What are boundaries?
Boundaries are an imaginary line of protection that you draw around you. This is done to protect you, your soul and what’s important to you. Your boundaries are more important to you than they might be to others, or what others might want you to have.
When we give "circumstances" control of how our life goes, we lose all of our personal power to make changes in our life. Boundaries give us our power back and set us free.
Think of a boundary as a moat around your castle. The moat was designed to keep the robbers out and the people inside the walls safe to pursue their interests. During times of conflict villagers could come inside the castle for protection. A drawbridge spanning the moat was provided access and egress when the coast was clear.
Let’s clear some things up
Before we can understand what boundaries are, we have to get clear on the difference between a boundary, standard, and requirement.
Boundaries are about what others CANNOT do to you or around you. Boundaries are about other’s actions.
Boundaries are about other’s actions. If it has to do with YOU, it’s called a Standard.
If it has to do with something that another MUST do to or for you, this is called a Requirement.
Setting boundaries is NOT a way to vent your anger. Often, people who have “taken it” from others for a long time discover the process of setting boundaries and use their new boundaries as a way to “get even” with others. Set your boundaries as a way to love yourself, not vent on others.
Make ’em big
Learning how many and how big to set your boundaries is a personal experiment. Usually people don’t set big enough boundaries. We suggest that you set much bigger ones than you need. Be clear and be strong. The people who really care will understand.
Small vs. Bigger
No one may hit meNo one may raise their voice to me No one may take advantage of mePeople must appreciate what I do for them People I care about must show appreciationMy close friends must support me as I support them
See how this works – what you are doing is establishing boundaries to protect you from certain people and behaviors. You are setting standards that people in your life must honor in order to be in your life.
Do you have plans?
The castle dwellers pulled up the drawbridge when the bad guys could be seen galloping along the road towards the castle. This assumes they had a lookout who could shout a warning in time to draw the bridge. We, too, must be able to “sense” when our boundaries are in danger of being violated, not as they are being crossed. This sensing is a skill which takes time to develop, but you can start now.
What are the five ways to communicate to another person that you feel they are crossing a personal boundary of yours? Let’s make a list of your options.
Inform: “Do you know that you are yelling?”
Request: ”I ask that you acknowledge what I’ve done for you.”
Instruct: “I need for you to not touch me when you are angry.”
Warn: ”I will not listen to you if you use those words.”
Attack: ”Stop, stop. I demand that you stop, right now.”
Leave: “What you are saying (doing) is unacceptable to me. I am open to working this out with you when you are able to do so reasonably. I am now leaving to protect myself.”
Do it, regardless of the consequence and because only you can protect your boundaries. Usually, it requires that you say something, do something or leave. Treating yourself well by respecting your boundaries (and making others do so also) is more important than a temporary consequence that probably will happen when you live this way.
Hard question: What are some examples of consequences which may occur as you pull up the drawbridge?
The benefits of boundaries
1. You will attract people who have a similar respect for themselves.
2. You will have more room in which to grow because you are not being drained or violated.
3. Your standards have room to rise.
4. You will eliminate fear.
Define your time boundaries
Humankind is designed to help you adhere to new goals, make time for your physical body, and ensure that you are showing yourself some love along the way. In this section we want you to spend time thinking about your time boundaries. The easiest thing here would be to just “say no” a million times, but we want to make sure we’re respecting our time and not allowing people to cross that line for us.
In the boxes below identify where your boundaries are weak or where you’re permitting humans to cross them.
- I do not value my time and often I undercut myself when it comes to quoting projects – this means estimating my time at what it’s worth and not what I think they can afford
- My parents have repeatedly ask me to be quiet about the things that matter the most to me and things that make them feel uncomfortable – I need to be clear with them in the ways that I can show up with them (even if it’s in ways that eventually mean we don’t see one another as often)
- There is one particular client who continually is late to meetings and disrespects my time – I need to have a challenging conversation with this client in order to reinforce my boundaries and create mutual respect
- You are given a new project by your boss which causes you stress.
- You are appointed head of the committee because no one else volunteered (or you volunteered because no one else did).
- Your children use you as a delivery service vs them creating their own solutions.
- You’re the one who gets things done, so everyone gives you their stuff to do.
- You’re the one people turn to for support, advice, coaching, yet you’re not getting paid for this.
- You say “Yes” when you mean to say “No”.
- You say “Yes” when you’d rather say “No,” but you want something out of it.
Completion: When you have identified the 5 “time-boundary” problems in your life and have taken strong action on each one, you have completed this area.
Connect with your humans
There’s not a single human on this planet that doesn’t have habits. As you’re learning about your habits and how to change the cycle, hop over to our Facebook Group and share about it all.