12 Boundaries to Implement in your Own Life
The topic of boundaries is one that I am very interested in. It comes up in almost every session with my clients and it is something that I think about very often in my own life as well.
The reason why boundaries can feel so hard to implement is because we have been conditioned (by our culture, our family, the society we grew up in, ...) to think that taking a stand for what WE need is selfish. We think that if we don't make ourselves available 24/7 for our boss, then we're lazy. That if we don't answer the phone every single time our parents call, then we're ungrateful. That if we don't say Yes to every social invitation, then we're boring. And as a result... we burn ourselves out. We violate our own physical, emotional and even financial boundaries over and over again - and we wonder why we feel drained.
The topic of HOW to set boundaries is one that I speak of a lot. For example, you might want to read my article on Non-Violent Communication as a very powerful way to set boundaries in all contexts of our life.
But what I've realised is that a lot of people don't even know *which* boundaries they should be setting. Again, because the concept of boundaries can feel so foreign for a lot of us, it can be difficult to even know where to start...
So, if that's your case, here are 12 examples of boundaries that you might want to think about implementing in different contexts of your life:
IN THE FAMILY CONTEXT
1) Asking your parents to call you before dropping by your house, instead of dropping by unannounced.
2) Being respectful of each other's political opinions. If family dinners tend to get heated around political debates, you might want to clearly ask your uncle/brother/grandmother to stop mocking you or insulting you when you voice your opinion and let them know (kindly but clearly, using the NVC framework) that you will leave the table if you are mocked for your opinions.
3) Asking your family to be respectful of your dietary preferences. I was vegan for 4 years, so this is one that I have had to personally deal with. If you're constantly mocked for your dietary choices or if your family always insists on you eating dessert even though you have chosen not to, it's okay to ask them (kindly but clearly) to stop.
IN THE FRIENDSHIP CONTEXT
4) Asking your friend to not talk about another common friend behind his/her back
5) Asking your friend to stop insisting so much when you say "no" to a social invitation because you feel you need to take some time for yourself - another strong boundary that I have had to implement in my own life!
6) Making a deal with your friend that you will ask for each other's permission before you dump your emotions on each other: it's important to understand that the people in our lives have their own issues to deal with and are not always emotionally available or don't always have the time to listen to us go on and on about our own problems. Before I talk to my friends about what I'm going through, I like simply asking them: "would now be a good time to talk to you about XYZ?" - and I ask that my friends do the same with me.
IN THE PROFESSIONAL CONTEXT
7) Asking your colleagues to respect your personal time: you might want to ask people at work not to call you after X time, or not to call you on your private cell phone unless the matter is truly urgent.
8) Asking your boss to respect your private life: it's okay to choose not to discuss your personal life at work or not to accept Facebook friend requests.
9) Asking your colleagues to respect the time allocated to meetings: if this one colleague keeps going past the 30mn allocated to a meeting because he/she always takes time in the beginning to discuss irrelevant matters, it's okay to tell them that, from now on, you'd like to start talking about the subject matter at the start of the meeting (and perhaps that you're happy to go for lunch with them to discuss other things!)
IN THE ROMANTIC CONTEXT
10) Asking your parter to check in with you before inviting guests at the house
11) Respecting each other's privacy: it's not because you love each other deeply that you are not entitled to your privacy. For example, I leave my journals out in the open at our house but my partner knows that these journals are for my eyes only.
12) Respecting each other's space: for example, my partner and I like to leave each other alone when one of us is taking a bath. It is understood that that's our solo self-care time and we keep any burning questions we need to ask for after the person is out of the tub!
Now remember, boundaries need to make sense for YOU. If you don't mind at all that your boss calls you on your private phone or that your partner comes into the bathroom when you are taking a bath, then you don't have to implement these boundaries! Boundaries are deeply personal and you have to implement the ones that make sense for you. These are all just examples :)
I hope that this helps and, as always, please share your thoughts with me! I'd love to know which of these boundaries you'll implement in your own life or if you have any others! If anything comes to mind, simply shoot me an email at: email@example.com