What are boundaries? What do healthy boundaries look like in our everyday lives?
How can we define and set our own boundaries (and enforce them)? On today’s episode we’re scratching the surface on this topic, but I hope it’s practical and helpful for you in setting your own boundaries. I’ll even walk you through a simple step by step process for how to do this.
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FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPTION:
Welcome to part two of the February series, “Loving You,” where we’re focusing on how to love yourself well, and different ways you can practically do that. Today, we’re going to be talking about boundaries. Now, “boundaries” can be a very broad term. It can be very in depth. And I hope to kind of narrow in on a few specific areas where we should be setting boundaries in order to love ourselves well, as busy mommas.
There are so many great books and resources that go into details about boundaries. This podcast episode will simply scratch the surface, but I hope to point out some important reminders for you setting boundaries in your own life and why they matter and how we actually are loving ourselves well, when we have healthy boundaries in place.
So this one’s really good. You might want to have a little notebook and a pen if you want to take some notes. If not just pop in your headphones, grab your coffee or tea, or just keep on doing what you’re doing, mama. However, you’re listening. I’m glad that you’re here. Let’s get started!
When you know yourself and you’re confident in who you are and what you need and what you’re willing to give up, you know your boundaries. So to know yourself and who you are means you know your boundaries. When we lack boundaries, we have to ask whether or not we have an established identity. Do we truly know who we are and what we need and the links to which we’re willing to go for certain people or certain things in certain situations and why or why not?
You know, a boundary can be as strict or as flexible as you want for it to be. You know, as much as you feel necessary to protect yourself and your mental health. If you think about a boundary, if you’re anything like me, I think about a line. Like this is the line and this person or this thing, is not allowed to cross this line.
That is my boundary. You may think of something that separates you from someone or something, whether it’s space separating you or some other dividing factor, but a boundary serves to remind you and other people what belongs to you and what belongs to them. There are certain things you know, those, which you decide on individually, that people can not have access to, that they cannot take from you or that they cannot put on you.
I saw a definition that stated a boundary as “a clear place where you begin and the other person ends.” And I was like, “man, that is such a cool visual.” It’s where, you know, it is the distinction between me and someone else. That is the boundary. Boundaries are what make you an individual. It is your defined space.
When you have clear boundaries, you are aware of what you will and will not allow and what you are and are not responsible for. Some of the benefits of healthy boundaries are good mental health, a defined sense of self, a well-rounded identity, and you’re more likely to avoid burnout when you have clear boundaries that you consistently stick to and enforce in your life.
When you don’t have clear boundaries that you enforce, you’re likely to feel burned out. You’re going to feel more stressed and you might even hold resentment toward other people. So think about your own life and your own relationships with others. And think about what boundaries you have set. And if you don’t know if you have any, explore that a little and ask yourself, “why not?
Why don’t I have any set boundaries when it comes to my relationships? Do I just want to please everyone and make everyone happy? Do I allow other people to dump all of their stuff on me? Am I willing to carry that? Am I afraid of saying no, because I want the approval of others or I’m scared of missing out?”
There’s so many different questions to explore when it comes to this. So just get really curious and as always, have lots of grace for yourself in these answers, because we’re just trying to understand ourselves a little bit better, become a little more self-aware and then ultimately put into place some healthy boundaries.
Those boundaries with other people include who gets your time. In what ways are they allowed to take your time? What information you share with certain people, what you’re willing to do for other people. Saying “yes” when you want to say “yes” and “no” when you need or want to say “no.” And look, people who don’t have strong boundaries themselves typically do not respect when others try to enforce their own boundaries.
Okay. Do we know some people like that? I think we all know somebody who gets frustrated or their feelings hurt or wants to take it personally when you try to exercise a boundary, but there are loving and polite ways to enforce your own boundaries.
You don’t have to submit to demands placed on you, just because they’re being made by someone that you know really well or someone that you love, a family member even. Here are some ways, here’s some simple phrases that you can keep in mind. Next time you want to an exercise, a boundary, you can just say…
“I’m sorry that doesn’t work for me.” Or “I’m sorry, that’s not gonna work for me. Thank you for asking, but I’m not available for,” you know, whatever it is that they’re wanting for you to do. Or you could say, “that was nice of you to think of me, but I can’t make it.” Or “I’m not comfortable doing that so I’m going to pass.” Or you can always just say “no,” a simple, no, always does the trick and don’t over-explain yourself.
