Good Fences – An Introduction to Boundaries

Me: Have you set any boundaries in this situation?
Client: <long pause> No
Me: Do you know what your boundaries are in this instance? <silence> What would be a real dealbreaker in terms of the other person’s behavior?
Client: I really don’t know. <even longer pause> And even if I did, I don’t know how I would tell him and then keep the boundary.

One of the easiest things to neglect in our relationships is setting boundaries. Boundaries are like invisible fences that define our personal limits, protect our time and energy, and allow us to cultivate healthy relationships. Yet, many of us struggle to establish and maintain boundaries, often unaware of the positive impact it can have on our happiness.

Before diving into the importance of boundaries, let’s talk about what they are. Boundaries are the guidelines we set to define what is acceptable and respectful behavior towards us. They include physical, emotional, mental, and even digital aspects of our lives. Boundaries serve as a protective shield, preventing others from overstepping and encroaching on our values.

Setting boundaries is a powerful act of self-care that can increase our happiness. It also has the ability to make us proud of ourselves as an act of self-preservation and an expression of self-respect. Boundaries give us a clear and kind way to say “no” when needed and create the balance that so many of us are seeking in our life.

Boundaries also play a role in building healthy relationships because they create clarity and set expectations. Setting and holding our boundaries teaches other people how to treat us and creates a respectful way of being together. Despite often discussing how to create safe spaces for our teams or in our families, we often fail to talk about the role of boundaries in creating that safe container for our relationships and interactions.

In the coming weeks, I will dive deeper into the art of setting boundaries and keeping them. In the meantime, if you’d like some 1:1 coaching on boundary settings, feel free to set up a free consultation.

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