Setting and upholding healthy boundaries in ALL of your relationships is not only necessary, but it’s the one thing that will either end or enhance those relationships right away.
And no matter what the outcome…
It is the greatest gift you will ever receive.
I’ve written about boundaries before, but I wanted to create a one-stop guide to everything that I wish I would have known about how to set personal boundaries and boundaries in relationships.
If you don’t have personal boundaries, you will never have relational ones. And if you don’t have boundaries in your relationships… you will never have a real relationship. Only a transaction in which you get to be the doormat/victim/prisoner/powerless loser, every time.
Boundaries make you a winner, without reducing your relationships to a game.
You win because you get to see who people really are.
You win because you’re finally able to clean up your side of the street (instead of continuing to water dead plants on everyone else’s emotional property).
You win because you no longer take responsibility for other people’s behavior (only your own).
You win because you remain on your white horse.
You win because you’re able to separate your worth from the dysfunction of others.
You win by owning your own dysfunction instead of blaming other people for it.
You win by no longer wanting to control others. You have mastered self control.
You win by gaining the unconditional confidence and self-respect that comes from:
- Having limits.
- Psychologically checkmating toxic people through non-reactivity.
- Kindly walking away from anyone who tries to blur and cross your definitive lines.
By having non-negociable limits, you win because you automatically position yourself as The One That Got Away.
Having boundaries means that you trust your gut over your fears and your triggers. It means that you respect yourself enough to make uncomfortable decisions and walk away from people you care about – no matter how much your heart and libido are begging you to turn around.
Having limits is scary. Especially when yours were not developed and/or respected as a child.
But you will be so thankful that you had the courage to implement them when everything that you are tolerating right now is no longer a reality in your relational world.
What are personal boundaries?
Personal boundaries are whatever your limits are in regard to how others treat you. Your boundaries are basically what you find acceptable and unacceptable in other people’s behavior towards you.
It was always difficult for me to know what my boundaries were because this kind of knowledge is not something that can’t be bought or taught. It can only come from self-awareness, self-love, and knowing that you have real value, independent of what others think, say, and do.
The best part about boundaries is that you (and only you) get to decide what your limits are. The hardest part is maintaining them in a world of family, friends, and lovers who will make you feel guilty for not making “special adjustments.” Some will even call you crazy when they realize that they can’t manipulate you. They will remind you of your bond, your history, how sorry they are… whatever they can to break down your walls so that they can get their needs met once again and/or feel like less of a sh*t for what they did.
Boundaries are not malleable. Apologies from others do not disintegrate them, and they do not operate on a case-by-case basis. In fact, the more you have to explain your boundaries, the less you actually have.
If your boundaries are not solid, then they are not boundaries. They’re just figments of the backbone that you wish you could somehow resurrect.
Boundaries do all of the communicating for you in regard to how other people should treat you, what they can expect from you, and what they can and cannot get away with. You can’t control what other people do and say to you, but you can control how comfortable they feel saying and doing what they say and do to you.
Boundaries are what control that level of comfort.
Your personal boundaries are garlic to emotional vampires.
They teach people how to treat you without you having to say a word. Remember, you are the C.E.O of Y.O.U. And Y.O.U is not only very exclusive, but you are the one who gets to decide the structure of your entity. Think of it like a membership to an elite club or a prestigious organization. There are always certain conditions that need to be met (and upheld) for everything that you want to gain access to and experience in this life.
Do toxic people try to negotiate with their gas and electric company every month? No. They make sure that they pay their bills on time because they know if they don’t, they won’t have any hot water or electricity.
Personal boundaries are NOT something that is ever going to make a toxic person or a toxic relationship non-toxic. They should never be implemented as an ultimatum or a scare tactic – only as an unwavering guide (just like the gas bill).
Boundaries are a symptom of confidence, self-respect, and self-awareness. To the right people, boundaries are sexy. To toxic people, they are either a challenge or something that they can potentially bust/mold to their liking. Some will interpret your boundaries as a “red flag.” You will be made to feel “mean,” “too intense,” immature, and ashamed for having limits. Toxic people need the affirmation that they can bust your boundaries in order to maintain egoic survival
If you have healthy personal boundaries, you will never be clingy, needy, or hungry for crumbs. The wool will never be pulled over your eyes again.
Up until a few years ago, one of my biggest problems was sharing too much information about myself. I wish I could call it “oversharing” but it was much darker than that.
There is no prison worse than knowing better while you are in the moment of not doing better. Going on and on about myself felt involuntary but as I was doing it, I was aware that I could shut up at any time. This made me feel even more ashamed and weak because I had lost control. I knew how unnecessary it was. I knew that ultimately, I had control over what I chose to share. I was so envious of people who could open up but were also private in a way that exuded self-respect and intrigue.
If I didn’t share, I felt like I would never be seen, heard, or understood. When I did share, I felt icky, weak, out of control, and exposed.
Personal boundaries are necessary because without them, there are literally no limits to:
- The sanity you will lose.
- The self-sabotage you will ignite.
- The doubt you will experience.
- The fear you will act on.
- The power you will be drained of.
- The extent to which people will use you.