Listen or Download – me reading this from Dropbox
Hands up if you are slightly crap, or totally crap, at setting boundaries.
Want to know a secret?
It might not be that you are bad at setting boundaries.
It might be that you are missing two other essential elements to get the best out of your BOUNDARY setting.
Or then again…
You might never have given enough thought, attention or energy to establishing what a boundary looks like for YOU.
In my experience there are 3 ESSENTIALS when it comes to getting the most out of boundaries.
When I say ‘getting the most’ I really mean…
More PEACE, harmony and space to be and express YOU.
Let’s dive straight into the 3 Essentials, which are presented in the order of their application.
Getting the Most out of Boundaries: Essential #1
This is the obvious first step.
You actually need to determine what appropriate boundaries are for you.
Not for someone else.
Different things are okay, or not okay, for different people.
You need to establish what boundaries for you are ESSENTIAL, and which are maybe DESIRABLE.
And let me back up a bit and give definition to what I mean by boundaries or ‘setting boundaries’.
A boundary is like a fence line around your property. It defines where people can and cannot go, in relation to your personal space. You have a fence to say, “You cannot cross this barrier, unless I grant you approval”.
So when it comes to ourselves, it is understanding what are the things we don’t want people to cross, which might be specific to certain circumstances and specific to certain times.
Here is some examples from my life:
I have a very clear set of Morning Rituals I do every day (i.e. an essential activity), and therefore I have created a boundary which clearly states: “I am not to be disturbed when I am doing my Rituals” (unless the house is ACTUALLY on fire).
I also have a boundary which clearly states: “When I am writing this article, I will have my door closed and I am not to be interrupted” (unless there is a fire).
I have a boundary which clearly states: “I don’t do client sessions on Wednesday after 12:30pm, or on the weekends after 12:30pm on Saturday”.
I also have a boundary which clearly states: “I don’t answer a phone call unless we have agreed on the time (and subject) of the call”.
So I spend time, energy and attention getting (VERY) clear on my boundaries; which relate to my values, my lifestyle, the type of relationships and interactions I want to have, and the preferred my scheduling of time.
Are you (very) clear of your boundaries?
It is like knowing where your fence is; how high it is; how porous it is (what size things it can keep in and out); what level of privacy it offers; the strength of the material; whether you have it electrified; whether there is a door bell, CCTV camera, or ‘buzzer’ to gain access.
You are allowed to create boundaries for your own life.
You are like a very expensive piece of unique, antique (some of us are more antique than others artwork that is worthy of protecting, so it stays undamaged, pure, and gets to express its creative genius and radiance unhindered.
Getting the Most out of Boundaries: Essential #2
Now we are getting into the bit where most peoples well-thought-out boundaries (and their value) go to shit.
Someone can have AWESOME boundaries, but if they do not COMMUNICATE them clearly; well you are playing the ‘crossing your fingers and hope it works out’ game.
That’s not where you get RESULTS.
You have to communicate (VERY CLEARLY) what your boundaries are, and how you would like people to relate to them.
If someone does not know your boundaries, or the specificity of your boundaries, you can’t be too surprised when they breach them.
Unlike a fence, which can be clearly seen, most of our boundaries are intangible.
However, the intangible and most often psychological boundaries for us, are among the MOST IMPORTANT we can have.
You don’t want someone taking up valuable mental real estate, who has not right to be there.
Step 2 of getting the most out of your Boundaries is clearly communicating them BEFORE they are breached.
Here are two examples:
Given my boundaries around my Morning Rituals (which are essential for my physical and mental health), when I travel, I tell the people I am staying with – in ADVANCE of my arrival – that I will not be available between 6:00am and 7:00am. I will be BUSY and DO NOT DISTURB; and if that is not okay, I will stay somewhere else (where my boundaries are respected).
When I have a client do a 3-month Coaching Program with me, I send them a detailed Client Agreement, where I tell them in the Agreement when I am available and when I am not (specifically). I tell them my response time to their messages (specifically). I tell them if they need someone to respond within minutes to their messages, then I am not their Coach. I set clear boundaries, and if someone cannot not honour them (or does not want to), then we part ways.
Let people know your boundaries.
In the dating or relationship game, make it very clear what is okay and what is not okay – SPECIFICALLY.
Don’t leave life and your psychological health to chance.
You deserve so much more.
You definitely deserve a BIG say in how you choose to live your life.
Getting the Most out of Boundaries: Essential #3
Number 3 is very rarely done, and therefore the “setting” of most peoples boundaries is rarely effective.
This might be one of the hardest parts.
But without it, your boundaries will be breach, time amd time again.
This is about honouring the special human being you are.
This is an act of self love.
This is giving yourself permission to say a very clear “NO” if someone starts to climb over your fence.
You are special.
You are deserving of respect, love, acceptance just the way you are.
And you definitely have the right to say “NO” if something is crossing your boundaries.
This requires boldness, courage, and two feet placed firmly on mother earth.
Boundaries don’t matter if you don’t honour them (which is really honouring yourself).
You, as a sovereign individual, have the right to say “NO”, regardless if someone likes it or not.
It is not about them.
It is about you.
If you surrender your boundaries, or let them be trampled upon, you are very likely to be lowering your self-esteem and personal power.
The enforcing of your boundaries, might be hard (when you first start doing it), but it is the stuff that builds your psyche, sense of self, your personal power, and over time your boundary enforcing muscles will grow.
Maybe you start small.
But do start.
It is harder to fully express the masterpiece that is you, if you have a crowd of hooligans running through your hallways, after trampling your barriers.
It’s time to turn up the volume on your authentic “NO“.
The Summary is super Simple
- Establish boundaries that are unique to yourself and specific.
- Communicate those boundaries to anyone who might come into your space (or you into theirs).
- Enforce your boundaries in a conscious, mindful, but assertive way.
My Parting words
You are special.
You deserve a big say in how life interacts with you, and how you interact with life.
Figure out how you personally want to interact.
Then communicate it.
And finally, stand for, and stand up to, your personal desires.
If someone doesn’t like the powerful, clear you, then maybe it’s time to say bye-bye to them.
Have a beautiful day; and a week lived on your own terms.
See you next week.