Updated: Sep 2, 2020
It sounds serious, doesn't it?
Here's the thing, though - having boundaries doesn't have to be threatening. Or scary.
Do you ever feel guilty for implementing boundaries with those you love? Or with work?
Having boundaries is ABSOLUTELY vital in developing a sustainable business with longevity.
In fact, I'd argue it's essential to ANYONE wanting to stay sane and not feel pulled in 50 different directions.
Boundaries are crucial to one's own well-being and mental health.
To have boundaries, though, there's a bit of work required in the first place.
Boundaries don't just appear. YOU have to do some work in identifying them, setting them, and then....implementing them.
Ultimately, boundaries begin (and end) with YOU.
They are about YOUR relationship with YOU.
If you have no boundaries, it's highly likely your self-esteem is rather low too - which means it's even more important you put energy into having them.
Having poor boundaries can also breed resentment, burnout and even anger.
So, what can you do to set and maintain boundaries?
1) Acknowledge that boundaries are important, and that you need them
Unless you acknowledge the need for them, implementing boundaries will fall by the wayside. Give yourself permission to have boundaries, and realise the importance of having them.
2) Identify your boundaries
Think about your values and what's important to you. The boundaries you set should keep the focus on yourself.
As Mel Robbins (of The 5 Second Rule fame) recently shared, these are some examples of healthy boundaries you can set with yourself:
saying no without feeling guilty
saying yes because you want to
telling the truth - even when it might upset someone
asking for what you need
taking care of your body, mind and spirit
Boundaries can be physical, psychological or emotional.
Some boundaries may be firm, some may be more loose.
And that's okay.
If you are struggling to identify your boundaries, it's helpful to look to where you currently feel stressed, drained or like a 'door mat'. Each of these areas indicate an area a boundary may be helpful.
Here's some starting points: work/life boundaries, time boundaries, boundaries with children, relationship boundaries.
3) Communicate your boundaries
Unless we actually tell people what our boundaries are, how will they know we have boundaries? Through osmosis?
We need to be clear with ourselves and others exactly what our boundaries are.
Be clear, calm, and communicate consistently.
4) Decide what you will do if boundaries are crossed
This is more often than not where most struggle - actually implementing those boundaries and following through.
If others don't respect your boundaries, it's up to you to evaluate your options and take action in a way that is aligned with your values. Consequences may be as simple as adjusting your own actions.
5) Stay flexible
Whilst boundaries are important, it's also important to stay open to new ideas and solutions.
Having too many boundaries may be overwhelming - judge how many are right for you.
You might have different boundaries for different settings - social media, work, family, friends, partner, kids etc.
And you may have more boundaries with some people, less with others - that's okay!
Ultimately, creating healthy boundaries is all about you, and learning to value yourself.
If the topic of boundaries is of interest to you, or you are looking for additional resources around setting boundaries, here are some great resources: