Tag Archives: setting boundaries

Why Setting Boundaries in Relationships Are So Important

If you would’ve asked me 5 years ago what boundaries were I would’ve had no idea how to answer you.

Boundaries were a complete foreign concept to me.

It wasn’t until I had moved to South Korea, where I was in the midst of all kinds of relationship problems, that a friend had introduced the concept to me by mailing me a copy of the book, “Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin” by Anne Katharine.

That friend and that book started the beginning of an entirely new way of living and being in the world, which, ultimately, transformed the way I’ve approached relationships.  My relationships with guys I dated, friends, family, co-workers, peers, clients or customers, and even people I would pass on the street began to change.

I no longer felt susceptible to all of the energies of others going on around me.

I was no longer at the complete will of what other people wanted or needed from me.  Instead, I was finally able to be in-line with what I needed.  I was now able to live in-tune with my own desires, needs, and feelings.

I was finally able to tune into myself and honor myself, rather than to live in a way that involved constantly giving and accommodating to other people’s needs and wants.  I also finally stopped getting caught up in other people’s problems so much that I’d treat them as my own.  I learned how to start saying “no” to things that I really didn’t want to do, and saying “yes” to things that I really did want to do.

As a result, I managed to stop going out and drinking so much.  I stopped being around people who always wanted things from me but hardly gave back what I had given them.  I stopped dating guys who expressed no desire to have the kind of relationship I wanted simply because I was attracted to them.  I stopped experiencing so much gossip and drama in my personal relationships.

Instead, I started becoming more in tune with the real me.  I started traveling and visiting places that I truly wanted to go to (even if that did mean going by myself).  I started taking up hobbies and activities that I always wanted to do that I never made time for before.  I started eating better foods for my system, which significantly helped improve some health problems I had been experiencing.

Because I started setting boundaries in my relationships with others, I was able to start feeling more in control of myself and my own life.  In fact, I was able to feel more confident in myself and empowered.

And because of learning this one relational tool, I was also able to find myself in much more fulfilling and loving relationships.  I’ve developed friendships where we have enough similar interests to where I can truly be myself and there is mutual support.  I’ve also found myself in a romantic relationship where there is so much mutual loyalty, respect, and love that having differing views and beliefs on things is hardly a deal-breaker.

Do other people’s emotions and experiences still affect me?  Certainly — but it’s hardly as much as it used to.  I’ve learned (and continue to learn) how to regulate myself so things that other people’s “stuff” doesn’t nearly impact me as much as it once did.  I know what I am in control of myself and my experience and that I’m not in control of other people and their experiences — and that makes all the difference.

So why are setting boundaries in relationships so important?

It’s important because it separates our experience from other people’s experiences.

It’s important because it helps us become more aware of our own experience so that we can fully own and be in control of ourselves.

It’s important because it allows us to take better care of ourselves — emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually — so we feel so much less stressed, overwhelmed, and out of balance.


Click to Tweet: Boundaries allow us to take better care of ourselves – emotionally, mentally, physically, & spiritually. via @jenilyn8705

And, most importantly, boundaries allow us to truly become more in-line with ourselves.  The more we are true to ourselves, then the more we allow others to truly see and experience us for who we truly are.  And this, my friends, opens the door to real, true, and genuine love.

Are setting boundaries a totally foreign concept to you?  Do you have trouble feeling overwhelmed by other people’s “stuff”?  Do you have difficulty taking care of yourself?  Are you ready to start setting boundaries in your relationships so that you can really start creating loving relationships in your life?

If so, then I’m here to help! 🙂

I’m currently accepting a limited number of new coaching clients.  To learn more about my coaching practice and to sign up for your Free 30-Minute Consultation to discuss the possibility of coaching with me, then click here.

5 Ways to Stop Attracting Toxic People

A while back I found myself in a conversation with someone about the topic of being around toxic people — or, as I prefer to call it, people who exhibit toxic behaviors.  This conversation led me into a place of reflection where I thought back to what my life had been like a few years ago when I had absolutely no concept of boundaries nor any idea what toxic relationships were.

Up until a few years ago, I was so much most susceptible to people’s toxic behaviors.  I would often deal with people who were envious or jealous of me in some way, who were influencing me to feel guilty for doing something for myself, who were making judgmental or critical remarks towards me, and who were, overall, just downright negative.

Despite this being such a struggle growing up, I realized that at this point in my life I don’t experience many toxic behaviors from others.  It is as if I simply announced to the universe “I am done with toxic people!  I am no longer going to have any toxic behavior in my life!” — and so it happened.

Though simply making that announcement would be oh-so-awesome and oh-so-easy, it definitely wasn’t that simple.  There were solid action steps that I had to make along the way.  So here are the methods I used that will hopefully help you to stop attracting toxic people in your life as well:

Consistently set boundaries with anyone and everyone who exhibits a toxic behavior.

