Some boundaries are meant to be broken, but those are not the type of boundaries I am talking about here. I am talking about personal boundaries. Setting personal boundaries can be hard because it means saying no at times. And if often means saying no to those you love. It may feel like you are being rude or selfish when in fact it is the opposite. Setting boundaries is a form of self-love. And being aware of when those boundaries are being violated and walking away or choosing a new direction gives you empowerment and ensures those around you understand and respect what you stand for.
All too often I see individuals without self-awareness of their personal boundaries. You hear them complaining about how they feel taken advantage of, used for their position, or hurt by the actions from another. They are unhappy with someone because their personal boundaries have been violated without realizing what occurred. Please keep in mind this is often done unconsciously. No one sets out to intentionally hurt or disrespect another (and if they do, then I highly suggest removing yourself from that relationship/situation (whatever type it may be) immediately). If you don’t honor your personal boundaries, how can you expect anyone else to?
The boundaries you set are personal and you don’t even have to tell anyone you have them. They are the standards you choose to live your life by. They are your business and no one else’s. Some examples of personal boundaries can be honesty, communication, timeliness, kindness, or respect.
One of my personal boundaries is timeliness. Please do not agree to meet me for dinner at 7:15 only to show up at 7:35. I understand things happen, but to be late consistently or without a reason is disrespecting my time, our relationship, the staff serving our table and the restaurant. I value my time, and, in that moment, I am choosing to spend my time with you. But if you don’t care enough to show up at the time which we agreed, then I will not share my time with you in the future. Anyone I choose to spend my time with must respect that and in return I will respect their time.
That leads me into another one of my personal boundaries – Respect. I make an effort to interact with a level of respect for everyone that I encounter. Be it the concierge at the front door, the gate agent at the airport, my best friend, or my Grandma. Sure, there are different levels of respect depending on my relationship with these individuals and the specific circumstances may differ, but at a minimum respect should be given and received. Regardless of your type of interaction or type of relationship with me, if you treat me respectfully, I will always do the same. And I expect respect from everyone who is apart of my life. Because if you don’t respect me, then why do we have the relationship that we do?
Your personal boundaries can and will change as your life circumstances change. And they will likely differ between your personal life and your professional life. But underlying all personal boundaries is the goal of making and keeping yourself a priority. Stay true to your boundaries and as a result, you are staying true to yourself. If you don’t know what your personal boundaries are, I encourage you to take time to think about them. I guarantee within 5-10 minutes, you’ll know exactly what they are and maybe even have a few examples of how you have allowed others to violate them in the past without even recognizing it. Please start loving yourself and be aware enough to not waiver on your personal boundaries from this point on. We all reserve the right to learn, grow and do better. And remember, setting personal boundaries is never selfish.