Updated: Jan 17, 2021
What is a boundary, and how do we establish them with the people in our lives?
We all have relationships, places, and situations that we stay connected to for various reasons. And it's boundaries that can help us choose the right connections to embrace, places to go to, and situations to participate in. When it comes to creating boundaries, it's all about connecting with your inner well-being and deciding if you're aligning with your values or doing something just because you feel like you should.
A very wise woman once told me, "Karissa, if it isn't a HECK YES... then it is a HECK NO."
You may know this wise woman as Antoinette Beauchamp — the heart and soul of this brand. I sought her out (as many do) because of her genuine compassion and her ability to drop some serious truth bombs. I also realized that Antoinette's ability to be compassionate and radically honest is because she has defined and seriously stuck to her boundaries.
After this ah-ha moment, I self-reflected and asked myself things like, "why do I do things without considering how they impact me?" It didn't take long to realize I was self-sabotaging myself by not putting up boundaries, and it was up to me to take care of myself and be more selective about the things I said yes/no to.
Another wise woman and expert on boundaries, Brene Brown, did an incredible interview about this topic and what she has learned in her years of research. In the interview, she says, "boundaries are not easy, but I think they are the key to self-love, and they are the key to treating others with loving-kindness."
After all, you're the only one who knows what you need, and you alone can make those things happen. It is your responsibility to create the life you want, and no one can do this work for you!
To get you started, here are a few ways you can set boundaries mindfully:
Understand your core values and identify them with just YOU. (Your authentic self!)
Make a list of all the people, places, and things that inspire you, fill you up, ground you, and make you happy! (These items are your HECK YES!)
Make a list of all the people, places, and things that don't do #1. (These items are your HECK NO!)
If it's a HECK NO, dig deeper. Why doesn't it fill you up? Do you need to get rid of it completely? If you can't get rid of it, is there a way to set up boundaries that would make it closer to a YES or more manageable?
Keep in mind; you might need time to transition and create boundaries! And it's okay to allow space for that shift. For example, if the HECK NO item is an old friendship, I don't suggest quitting being friends immediately. Take my story, for example.
I have a long time friend who I LOVE to be with. But she was unhealthy in her own life, and it spilled into mine. She lived a lifestyle surrounded by drama — gossiping, complaining, and all the things. What's more, none of my other friends enjoyed her company because they saw how it changed me (and not in a positive way). I ended up getting so wrapped up in her story that it started to become my own.
What I needed here was boundaries.
I started by identifying what the issue was and then made a conscious choice not to participate in conversations that didn't make me feel good. Eventually, my friend stopped bringing up negative topics with me because I wasn't engaging. What seems like a minor boundary dramatically changed our relationship. In situations like these, examples of boundaries could be...
Limiting the energy you put into a friendship
Having an honest conversation and communicating how their actions affect you
Taking space to reflect on the relationship
Taking time to reflect on your values and how they may have changed
Committing to not participate in anything that doesn't align.
(It should be noted this goes for romantic relationships too.)
It can be challenging, but when we recognize the need for boundaries and seriously commit to them (even when it gets hard), you can truly begin to expand your self-love and love for others! (And don't ever apologize for this!)
When in doubt, always ask yourself: Is this a HECK YES or a HECK NO? In these moments, connect to your heart and truly listen to what comes up. It may take time and practice, but it will be worth it. If you need help identifying your HECK YES and your HECK NO, sign up for a free breakthrough call with our amazing coaches! We can't wait to help you find the "HECK YES" in your life!