Boundaries are a topic that comes up often in my work (and in my life…). There’s so much baggage (and so many beliefs) that come with boundaries:
- “They’re so hard to establish”
- “They feel mean and divisive”
- “I don’t know how to communicate my boundaries”
- “No one ever respects my boundaries”
Or this one, which I hear most often:
- “I feel guilty when I say NO”
Have you ever said or felt any of those?
I’ll admit, I have, many a time. Until I learned what boundaries are and how to communicate them.
Boundaries are the bridge that connects us to our goals and success. Now, that sounds weird, right? Boundaries connect? Stay with me for a minute.
When we lack boundaries and add something to our calendar even though we don’t have the time, energy, gumption, or desire… it moves us further away from our goals, our dreams, our healthy relationships. The gap becomes wider between us and what we want.
Boundaries bridge that gap, bringing us closer to more of what we want, and less of what we don’t, without apology. When we:
- Say Yes when we want to say NO, it creates resentment in our relationships rather than connection.
- Add one more thing to our already overloaded plate, it makes us scattered, overwhelmed, and stressed out rather than further along on our journey.
- Buy something to make ourselves feel better, but it actually adds to our financial stress, it creates a vicious cycle that keeps us on the hamster wheel of ‘not enough.’
So, without further ado, let’s dive into 9 bold & beautiful boundaries that will support you in reaching your goals with less stress and anxiety and more flow and freedom.
9 Must-Know Things About Boundaries
1. Your boundaries are about you, not others
Your boundaries are for you, to keep you safe, out of overwhelm, and away from resentment. It’s your responsibility to establish and hold them, not others’. It would be nice if people honored your boundaries, but they are yours to honor.
2. No is a complete sentence
No need to explain or go into details of why you aren’t available to take on that last-minute project someone on your team dropped, to bake the 457 cookies for the bake sale, or why you’re not available to go out. When you start explaining things, it’s waaaay too easy to get off balance and just say, screw it, I’ll do it.
3. It’s your responsibility to be clear, direct, and respectful
Clear, direct, and respectful will sound like an unemotional, blame-free, unapologetic statement: “If you continue to be disrespectful, I’m going to remove myself from this conversation because I respect myself too much to be treated this way.”
It is NOT your responsibility how it lands for others. That is their responsibility, and their response speaks to who they are.
4. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should
Always look at the tradeoff you’re making when you say YES (or NO, for that matter). If you say yes, will that fill you with resentment? Will setting and honoring the boundary allow someone else to build their knowledge? Will ignoring the boundary build unhealthy dependency?
“If you give a person a fish, you feed them for a day. If you teach a person to fish, you feed them for a lifetime”. ~Unknown
5. Place boundaries around your time
What are you willing to commit your non-renewable resource, time, to? Your kids’ last lacrosse game, parents’ 50th anniversary party, a friend’s big birthday, or snuggle time with your baby won’t come around again. Honor what’s most important by placing boundaries around your time, without apology.
6. Learn how to delegate
OK, OK, so you can do it faster, and it will actually take longer for you to teach someone to do it. The thing is, that won’t change until you teach someone to do it, allow them to do it, and put them in charge of doing it…and let them fail so that they can learn how to succeed.
7. Set boundaries around your spending
Yes, those shoes are fabulous, that car is sassy, but will it help you to be financially stable? Less stressed? Pause before pulling out that credit card, and connect to your boundaries before swiping.
8. How much is enough?
Whether it’s giving to charities, your kids, a wedding gift, or a baby shower, get clear on how much you’re willing to spend before you get wrapped up in the excitement (or guilt).
9. Pause before purchasing
Establish a boundary for purchasing. This has worked wonders for me with buying books. I’m a voracious reader and used to order pretty much every book that was recommended or ones that piqued my interest. And, yowza, that stack of books kept growing and caused stress every time I looked at it. And that stack of books stacked up my credit card each month. $30 bucks here, $18 bucks there adds up month over month. Now, I place a book in the cart and wait 48 hours before deciding to purchase it. It’s been a game-changer.
What one boundary, if you were to implement it, would make the biggest difference in your life? What’s holding you back from making that change happen? What’s possible when you do?
Was there a boundary that you thought of that is not on my list? Please share in the comments!
P.S. Interested in more tips and tools to help you improve your boundaries? Download my Boundaries Blueprint, a 19 page e-book.