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Everyday Lifestyle

Setting Personal Boundaries

Personal boundaries are important for maintaining our overall wellbeing. We need them in our lives to make sure we don’t get overwhelmed and to help us navigate our day-to-day in a healthy, positive way. So how do we utilize them and make sure they are respected?

Any guidelines, principles or rules we live by, that determines how were to be treated and interacted with, make up our personal boundaries. This can include what we will/will not accept and if/how we respond when our limits are breached. They represent a beneficial way to establish and express our values, our sense of self, what we prioritize and what we require to feel safe. We all possess them, even on a subconscious level, but we must spend time establishing for ourselves what our boundaries involve because a major part of their success is that they are communicated clearly to those around us both before and after a line has been crossed.

Energy is contagious, positive and negative alike. I will forever be mindful of what and who I am allowing into my space. | Alex Elle

graphic link to an everyday lifestyle post on transatlantic notes called setting personal boundaries

Becoming self-aware is vital when setting effective personal boundaries. Before we can explain to others the situations, behaviours and actions that feel uncomfortable, we need to understand what they are. To support tuning-in to our own self-awareness we need to pay attention to the patterns in our thoughts, feelings and responses, including what bothers us about ourselves and other people. We should also take note of what our emotional triggers are, what upsets us or causes anxiety, for example. From there we can recognise what we will no longer allow in our lives or give energy to it can also improve how we deal with something negative, if it occurs again.

Identifying what our values are is key to maintaining our general welfare and happiness (this links with our self-awareness) and informing what boundaries we have. They are fundamental to how we live, what we pursue, what we believe in and how we measure the successes we have throughout our life. Our personal values are frequently what help us figure out who we are, what we wish to put out into the world and what we expect to be reflected back on us.

A transfeminine non-binary person and transmasculine gender-nonconforming person looking at a phone and laughing
Having personal boundaries helps us make more meaningful connections with people – photo via The Gender Spectrum Collection

Accepting flexibility as part of personal growth is central to sustaining our boundaries. As we explore new opportunities, and experience perspective shifts and changes — which are a normal part of life what we value may adapt or evolve. Being open to flexibility will ensure we can still identify what we need to thrive, including what personal boundaries remain and which ones need modification.

Direct and consistent communication of our boundaries is how we make sure they are respected. Explaining or reasoning can be effective but saying no is a full, clear, perfectly acceptable sentence you don’t have to justify yourself to anyone. Learning to be assertive will help convey what crosses a line and reduce nervousness when dealing with situations/people that do. If implementing a personal boundary requires a consequence like no longer seeing someone if they repeat behaviour towards you that’s offensive or detrimental, or removing yourself from an event or social circle, etc then following through with it is all-important. If we don’t consistently protect our boundaries, it can promote the idea that our thresholds are negotiable or free to be disregarded.

two yound male friends talking to each other
Clear communication about expectations helps set & sustain personal boundaries – photo by Budgeron Bach

Conserving our energy and deciding what we‘re willing to tackle depends on what‘s going on in our lives and how we‘re feeling. What and how we deal with something even choosing if we deal with it or not is entirely up to us. Managing to incorporate our core values and self-awareness into how we safeguard our emotional and mental health can be a draining process. Stepping away for a bit and taking time to decide what’s an appropriate actionable acknowledgement is, in fact, a boundary all of its own. Requiring time to respond is okay, and saying that you’re going to need some is an appropriate thing to do.

Even though they require some work, personal boundaries create and encourage realistic expectations. They can reduce stress, misunderstandings, help deal with toxic people and be part of a holistic self-care routine. They also help with learning appropriate and assertive communication and will no doubt help bolster general confidence in life.

Do you set personal boundaries? Are they part of your self-care routine? What boundaries do you need to work on?

Further Info:

10 Simple Ways To Improve Your Self Awareness [With Examples] – Nick Wignall

Strategies For Setting Healthy Boundaries In The Workplace – Business Insider

A Guide To Setting Healthy Boundaries In Relationships – The Talkspace Voice

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40 thoughts on “Setting Personal Boundaries”

  1. Setting boundaries, both personal and professional, is hard work because it requires constant vigilance, realignment and often reconsidering your values. There are a lot of things that I used to put up with in my 20s that I wouldn’t even consider for a second in my 30s. And I’m sure things will continue to shift in my 40s and so on.

    One side effect that I didn’t expect was how much easier it becomes to recognize and respect other people’s boundaries when yours are firmly in place. I now just see it as “boundaries,” not as a personal grudge that someone has against me or my suggestions. It truly opens your eyes and changes your interactions with other people.

