Your time & your energy are two things in life that are never coming back. Think about that for a second.
Listen, I don’t say this to freak you out, but rather to inspire you to protect, safeguard & shelter these things due to their importance, to not only your personal growth but your self-confidence & self-worth.
The best way you can do this is through strict, non-negotiable personal boundaries. They offer agency over your physical space, body, feelings, & of course, your time & energy.
Sure, navigating & implementing personal boundaries can be challenging, but they are essential for our health & well-being.
Boundaries Are Not Selfish!
Consider boundaries as the personal rule book that you get to create. Your boundaries are “rules” or limits that you set with yourself & with others that state your needs, what you are comfortable with & what you have energy for.
Boundaries govern how you expect to be treated & how you will react to situations (that are within your control). They also highlight what you simply will not tolerate.
There are many areas in life you can set boundaries, including:
- Personal space & how we spend our time
- Sexuality & sexual activity
- Culture, religion & ethics
- Emotions & thoughts
- Health care & health
- Body confidence
- Social media
- Family time
You can create boundaries with yourself, at work, school, in relationships, and with family.
The thing with boundaries (and with creating your very own rulebook) is that you are in complete control. This lends itself to flexibility, adjusting the boundaries & even radius depending on the person/situation while being kind to yourself through any changes you need.
Having a boundary shouts to the world “I am making myself a priority!” and doing so, can lead to improved self-confidence & personal growth.
Boundaries, Growth & Confidence
Boundaries & self-esteem are closely coupled. When sticking to them, personal boundaries will help boost your self-esteem while increasing your sense of self.
Plus, they can make life much more enjoyable & less stressful.
If you are struggling to assert your boundaries or have very loose boundaries you may:
- Be overscheduled, overbooked & way too busy, by agreeing to things/activities that you don’t actually want to do, that don’t match your priorities or values, or that you don’t have the time, energy or even finances to do
- Struggle to stand up for yourself when you are being treated poorly
- Be scared of rejection & criticism
- Feel guilty when saying no
- Dislike asking for help from anyone
- Get swept up in other people’s dramas and problems
- Accept responsibility for things you did not do
- Take everything personally & overthink everything
- Distance yourself from intimacy or developing close friendships
- Have a tendency to overshare, especially with new people in your life
- Feel responsible for fixing other people’s problems or “saving” others
If you found yourself nodding along to those examples, you are 100% capable of turning this around & creating stronger boundaries that are assertive & clear.
Healthy boundaries are not limiting. Oppositely, they allow you to show up more assertively & authentically in line with your values & morals with courage & integrity.
How To Set Healthy Boundaries
When creating boundaries, precision, and being as concise as possible with communication increases people’s understanding & respect for them. Of course, you will probably need to tell people more than once, but you should never find yourself saying “sorry” for your boundaries or divulging the reason behind them.
To get to the root of your boundary needs, spend time reflecting/journaling on the following:
- What drains my energy?
- What fulfils me the most?
- What could I say yes more to?
- Where do I experience stress and dread?
- When was the last time I stood up for myself?
- Who/what makes me feel valued?
- What experiences make me feel seen?
- What is something that irritates me?
- What is an example of a boundary I respect?
- Do I make time for myself?
This exercise will help you to navigate what it’s you need more of & what you need less of. If you want to practice more Journal Prompts for Self Growth, click here!
Then, it’s all about asserting yourself.
Clearly Communicating Your Boundaries For growth & confidence
Here are some examples of healthy boundaries that I hope you can use.
“I am really tired and I need to go home now.”
“I am not a big hugger, I am happy to give you a handshake.”
“I like to enjoy (specify food) but that comment you made about my food doesn’t allow me to do so. Please stop.”
“I do not drink alcohol. Can I have some water please?”
“I can only stay for one hour.”
“If you’re going to be late, or if you get stuck in traffic, please let me know ahead of time.”
“I dont have the capacity for a chat today. Let’s arrange another time.”
“I am so sorry you are going through such a difficult time. However, I am not in a place right now to take in all of this information. Can we please come back to this conversation?”
“I am having a hard time and really need to talk. Are you available?”
Boundaries for the holiday season
“I get super tired when I host (insert holiday) parties because I end up doing most of the work. Would you be able to help me organize this year’s party?”
“How can we stop inappropriate comments from being said at the (upcoming event)?”
“I want to enjoy my time with you, but all these comments about my body make it hard for me to do that. Please, let’s take body talk off the table.”
You can read additional boundary-setting scripts here.
You’ve Got This
Through firm personal boundaries, you will begin to see your confidence levels increase, as you will feel self-assured and confident going into tough situations. Every time we stick to a boundary & hold ourselves accountable, we build more self-esteem. Every ‘no’ is a little moment of self-care.
Have you noticed how boundaries have improved your self-esteem? How?