Gunk of Low-Energy Living: boundaries

Boundaries act as a filter—letting in the good stuff that enhances you and keeping out the bad stuff that diminishes you.

You may find it difficult to set boundaries because you put others’ needs and feelings first, feel you don’t have the right to declare what is and isn’t OK for you, and worry setting boundaries will jeopardize your relationships.

But you need boundaries to be whole.

They help define who you are, what you stand for, and how you view your place in the world.

Having clear boundaries is also essential to your energy. Weak boundaries leave you feeling drained and disempowered, taken advantage of, and having no time for yourself.

A boundary = a really clear request you make of someone + a really clear consequence of what you will do if your boundary is not honored.

Extending your boundaries includes things people are no longer allowed to do around you, do to you, or say to you. For instance:

  • Do around you (smoke)
  • Do to you (yell)
  • Say to you (comment on your weight)

Setting healthy boundaries shows you respect and honor your own needs—and is one of the surest ways to reclaim your energy.

Here’s a 3-step process for better boundaries:

Figure out what your boundaries are. Think of people, places, or circumstances in your life where you need to set a boundary.

Communicate your boundaries to the people around you. This means having a crucial conversation that communicates the boundary and the consequence if it’s violated. For instance: Being yelled at makes me uncomfortable. If you yell at me, I’m going into the other room until we can talk calmly.

Follow through on enforcing your boundaries. You don’t control other people, so when you set a boundary, they don’t have to honor it. But then it’s up to you to enforce the boundary—by following through on the consequences you set upfront.

What boundary do you need to set today?