• Sarah M. Neal

Boundaries People! Boundaries!: A Guide to Setting Boundaries in Your Relationships

You don’t owe anyone anything else. You do not have to start explaining why you are setting this boundary. You do not have to say why something/someone makes you feel uncomfortable.

Boundaries have been a hot topic for me this year. I have not only been helping many of my clients define and establish their personal boundaries within a variety of relationship (romantic, platonic, and familial), but I have had to re-evaluate my relationship with my own boundaries.


Some of these boundaries are boundaries we set right off the bat because of past experiences. Others spring from a need of protection from consistent behavior from those with whom we currently have relationships.


People pleasers can make for poor boundary creators. We want to give and give if that is what makes the people around us happy.


We almost always put everyone’s needs before our own. We make sure everyone else is happy before we make sure we ourselves are happy. And, at times we completely forego our own needs and wants in order to ensure those around us are taken care of.


We will put up with more bullshit than anyone should have to because we want people to love us and we don’t want to upset anyone.


Yea…


Fuck.


That.


The problem with this people-pleasing personality is that we usually end up in some relationships that are toxic AF.


These toxic relationships can leave us feeling worthless; under-valued; insecure; stifled; and abused.


So, let’s talk a bit about setting boundaries and what that looks like.


Ask yourself:

  • “What you are tolerating in your relationships?”

  • “What would your life look like if you weren’t tolerating certain behaviors? “

  • “How would you feel if you didn’t have to tolerate those behaviors?”

  • “Does it feel liberating? Maybe a little intimidating or confrontational?”


I know.


So, pull up a writing tool (journal, piece of paper, electronic device) and write out each of those things that you are tolerating.


Separate your tolerations into the relationships they belong to; such as what do you tolerate from your family/friends/coworkers/partners. If you can break it down to individual people, even better.


Before each toleration, write “I will no longer tolerate” and after each one write “because it makes me feel” and then write out how that toleration makes you feel.


Next, I want you to brainstorm some ways you can keep yourself from tolerating those behaviors. Does that mean not doing certain activities with that person; not being alone with someone; not allowing someone to hug you or enter your personal space; not engaging in certain conversations with someone; or maybe ending the relationship?


What will happen if those boundaries are crossed? What are the consequences for said person if those boundaries are crossed?


These will vary on the person for whom you must set these boundaries (family member, partner, coworker, friend). You may not want to leave a job just because a coworker keeps crossing your boundaries, but you can go to a supervisor. You may not want to cut off a family member for crossing your boundaries, but you can choose not to spend time with them.


See where I’m going here?


Now, when it comes to setting those boundaries, your language can be as simple as you want it to be. In fact, it should probably be simple:

  • “No, I don’t want to do this.”

  • “No, I am not okay with you speaking to me like this.”

  • “No, I am not comfortable with this.”

  • “No, this does not make me feel safe.”

  • “I need this, can you please stop doing that.”

  • “No, thank you.”

  • “No.”

You don’t owe anyone anything else. You do not have to start explaining why you are setting this boundary. You do not have to say why something/someone makes you feel uncomfortable.


There may be times you are more comfortable giving some explanation:

  • “I will not stay here because I am not comfortable”

  • “I will not do this activity because I don’t feel safe”

  • “I will not continue this conversation because it will lead to a useless argument.”

These explanations may clarify the reason for the boundary to help prevent similar conversations/activities/situations from occurring.


But remember that you do not owe anyone an explanation for your boundaries.


People who want to have a healthy relationship with you will respect your boundaries. These are awesome people to interact with and we all need people like this in our lives.


There will be some people who will have no respect for your boundaries or the boundaries of others. These people will give you shit for setting your boundaries and will likely try to walk all over them.


Once we have set our boundaries, it is up to us to hold them.


It does us no good to set a boundary and then let someone cross that boundary, no matter how innocently it is done.


Sometimes, a gentle reminder will do.


Other times you may need to be assertive in holding that boundary. This may mean walking away from the conversation, situation, or person.


Follow through. Follow through. Follow through.


If your boundaries are crossed, then follow through with the chosen consequences.


It may not be easy. In fact, it probably won’t be easy.


There may be backlash for following through. This backlash may range from heated conversations to that person walking out of your life.


But here’s the thing: How healthy is it for you to keep people in your life who insist on disrespecting you and your boundaries? Do you really need someone like that in your life? How healthy is it for you to continue to suffer the anxiety, stress, and danger not establishing or holding that boundary brings into your life?


Whatever your spiritual beliefs are (even if you are Atheist), I guarantee you were not put on this earth to be a doormat. You were not put on this earth to be abused by others.


I believe we are put here to grow and evolve into the very best versions of ourselves – whatever that looks like; and nothing can grow if it is continuously taken advantage of or walked all over.


You can do it, Beloved! I believe in you!



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​Tel: 770-880-0134​

Sarah@AsWithin-Coaching.com

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