Okay. That’s the hardest part sometimes because you feel bad and you want to explain, so they understand where you’re coming from, but you get to decide what you want to do and what you don’t want to do without having to explain or justify your reasons. And sometimes, it’s most needed with those closest to us.
And it’s the hardest to exercise and implement with those closest to us, because we sometimes feel like we owe them something. We owe them our time. We owe it to them to do this thing or whatever it is they’re asking of us because they are a family member or they’re a close friend and you just don’t have to if it’s not something that falls within a healthy boundary that you’ve set for yourself and your time.
And speaking of time, we just talked about how valuable time is. Time is the only resource that you do not get back. You never get back more time. There are lots of other things that you can replace and that you can earn more of that you can get back, but you do not get your time back. So, part of boundaries is determining what you value and why it’s important to you and where you want to spend your time and with who you want to spend your time with, and why.
And another place that I’ve started setting boundaries with is a thing. It’s with my phone, you know, it’s, it’s where it’s allowed to be in proximity to me. Where are you going to allow your phone to follow you? Everywhere that you go all of the time? You know, that’s for you to decide. At what hours is it on loud and when is it silenced?
Those are all boundaries. So I did a little bit of quick research here and I found there are areas you can set your boundaries in. So there are like generalized categories. There are physical boundaries, and then there are emotional and intellectual boundaries. And here are some steps to setting boundaries.
If you haven’t read a book on this, maybe you have, maybe you haven’t, if you haven’t, you know, studied this in depth or really researched it, I’m going to give you four simple steps to setting your own boundaries. Number one, define your desired boundary. So know what you want. Like I said, determine your values and what matters to you in these areas and in certain relationships.
Number two is to communicate the boundary by stating what you need. You know, this, person’s not going to know if you never say anything. If you don’t speak up for yourself. Nobody’s going to know your boundary if you never communicate it. Okay, and sometimes you might want to communicate that beforehand, before the situation arises.
And then other times you’re going to need to communicate the boundary when you’re actually in the midst of the situation. Number three, the third step to setting a boundary is to keep it simple. Don’t over-explain it. Don’t over-complicate it. Just keep it simple. And number four, if necessary, set consequences or let the other person know why it’s important for you to do or not do that particular thing.
Now you’re not going in depth. You’re not over-explaining, you’re just simply stating why it’s important for you. You know, why you need this boundary or whatever the particular situation is. So let them know the consequences of, you know, why you can’t do that thing or why you do need to do that thing.
Maybe, you know, it does help them understand a little bit more, but you’re not going to over-explain yourself because you’re not being rude. You’re not being harsh. You just don’t owe it to anyone else to over-explain yourself. You know why you have certain boundaries for yourself and for your life. I found the coolest resources and I’m going to link them in the show notes, but this one article has a ton of free resources.
One is a basic overview of what personal boundaries are and how to tell if they are healthy or not. There’s different categories of boundaries and it’s so cool. It gives you a chart with common traits of a rigid, poorest, and healthy boundaries. And I want to read the characteristics of healthy boundaries to you really quick.
So healthy boundaries value your opinions. Again, it’s something you value. You, yourself value as your opinion. A healthy boundary doesn’t compromise values for other people. Healthy boundaries share personal information in an appropriate way. Doesn’t overshare, doesn’t under share, you know, personally what you want, what you need and you can communicate that, and accepting when other people tell you “no.” Uh, that one kind of things a little bit.
A healthy boundary you, like I said, when you have healthy boundaries set and you have those strong, the strong sense of self, and you know who you are, you can understand better why someone else may not be able to do what you want for them to do. Why they might have to tell you no, and we don’t always like it.
It doesn’t always feel good, but it is important to respect other people’s boundaries and honor those as well, especially when we want for others to do the same for us. So the other thing, the other sheet that I found is just how to create healthy boundaries. I kind of read through some quick, simple steps, but this goes into detail about what are boundaries. Why is it important to set boundaries?
It talks about, you know, physical boundaries, what those are, and then emotional and intellectual boundaries. It is so in depth, it’s so good. There are, you know, it covers barriers to setting boundaries, all of these things that you’re going to come across when you’re trying to implement this into your life.
So I’m going to link both of these to the show notes. It’s a free resource. It also gives you some tips for setting healthy boundaries. And I think that it’s going to be a really good resource, especially if you feel like that you need more of this in your life. If you want more of this in your life. And like I said, there are a ton of good books and resources widely available for you.