    Thanks for opening the conversation and educating about such a tricky topic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love this, and you’re point about the shift we feel from our 20s to our 30s and 40s, etc is exactly right, and why we need that flexibility to understand that we need to make sure our boundaries change as we do. I know that the things I wish for myself now in my 40s is a whole different world from when I was in my 20s. It certainly does take work, which I don’t always have the energy for (I’m sure I’m not alone in this) but boundaries can be revisited and revised whenever we need to.

      Respecting other people’s boundaries once we establish our own is 100% right, it’s easier to see something from another perspective when we get why people have them.

      Thank you so much for reading, and for being part of the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. You are right —our perspective changes we when age. Somehow mature in a way. Mostly for me —I feel I have more respect for myself and that allows for all those personal boundaries to take shape.

      Anyways, love this post Molly. Great topic. Always a pleasure reading you✨🧡 x

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  2. Great post! Setting physical and mental boundaries is so important, especially at the moment when we might have issues with corona boundaries or lower mental health due to the situation. Thank you for sharing these important pointers x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been extrememly hit and miss with mine and have also only relatively recently come back to them as part of my self-care. They are worth spending the time they need to have them as part of our lives so I hope yours continue to flourish this year (and into the next). Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  3. I wrote a similar article on this a while ago, but it wasn’t until I tried to help someone else setup their own boundaries that I realised the how to set boundaries, when you’re not even sure which ones you need, is surprisingly hard to do when. A step-by-step guide on how to identify boundary needs, set them up, and then maintain them would go a long way

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    1. Personal boundaries are very elusive and can be really hard to pinpoint what it is we need. I struggle with this myself and have come to realize that it takes a bit of trial and error until I find what I need and what will work. I wish it was more clearly defined but noticing any patterns in how I feel about a situation/someone is my first step. It can take time but I spend it figuring out why I respond that way and what will help me improve that. I’d love a step-by-step guide too! I think personal boundaries will always be an ongoing aspect of life — which doesn’t make them easy — but at least we know we’re not alone if we don’t quite get them right at first.

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  4. I need to get better at setting my personal boundaries, it’s something I do struggle with. I find it very hard to say No, it’s one of my aspirations for 2021 🙂 Thank you for some great tips!

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    1. I struggle too and sometimes I don’t have the energy to do the work but I always come around to them again as I know I feel healthier (mentally and emotionally) when I have them. Good luck with them in 2021 (I’m setting some for the New Year too)!

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  5. This is so important (and something that I know that I have slacked off on in the past). I didn’t realize how few boundaries I had put in place until COVID came along and forced me to stay home on lockdown. No longer going out and engaging with all the people that I normally would allowed me to take that step back and assess who was bringing negativity into my life. Who was I happier NOT seeing? Many of which are people that I honestly don’t need to see, they bring no value into my life, I just accepted it because I didn’t think about it. Big changes moving forward!

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    1. Covid has certainly given some people time to reflect more. I know what I want out of life and how I wish to be treated (I used to accept some pretty unkind and toxic people too). Life is too short and too precious to not be surrounded by good things and good people. I hope the big changes you have ahead enable you to flourish!

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  6. your tips are on point! i find people who invade my personal space so frustrating and setting personal boundaries is the way to go!

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  7. I feel like I’ve overdone setting personal boundaries. I’m a person who’s so guarded and have my walls up so high. My problem is letting people in. 😅

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    1. It can be hard if it goes too far the other way. I use my boundaries just for how I’d like to be treated so if someone crosses that line into something being offensive, I let them know. I have other boundaries, but that’s moslty how I use mine. I hope you can find what works for you!

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  8. A great post at a time all personal boundaries at the workplace have gone for a toss. Just coz you are WFH doesn’t mean you have a life and family. So important that we balance out things and set out personal boundaries. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. I thought I had the whole boundaries thing down pat, but lately, I have come to realize that it definitely needs some tweaking! I am good at situations where I can say “if you do this, I am gone,” but in situations where I am going to continue to have daily interactions, it is harder. I am still figuring out how I want to respond, as I communicate what is unacceptable, and how I want to handle it if the offense continues.

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    1. I completely indentify with this, you are not alone! I see boundaries as being flexible and things that have to be tweaked whenever they need it. I think daily interactions can be difficult as sometimes you can second guess how you responded before but the fact you are aware fo this is a really great step. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences!

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  10. Thank you for these practical ideas on boundary setting – I found the one on conserving energy especially helpful. Taking time to decide how to respond is a good way of strengthening and maintaining boundaries. Too often, we feel rushed into responding to other people’s needs or demands. Great post!

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    1. I agree — there is often a feeling that we must respond instantly but by giving ourselves time to process what a response from us will do and how/if we wish to give time to something is a great way to create/maintain healthy boundaries. Sometimes you’ve just got to let stuff go! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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