Personal boundaries are entirely underrated. They’re consistently overlooked when people consider their mental health and the steps they’re taking to move forward with it. Typically, they aren’t even on our radar of an area that needs to be considered much less ‘tidied up’. But poor personal boundaries leads to low self esteem, poor mental health, burn-out, and the list goes on and on.
Without personal boundaries (both for ourselves and for others) you won’t properly be able to maintain balance in your life. Personal boundaries keep relationships afloat and encourage healthy discussion and personal inquiry.
What are Personal Boundaries?
Personal boundaries are the limits that we set on others or ourselves so that we can properly maintain a positive emotional and mental state. We set personal boundaries for who can speak or touch us (and the varying degrees in which they can), how they do so, and when they do so. We also set personal boundaries for ourselves, for example: I won’t binge eat because I know it won’t actually make me feel better and it will actually hurt the situation.
Setting personal boundaries can be a difficult process, especially if you’re trying to establish new boundaries with someone. We highly recommend taking the intro to personal boundaries e-course at Informed and Empowered
. It goes through all the steps, provides worksheets, and journal entries- oh and it’s FREE!
“Tidying Up” Your Personal Boundaries
Checking in with our personal boundaries should be done multiple times a year. In a perfect world, you’d also uphold them every day- but we both know that’s not happening.
When our personal boundaries are left alone, are poorly maintained, and/or not thought about entirely, it puts a strain on our relationships. Someone may not know that they’re pushing their boundaries with you. Others may need to be reminded. And others may need to have new boundaries created for them.
Take a Personal Boundary Inventory
Personal inventories are a powerful tool. No matter how big or small the issue might be, getting everything out in a way that you can see it, helps with taking steps towards change. It’s no different in the case of personal boundaries.
For a personal boundary inventory, check in with the boundaries you already have. Write out the ones that are most important to you and the ones that you would prefer to have more upheld. Be as specific as possible so that you are crystal clear with yourself what is and isn’t ok for someone else to do, and for yourself to do.
Keep in mind that a personal boundary inventory isn’t an inventory on everything wrong that someone has done to you or the ways that you have left yourself down. If, as you’re doing this exercise, you realize that so-and-so has been consistently walking all over your boundaries, then it is time to get a little more specific. If you decide that you need to confront this person, having a list of instances is both a good and bad idea. It’s good so you know where you need to stay on track, but don’t go into the conversation waving your list of demands/grievances
Talking about Personal Boundaries
Most importantly, where do you need to establish personal boundaries? Check in with your inventory list for this. What issues do you find repeating? For example, if you become exhausted and tired around people then create a boundary for yourself in regards to the amount of time spent being social vs being alone. Tell yourself that it’s ok to miss a social outing or to cancel one that’s already planned.
When talking about your personal boundaries to someone else or when mentally examining them, be 100% honest. You may want to be more than friends with that one person, but you know that you shouldn’t be, and in all honesty you probably shouldn’t be answering all of those messages. Establish personal boundaries that truly reflect what you need for your overall health and wellness.
Mini Tool Kit Piece
Tidying up your personal boundaries by learning how to properly define and enforce them is critical. Changes start today, so we created a mini list for you to help you stay motivated and empowered!
6 Personal Boundaries Tidying Tips
When asked a question, stop and check in on if you really want to do it. If someone asks your opinion on something, say it!
If you feel uncomfortable, say so if possible and exit the situation.
When someone continues to cut you off, the next time they do, stop listening. When they’re done and looking confused, explain why you stopped listening and say what YOU were saying. Bonus points for not apologizing!
Speaking of apologizing- stop saying sorry when it is not necessary! Stand true to your word or to stand up for yourself without having to feel bad for feeling that way.
Don’t cheat yourself out of something- you’re the only one you spend your entire life with.
Don’t allow others to tell you how to feel about something, or that the way you feel is wrong.
Personal boundaries can be tricky. And enforcing them can be painful in the beginning. But remember that nobody wants to be walked on and very few people will be comfortable knowing that someone else feels like they’re walking all over them. Stay true to who you are and what you need, and speak your truth freely!