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Create guilt-free boundaries to live your purposeful life!

Updated: Jan 20, 2023

If ever there was a metaphor of my life, this is it…

Waking up and looking out into my garden, the fence swaying so angrily from side to side. It is February 2020, and the gales have been fierce overnight. I had repaired my fence the previous autumn, trying to avoid spending money on something so dull and boring. And now, here I was looking out at a garden that looked like the scene from Wizard of Oz, with the fence about to take lift off, damaging my car and whatever else it came into contact with!

A few calls later I had some friends around to secure it down until I could replace it properly. Protecting me and my neighbours from any further damage.

Looking out to the patched up fence, no longer able to use my driveway…I couldn’t help but laugh! The irony of the situation!

My entire life I had been struggling with boundaries.

When you set boundaries with others, you are stating what others can and can't do in your relationship, you place limits on what makes you feel safe in your environment and to be yourself, and create space for yourself to grow.

Our personal boundaries may not be as obvious as a fence, but creating and communicating them is essential for our health, well-being, and even our safety.

Now, for many years I thought I had been stating what these personal boundaries looked like.

And after years I couldn’t understand what was going wrong. Why weren't they being taking seriously?!

Like the gale, my emotions were toxic. I felt conflicted with boundaries being pushed and maintaining loving relationships. As I struggled to find a coping mechanism, the relationships concerned were breaking down. And I was breaking down!

Here was the issue…

Just as the fence was unstable, my foundations were unstable too…

  • I hadn't invested in understanding what I truly needed and why

  • I didn’t believe I had a right to the boundaries I had created, and so I was subconsciously invalidating them.

  • My belief system regarding love was also conflicting, and so putting boundaries in place felt like I was rejecting love.

And so either way….I didn’t believe I could feel safe in who and what I wanted to create.

But didn’t stay that way.

I didn’t give up. I invested in myself. I revisited my foundations. And I gave it time.

Here are some tips on setting boundaries:

1. Get clear on what boundaries you need to put in place and why.

Make a list of everything that you need to feel safe in your environment and to be your truest version of you.

  • Think about the times when you have felt frustrated, upset, scared or short-tempered. Listen to what you needed in those situations. What would have helped you to feel safe, calm or assured in yourself?

  • Think about what is important to you… What circumstances have stopped you in your tracks time and time again?

  • When, where and who do you feel like your energy is being taken?

And take your time. Revisit your list over time. It may change, and that’s ok!

2. Note down what you believe your rights are.

Look at it from a friends perspective. Where do you think there may be some conflict?

3. Communicate your boundaries clearly with YOURSELF.

If you're not clear with yourself, then how can you expect to be clear with others? Keep them in a place which you have easy access to; on your phone, a notebook, on the fridge - somewhere you know you can remind yourself of daily.

4. Affirm your worth for setting your boundaries

When you don't believe you're worthy of the life you want, you inadvertently allow others to step over your boundaries. Believe in your worth, and the boundaries become clearer

5. Be assertive when communicating your boundaries with others

Assertive language is clear and non-negotiable, and express with feelings. Use "I statements" which show confidence in what you need, how you feel, and are non-threatening and do not blame.

I feel ……….when …….because

What I need is…..

6. Find your support network.

Setting boundaries, and maintaining them can be tough. More often than not, it will be with the people that you love that you struggle with the most, as these are the people you fear losing the most.

And it is these times that you need to be reminded that you are NOT alone.

7. Practice saying No.

Ok, I won't lie…the first few times may feel uncomfortable, especially if you are a people pleaser like myself. But saying Yes, does not necessarily help either party in the long run anyway.

  • Connect with the "why" behind your boundary.

  • Remind yourself of what saying "No" will enable you to have.

  • Consider your belief system around saying "NO". What do you believe saying "NO" means?

8. Let go of expecting people to follow your boundaries

Your loved ones may not understand your journey, and don’t expect them to either. Keep to your lane, set your boundaries, communicate. reinstate and let it rest.

9. Reflect

Notice the emotions that arise when reinstating your boundaries. Spend some time reflecting and journaling what comes through for you. A mismatched energy will always feel forced and unnatural; and be rejected by both yourself and the recipient.

10. Don’t' give up! I'll say it over and over again. Setting boundaries are hard. But wow! It's worth it!

Comment below if you've found this post helpful and share a tip or a story that's helped you! And please…reach out…you really are NOT alone one this journey

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