Because then you’re not going to be slowed down by the speed of your writing. I also don’t want you to censor yourself.
There are no ‘stupid’ whys.
There are no failures. There are no reasons to beat yourself up from here on out. Because you’re doing this to grow and make yourself better. You’re doing this because you’ve realized that you want to demand the respect that you know you deserve.
So often we tend to censor ourselves because we don’t think our reasoning is good enough. But this is the most counterintuitive thing that you can do. The more you tell your brain that it’s thoughts aren’t ‘right,’ the more you solidify the message that you can’t be trusted.
Accepting your thoughts as just being thoughts isn’t easy, but its so helpful. They’re not right or wrong. Having a thought doesn’t mean you have to act on it.
This work is hard, I know. But it is definitely worth it if you commit to the work.
Digging deep into why something is getting to you is uncomfortable. Sometimes it can be downright painful.
But that’s OK.
It’s OK to feel the pain. It’s OK to feel uncomfortable. It’s OK to not like the process. But the process works. The process is worth it.
And in the grand scheme of things, freedom is worth that discomfort. Freedom for the rest of your life is worth a few months, or even a year, of discomfort.
The time will pass anyway. Six months from now it will be six months from now. Do you want it to be six months of growth or six months of what has always been?
I know this has been a bit of an intense series, and there’s still so much more that I want to say.
The thing is, when it comes to boundaries, it’s not a step by step break it down process. I try really hard to make things as simple as possible, but a lot of this comes from building up your self worth. If you haven’t listened to episode 3, I highly suggest checking that out.
Also, if you’re really struggling with this and want coaching through this, I gotchu. I offer one on one coaching programs to help you through this and so much more. You don’t have to do this alone – so don’t. To book your free consultation, you can send reach out by clicking here.
You deserve freedom. You deserve boundaries. You deserve respect. And more than anything, you deserve to respect yourself.