Personal Boundaries 101

No matter who you are, you cannot have a healthy relationship without having boundaries.  Since we all engage in so many different relationships (marriages, parent/child, friends, colleagues, in-laws, boyfriends, girlfriends, ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, etc.), we need all kinds of boundaries. The purpose of having boundaries is to protect and take care of yourself.  You teach people how to treat you with the boundaries that you set; you teach what you appreciate, what you don't like, and what is full-on unacceptable.

You have the right to protect your time, energy, health and emotional safety -- as an adult, protecting your well-being actually becomes part of your job.

Each person has different boundaries because each person's needs ( as well as their ideas about what is and isn't okay) are different.  Setting your personal boundaries begins with figuring out what is and what is not okay for you.

Here are 3 sentences to help create a framework for what your personal boundaries might look like, from this great starter book on boundaries:

1.  It's not okay for people to: ________________

(examples)

  • Go through my personal belongings
  • Tell off-color jokes in my company
  • Make comments about my weight

2.  I have a right to ask for:  __________________

(examples)

  • Privacy
  • More information before making a purchase
  • Quiet time to myself

3.  To protect my time and energy, it's OK to: _____________________

(examples)

  • Turn my phone on silent
  • Change my mind
  • Cancel a commitment when I'm not feeling well
  • Reserve a place in  my home that is off-limits to others

Once you begin to cultivate self-awareness about what your boundaries are, you can begin to implement them in your life (the second part of boundary work).  Once you implement boundaries in your life, you'll notice that you have more time and energy for the people you want to connect with, the things you want to do, the ideas you want to explore, the ways you want to give, for everything.  You'll notice you feel more like yourself, finally.