Boundary bɑʊn·dri, -də·ri/ (n) – An edge or limit to something.

In the age of phrases such as “No Limits”, “Limitless” & “The Sky is the Limit”, I’m aware that boundaries can be a trigger word for some people. No one wants to feel like they’re being held back from something. Everyone wants to know or have an understanding that their lives, relationships and every aspect in between has the opportunity to operate in its full potential. However, boundaries are not a four-letter word. They are there for a reason.

This year, I have really doubled down to understand boundaries because, like the mindset I described above, I just assumed people should “just know” and no one would ever cross a line with me that I didn’t agree with. As I did a survey of my life, relationships, etc., I realized that I had specific boundaries in particular areas, but the other areas where I was rubbed the wrong way the lines were blurred.

Here’s an examples of some my boundaries:

I do not tolerate anyone speaking to me in a rough, loud or disrespectful tone of voice or language. I believe that if you have an issue with me, it doesn’t require any of the extracurriculars. Period. That is my boundary so if anyone starts getting close to that line or crosses it, I’m helping them understand that is not okay and to clarify what works for me.

I do not answer work emails after a certain point in the evening. That time is strictly for my family, myself, whatever. Any email that comes in after a certain time will have to WAIT.

Here are some areas where I had no boundaries:

I do not like taking phone calls in the morning to have negative discussions, yet I found myself just taking any phone call from whomever, leaving that conversation feeling drained and exhausted.

I don’t like being put on three-way phone calls to have discussions, unless it’s something all parties have agreed upon. In my case, it was always in cases where someone would have a beep, say “hold on” and then just link the other person in to consolidate conversations. I hate that.

Although these examples are pretty small, not having boundaries set ultimately have the other party free reign to treat me however they felt. Boundaries keep us safe. It tells us where we can and can’t go. How we are to conduct ourselves in order to respect each other’s spaces.

Think about this: if you were to go for a walk and see a sign on a gate that said “Beware of Dog” with a vicious dog barking as you were walking by, would you walk up to that gate and pet the dog? Would you walk up to the gate? If you are in your right mind, you wouldn’t. Why? They have already established that you should be cautious of the dog. If you cross that line, the owner is not going to take responsibility for what happens to you. That sign is a BOUNDARY! It keeps you and the other neighbors safe.

Same applies here.

Having clear and defined boundaries in your relationships, work and life in general and clearly outlining those boundaries will give you a meter to help you keep others in check when the lines are crossed.

Let’s even take it a step further: I have boundaries for myself! Yes…for me.

2020 has been a year for everyone and one thing that definitely can wear on your nerves, your space, your mind and time is mindless scrolling on social media and the news. What was once a place to enjoy for entertainment and catching up turned out to be too much.

Everyone had an opinion. The news of every waking detail of everything did not help. I realized that I was wasting my time diving deep in ignorant comments about racism or too updated on everything COVID & the government. I had to put parameters on my social media and limit my news intake.

So what does that look like today?

I give myself 15 minutes on Facebook a day. Sometimes I may go over if I’ve shared and I want to interact with people. But unless it’s something in my business groups I need to check, Facebook is out. Instagram is the same. I’m on there to post, share on my stories with my audience and then I leave. Call me crazy, but not knowing did not breed a feeling of FOMO. I learned to deal with it. Now, I spend my time creating, reading books working and spending time with my family.

For the news, I read my news. It gives me a chance to filter everything through my voice and not someone else. I have only one news source I will watch/listen to on YouTube from time to time. However, everything else is shut off. Period. The end.

Having clearly defined boundaries has been such a game changer for me when it comes to how I approach my relationships. Those defined boundaries gives the other party a clear understanding of what I will and will not tolerate and eliminates frustration and offense on my part and I couldn’t be happier!

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