Let’s talk truth, my friend, and let’s be really honest. How are you doing with setting boundaries for yourself?
I know, from experience, that it’s not easy. It takes practice. Intentional Practice!
I also know the disappointment and shame you feel when you draw a line in the sand, and then, knowingly, allow yourself or others to cross it. Broken boundaries suck! They cause you to blame yourself for everything and to treat yourself poorly.
It’s important to understand why you break boundaries that you took precious time to create in the first place.
➜ Are you overly concerned about disappointing others?
➜ Worried about causing friction in your relationships?
➜ Do you simply lack self-control?
For many, boundary-building (a powerful form of self-care) is a relatively new concept. Ok, that’s not fair. You know what boundaries are! You also, probably, know that you’d like stronger, healthier boundaries, but you can’t see a path to having them.
But here’s the truth about boundaries that serve as self-care, it’s not all pedicures and bubble baths like social media portrays it.
In fact, there’s so much more to unpack. True, radical, self-care is often misunderstood, imperfect, complex.
Having healthy boundaries means knowing what your limits are. But, implementing them is a complex relationship and life skill that’s often hard to learn.
In order to better understand the art of setting boundaries, we must first UNlearn the myths that society taught us….
MYTH #1: “My boundaries shouldn’t be flexible”
Your boundaries don’t have to be drawn in permanent ink. Setting boundaries that are too rigid can create a sense of shame and imbalance when we “slip up.” And if we’re really being intentional and following the Three R’s rule from The BRAVE Method ™ , “Reassess, reframe, resilience,” you’ll learn that boundaries often need to be changed, released or started to ensure we’re working towards our goals. Successful boundaries are built with flexibility in mind.
And, SPOILER: you WILL slip up. Because #life. The sooner you accept this the better.
Yes, there is a time and place for strict boundaries—We DO need to hold ourselves accountable to those.
However, sometimes a little perspective is needed based on our circumstances. We’re HUMAN and we’re constantly adapting to the fast-paced, fucked-up world around us. It’s important to give ourselves the necessary grace and space to grow.
Listen to your body. Trust your gut. And reassess your boundaries accordingly.
As I’ve said before: there’s NOTHING in life that isn’t in-need of reassessment from time to time. This includes the boundaries you set for yourself!
MYTH #2: “I can adopt the same boundaries as the people I respect and admire”
Unfortunately, unlike most other things, we can’t do a quick Google search for a set of boundaries to make our own.
Boundaries are deeply personal. They vary from one person to the next and we shape them throughout our lives.
Our boundaries are shaped by:
- Heritage, culture, religion
- Where we live or come from
- Personality types
- Life experiences
- Family dynamics
- Goals and dreams for the future
We all come with unique perspectives and backgrounds that shape the way we perceive—and give meaning to—our circumstances. This shit isn’t one size fits all.
Through honest self-reflection (and some inevitable trial and error), we can discover our various levels of comfort and limits as they pertain to the world and people around us.
MYTH #3: “Boundaries isolate me from others”
The word “boundary” can be a bit misleading. It conveys the idea of putting up walls when, in reality, boundaries are connecting points that provide healthy guidelines for navigating relationships.
Here’s what I mean…
When you step into being an inspired leader and connector, you become more and more particular about what is acceptable to you and what isn’t.
Being vulnerable and sharing your boundaries with others not only gives them permission to do the same, but it invites them into a deeper relationship of accountability and support.
And as Brené Brown says “you can’t be vulnerable without boundaries!”
YOU are worthy of setting boundaries for yourself
Setting boundaries gives us a sense of agency over our physical space, body and feelings. In fact, it’s scientifically proven that we decrease stress and become better leaders and community members when we engage our parasympathetic nervous system.
When you set clear boundaries for yourself, you’re communicating to yourself and others that:
- “I’m worthy of being a priority”
- “I respect myself”
- “I am deserving of self-care”
Boundaries are limits of acceptable behavior. And they are your limits. You get to decide what’s acceptable for you! Boundaries are a true gift when we’re working to build healthier and stronger communities, businesses and lives.