How to Set Boundaries That Serve You

August 15, 2022

pictured: business woman with hand up, creating boundary between her and man with his arms crossedDo you struggle with setting boundaries with people you work with, or with those in your personal life? Do you allow others to treat you in ways that make you feel bad about yourself?

Have you ever wondered why it happens, or why you allow it? What stops you from speaking up clearly and confidently when someone crosses your boundaries?

Before we get to that, let’s define what we mean by boundaries.

Boundaries are established guidelines or rules of conduct around behaviors with people we have a relationship with, both in the workplace and in our personal lives.

We often think of boundaries as a wall that we set up between ourselves and others, but really our boundaries are about the passageway through the wall. It’s about what we allow, and it enables communication, connection, and stronger relationships based on respect.

Boundaries define how you want to be treated by others, with a focus on respect, kindness, compassion, empathy, and understanding.

Boundaries are also about self-worth. When you set a boundary, you are expressing your internal belief of feeling worthy of love and belonging. This is about the value you place on yourself. It is about making decisions that are right for you and not about pleasing others.

The best time to set boundaries is right now. Use the process below to begin identifying them before you’re in the situation where you need them, so that you already know what they are.

Grab a piece of paper and a pen, and answer these questions:

  • Think of one or two recent situations where you were treated poorly. Write out some of the details… What happened? How did it make you feel? For how long after did you ruminate about what happened? What other impact did it have on you?
  • Write down why you didn’t speak up either during the situation or after? What do you think they would have said or thought if you spoke up?
  • Next, write down how you would like to have reacted. What do you wish you said or done? How do you want to feel about it?
  • Drawing from what you’ve written, create a list of three ways you want to be treated in the future. Be as specific as possible.

Identifying how you want to be treated is the first step in creating boundaries with others. In addition to delineating how others will treat you, it helps you get clear on how you want to treat the people in your life as well!

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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