Set Your Boundaries with Purpose

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Think of your boundaries as a set of principles that govern how you interact and want others to interact with you. Boundaries strengthen your relationships by setting clear structures and leaving little room for frustration and resentment to manifest between you and others. Boundaries allow you to stake your claim to what you will/will not do and what you are/are not willing to accept. Your boundaries are not your limits or restrictions in life. Instead, they are a forcefield that protects your wellbeing and fosters healthy relationships.

In essence, setting boundaries is a part of a healthy Self-care practice. When you clearly show and tell what you are willing and unwilling to accept, you leave little space for misunderstandings, mistrust, and misuse. 

Boundaries Also

Boundaries Are

This guide contains 6 steps to a purposeful boundaries practice:

  1. Define and prioritize your needs and assign the supporting boundaries.
  2. Communicate your boundaries in a direct respectful manner.
  3. Commit to your boundaries by staying steadfast in reinforcing them when challenged.
  4. Remove yourself from environments, situations, and people that do not align or respect your boundaries.
  5. Connect with those who do respect your boundaries.
  6. Revisit your boundaries as you evolve.

For more on promoting healthy boundaries, read on!

Your boundary practice should be firmly rooted in your values and intent.  Just as we have 6 Human needs, we also break our necessary boundaries into 6 Life Spaces:  

Boundary Categories

Define and Prioritize

Start with self-awareness. Take stock of what matters to you and make a list of boundaries that you need to enact to protect your values. Subsequently, your boundaries become your shield blocking anything that would interfere with your purpose.  

Work
  • Define your career goals. What will deter you from those goals? That’s a boundary.
  • What types of companies and industries go against your values? Those companies and industries are on your boundary list.
  • Set a clear work schedule. Anything outside of it is a boundary.
Relationship
  • Define characteristics you do not want in your life.
  • Know what behaviors you are unwilling to accept.
  • Define the types of communication you do not like.
  • Outline what you are willing to give and what you want.
Personal (answer to define your boundaries)
  • What takes away from your happiness?
  • What frustrates you?
  • How close is too close for you?
  • When how often do you need personal time?
  • What violates your sense of safety?
  • What offends your sense of self?
  • Are there conversations you are uncomfortable having?
  • What are your sexual diversions?

Download Worksheets to define your boundaries

Communicate Your Boundaries

Communicate Your Boundaries

Now that you’ve purposefully defined your thresholds, it is your onus to make sure others understand them. Directly and respectfully communicate your boundaries. Be direct to ensure there is no room for misinterpretation or misunderstanding. Also, being specific in communicating your boundaries adds a level of self-assertiveness. Let people know you are serious about what you are willing and not willing to allow.

Communicate Your Boundaries

One of the basic tenants in communication is to start with intention. This tenant is key to use when giving voice to your boundaries. Remember the intent is to educate, not annihilate Don’t let your message get lost in unnecessary words. Be specific without using derogatory or demeaning language. Being respectful and direct with your words enables a more effective delivery. People will listen to expressing; they will shut down indicting.

Work
  • Be honest about what you can take on
  • State what you need to complete directives
  • Communicate your work schedules; let team members know if you are okay with after-work-hours calls
  • Are you okay with work text after hours? No?
  • Make sure those who need to know are in the know
Relationship
  • Be clear if you are or are not okay with sharing
  • Be clear on what you are unwilling to accept, i.e., behaviors, communication styles
  • Share what you want and what you are willing to do
  • Be open to what you like, dislike in bed
Personal
  • Own your feelings and concerns
  • Acknowledge when you need space, feel nervous, scared, or uneasy
  • Claim your time

Reinforce

Once you define and communicate your boundaries, commit to your boundaries by:

  • Reinforcing as needed by reiterating your boundary.
  • Say no to things that do not align with your boundaries.
  • Saying less is most effective. “No” does not require “because.”
  • Prevent situations that may go against your boundaries.
  • Removing yourself from situations, places, discussions, and relationships where your boundaries are disregarded.
Work
  • Turn off Notifications when you are not working.
  • Block time on your calendar during times you are unable to meet
  • Leave roles and organizations that go against your values.
Relationship
  • Walk away from those who are unable or refuse to respect your boundaries.
  • Do not engage in /shut down unproductive conversations.
Personal
  • Lock personal private items away
  • Don’t communicate private matters openly
  • When you see crazy coming, cross the street
  • Turn on the “do not disturb” phone feature when you are unable or unwilling to answer
Connect

Connect

Work

Seek mentors and collaborators who showcase professional, respectful, and productive behaviors.

Relationship

Look for and nurture the healthy relationships that bring you peace and elevate you.

Personal

Meditate and express the energy you want in your life.

Maintain Self-Control

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Work
  • Log in and off according to the schedule you set
  • Don’t check-in while on PTO if you do not want to work
Relationship
  • Monitor your words and tone when communicating
  • Resist the urge to respond in anger when someone crosses your lines
Personal
  • Advocate for yourself; don’t cower to someone telling you that your boundaries are unreasonable
  • Follow through on whatever consequence you set for boundary abuse
Revisit Your Boundaries

Revisit

As you evolve, so do your boundaries. Therefore, revisit your boundaries based on your growth, not as a way of second-guessing yourself, wavering, or unduly compromising.

Work

Review your boundaries after a change in career, promotion, or after meeting a career goal. What is a new purpose? What boundaries can you put into place to help propel you?

Relationship

New life stage? For example, Motherhood may encourage you to reevaluate your relationships. For example, some things you were perfectly fine accepting before becoming a mother may now be out of the question.

Personal

Ask yourself, does this boundary still serve a purpose? Does it still benefit my life and current goals? Does this boundary bring me the inner peace and joy I desire? When you identify a boundary that no longer fits within your purpose and goals, revise it.

Your boundaries are there to serve and protect you. You allow, encourage, or accept all that which you do not reject. Choose your boundaries with the respect you want and deserve, and keep coming back to Mavens 101 to guide the way.

Download

Boundary Worksheets
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