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What is a Boundary and when should you use one?

Boundaries can be very confusing. Saying “no” is not setting a boundary. You don’t need to say no to people in order to set a boundary. The correct way is to say no and then follow up with your own action. That is what makes a boundary. Saying no and threatening someone or telling them how they should behave is not setting a boundary. A boundary is only required when there has been a boundary violation. A violation is when someone comes into your emotional or physical space without permission, right? It is also someone doing something in your “world” or life that you do not allow. So, a boundary is you deciding what you will and will not tolerate in your life. You must, however, announce it, state it and make people aware, otherwise they will not be able to respect your boundary.

By not telling others what your boundary is and not having enough self-respect for yourself and what you want in your life, you basically create a situation where boundary violations can happen easily. Here is an example, let’s say you have a couple of friends out of your group of 10 friends that smoke pot. You do not allow pot smoking in your home and frankly you don’t like to be around it. You must let people know of your boundary regarding this. If they are true friends, they will respect your boundary and refrain from smoking in your presence. Now, lets talk about consequences. There is always a consequence with every boundary, but here is the interesting part, the consequence is for you, not the other person/people. Interesting, right…...? Yes, that brings us back to being able to say NO. So, the consequence will be that you won’t be spending time with those people and they won’t be welcome in your home while smoking pot. Try to remember that the reason the consequence is not for them is because people are allowed to do whatever they want, agreed? Also, adult people don’t like to be told what to do, so they can smoke pot all they want, whenever they want. You have just set a boundary that YOU will not allow it in your life and/or your home and if they violate YOUR boundary, your consequence will be that you will not be spending time with that person. That is what makes the boundary for you and not them, as they will continue to do whatever they wish, which we all know is called free will.… make sense?

Saying no is something you have to get good at doing so you can get good at saying yes to the things that you really want to do. Remember, you don’t have to do anything. You always have the option of saying no. This goes back to my blog about “people pleasing” and never being able to say no. We sometimes worry about what people will think of us if we say no to something, therefore we lose our self- respect and violate our own boundary just to people please.

If you haven't ever told people the truth or what your boundary is and then you blurt out, “I'm so sick of you doing this,” the person may not even know what you're sick of because you never announced it or stated it up front. Just remember two things, you can always say no and you don’t have to offer an explanation, ever…. ALSO, adults get to behave as they want to, always. You cannot control other people, you can only control your own life.

What are emotional boundaries you might ask? Some people have boundaries around swearing, using God’s name in vain or even loud arguing. Others don’t have boundaries or any problem with these things. Some people have boundaries around time and around space. Whatever it may be, we need to respect other people’s boundaries and we need to respect our own boundaries that we have set up for ourselves in order to feel happy and fulfilled within ourselves.


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