This episode was just to simply scratch the surface and get you thinking. You know, “what are the boundaries that I’ve set? What- do I have a healthy sense of self? And do I have those lines designated in different areas of my life for different people in different settings that, you know, they know what is allowed and what’s not?”
Because you show people how to treat you. Like you allow people to treat you in the ways that you want to be treated. And I know there are a lot of different factors that go into this, but just generally speaking, we show people how to treat us by the ways that we treat ourselves and how we love ourselves and how we stand up for ourselves.
And if we know who we are, or if we don’t know who we are, then people are going to treat you in respect to those things. If you allow someone to constantly cross lines and cross boundaries and do things and say things to you that are not appropriate, that hurt your feelings, that you wish they didn’t, they’re going to continue to push and push and push further and further and further until you put your foot down.
Until you draw that line, until you say “enough is enough. I’m not okay with this. This is not okay.” And like I said, there are so many different scenarios and factors. It could be, you know, the way someone is speaking to you or the way someone assumes that you’re going to take care of this thing all the time, because you just always have. You know, you’re allowed to step up and say, “this is not going to work for me anymore, or this doesn’t work for me anymore.
And I’m no longer going to do this thing.” That would be a healthy way to communicate a boundary. And like I said, you’re going to probably face pushback on that. You know, with most people, I would say you probably are going to face pushback. Whenever you say something for the first time, you know. Some people will probably surprise you and maybe honor and respect your opinion.
Some people might be shocked. “Oh my goodness. I can’t believe she just said that.” They, they might not know how to think or feel or respond in the moment, honestly, but you know, some people are not going to respect that you are no longer willing to do what they’ve always used you for essentially. So take these concepts, take these ideas, take these different scenarios and apply them to your life.
And I would just encourage you to set aside time this week. 15 minutes, not, not long, but just to sit down and think through your boundaries and each area and what you’re allowing in and what you’re pouring out and what you’re giving to other people with your time, with your resources. And really evaluate that and see how you feel about it.
Do those things feel good to you? Do they feel healthy or is it something that needs to shift a little bit? Are there new boundaries that need to be put in place? You know, nobody else knows if you don’t know. So if you don’t know what you need, nobody else is going to know what you need or what to give to you or not ask you for, if that makes sense.
So you’ve got to know who you are. You’ve got to know what you want. You’ve got to know the lines that you’re not willing to cross. And the lines other people are not allowed to cross. And then communicate that in the most loving way with the people that you love and care about. So this episode was a little bit different than the typical content that I put out, but I do think that it’s very important.
You know, boundaries are super important in just having a healthy lifestyle and being intentional as a mom, as a woman. There are so many different ways this can apply to you and so I hope that you found it to be practical and helpful and encouraging, and I hope that it allows you to give yourself that permission.
The, “yes, I am a person. I am my own being. I do have boundaries. There are lines that other people are not allowed to cross. There are parts of me and pieces of me that nobody else is allowed to access, maybe ever, but not during this time of day or for this amount of time or whatever that looks like.”
That is normal. That is healthy. It’s something that we should all have. Remember the boundary is where you begin and the other person ends. There is like a divide there, there has to be. And when lines get crossed and they’re blurry and it’s not defined and it’s not healthy, nobody’s really benefiting from that.
So take what you’ve learned, work on it this week. Let this be like your one thing for the week that you work on or sit down and think through… If you have a quiet time where you’re getting up in the mornings before your kids, or maybe in the evenings before you go to bed, or during nap time, just sit down and just write it out on a piece of paper.
Maybe if you have a journal, just journal about it or type it in a Notes on your phone. Tap into these links, read the articles, look at the little PDFs and just start to work some of these things into your life. Weave it in where it fits and where it feels good and helps you to feel more aligned and more whole as a person and someone who knows their boundaries and can communicate that. It’s going to build confidence in you.
And I think we could all use a little more confidence in this area. So don’t leave what you’ve heard here on the episode. Take it with you throughout your week, chew on it, digest it a little bit. Think about it. Come back to it. If you need to maybe listen again and for sure, make time at some point this week to sit down and write through your own boundaries in these different areas as always.
Thank you for being curious. Thank you for listening. If you found this episode to be helpful, would you take a screenshot right now on your phone? Pop it up on Instagram. Tag me @heyitscason. And I always reshare these. I love to see who’s listening, how it landed, what you got out of it. What you’re listening to.
So let me know that you enjoyed this episode and I will see you next week!