Establishing and Exercising Boundaries

Happy New Year, it is time to “Marie Kondo” a few things.  We all have a few things we need to clean up, throw out or condense.  The New Year means setting new goals, removing old goals and reflecting on accomplishments.  Let’s start off small, boundaries.  Don’t click off of the page just yet … boundaries are good.  They help us to conduct a self “check-in” and ensure things are as they should be for our mental health.  Establishing boundaries assist with stress management, self-value, and creativity.  Whether we want to admit it or not, boundaries are healthy. 

Boundaries do not have to be long and drawn out.  If you have never thought about boundaries, they are pretty simple to implement – be swift and simple, i.e. “I will not accept friend requests from people I do not know on social media.”  Simple and moderate.  It is necessary to be specific, “I will not accept a position for a lower salary than my asking baseline.” Super simple, yet specific.  Make sure your boundaries are also positive and represent your values, “If I am approached by a random person who has little respect for my person, I will choose to remove myself from the situation – I deserve to be respected at all times because I respect others.”  Consequences are a must if a boundary is crossed – give yourself permission to speak up and say something.  Address it, and make sure to state how and when the boundary was crossed.  Consistency and communication are keys to boundaries.  Communicate your boundaries clearly and ensure you are understood by the person(s) involved.  Ensure you inform the person(s) how their lack of respect for your boundaries have caused you to invoke consequences.  This assures there is no negotiations for your boundaries and your expectations are clear.  Make sure to be open if they would like to discuss their boundaries.  You may learn something about their character.  Remember, you have a right to establish and exercise your healthy, positive and affirmative boundaries.  Have a great year, and remember – you have a right to happiness, health, and wholeness.

Reflect and keep these simple boundary indicators as a reference to establish and exercise your own boundaries in your professional and personal endeavors.  Happy New Year.    

1. Be Moderate

2. Be specific

3. Be positive – Virtues-based

4. Have specific, relevant consequences

5. Make consequences educative

6. Be consistent

7. Communicate rules clearly

8. Be sure consequences are understood 

9. Make bottom line rules non-negotiable 1

10. Make expectations clear

Reference: Guidelines for Establishing Clear Boundaries. (2007). Retrieved from https://www.virtuesproject.com/Pdf/ClearBoundaries.pdf

Dr. Jenice Armstead