Every time the someone says something critical or negative towards you, tries to manipulate you in some way, or seems to be envious or jealous of you rather than supportive, then set a verbal boundary to let them know that you will not tolerate their behavior.

So for instance, if you’re out singing karaoke one night and your friend comes up to you and makes comment like “You were totally off key” then immediately respond by saying something like “I don’t appreciate your comment” or “Please don’t talk to me that way”.  If they continue to make negative remarks towards you despite your comment then reinstate the boundary again and tell them the consequences, such as: “Please don’t talk to me in that way.  If you continue to talk to me like this when I will leave.”

This can be incredibly challenging at first (trust me, I know!), but it has to be done in order for any change to happen.

Try to avoid feeding them any of your energy.

If a person is exhibiting toxic behavior, the person may very well not want to respect your boundary initially.  They may try to push you to a point of starting an argument or manipulate in a way so that you feel guilty enough to give in and do what they want you to do.

It is incredibly important to not give the person any of your energy when and if this happens.  Meaning, try to avoid giving their actions or words any time or attention.  This is important because, if they are continuing to try to push your buttons, it’s because they want you to crack.  They want you to lose your composure and argue with them because then they can get their way.

So when setting boundaries or making any confrontations, try to appear as calm as possible.  If you have any emotions that you need to deal with later on after the confrontation (which is very likely), then deal with it later through a relaxation method on your own or with someone who can safely support you, like a trusted friend or a therapist.

Create distance from people who tend to be toxic.

One very effective way to get toxic people out of your life is to, simply stop spending so much time around them.  Perhaps this means to minimize conversation with the person or to stop spending as much time with one another.

By creating distance from the other person, we are sending the unspoken message that their behaviors are not something that we not to be around.  Depending on your relationship with the person, this can be extremely difficult.  Keep in mind that just because you are no longer talking with the person as much as you were, it doesn’t mean that the relationship is “over”.  It simply means that the relationship is moving on to a new phase.  The two of you may become close again someday and it will be even better because of this phase — and, on the flip side, it may remain a bit distant.  We can never really fully know.

Recognize your own toxic behaviors.

This is incredibly important.  If we wish to be respected by others, then we have to be willing to be completely honest with ourselves by recognizing our own toxic behaviors and to actively change those behaviors.

For some of us, these toxic behaviors may be obvious while, for others, it may be more challenging.  If it is relatively challenging, then ask yourself: “How do I try to control other people in my life?  Do I struggle to except the decisions that others make?  Do I try to fix other people’s problems for them?  Do I, in some way, try to force them to do something that they don’t really want to do?”

Struggling with a need to control others is what many (myself included) define as codependency.  All of us struggle with this need to control others in some way to some extent throughout our lives.  It isn’t really a “I’m codependent” or “I’m not codependent”.  Rather, it is a matter of looking at it on a continuum or scale.  So for instance, if we were to look at ourselves on a scale of 1 to 50, with 50 being very codependent and 1 being very little where would you rate yourself?

Trust that things will get better.

When we’re in the midst of stress in trying to set boundaries with the people with toxic behaviors in our lives, it can be very difficult to see the “light at the end of the tunnel”.  We may find ourselves wondering why we decided to even bothered to start setting boundaries in the first place because it is causing so much extra stress in our lives.

I can assure you — it does get better!  So keep on doing it and, eventually, you will eventually find yourself in this comfortable place that is virtually free of toxic behaviors.


Take action now!

Reflect upon you current relationships and ask yourself: Is there anyone in my life right now who tends to exhibit toxic behavior?  What can I say to them next time they make a remark to me that I don’t appreciate?  What other actions can I take in my life to cleanse my relationships of toxicity?

6 Steps to Setting Boundaries in Relationships

One of the most vital components to creating a happy, healthy, and fulfilling relationship is to become a master at setting boundaries in relationships.  In simple terms, boundaries are the thing that keeps us separate from the other person.  The boundaries are what set the place between where you end and the other person begins.

Depending on your upbringing and past experience, setting boundaries in relationships may be easier or more difficult for you.  Often if we have had a parent, guardian, or other people in our life during childhood who didn’t know how to set boundaries with us then we have to learn how to set boundaries in relationships.  We have to learn when it is the proper time to set a boundary and how to find a balance between setting boundaries that are either too weak or too strong.

Though learning how to properly and effectively set boundaries can be a long process, here are basic steps that you can begin following today in order to begin setting boundaries in your relationships.

Step 1:  Recognize and acknowledge your own feelings.

In order to set effective boundaries, we must be able to know what it is that we are feeling.  Did this person’s critical comment make me feel bad?  Is this person making me feel overwhelmed or drained?

Being able to do this is absolutely vital because by being able to check in with ourselves and recognize how we are feeling then we have separated ourselves from the other person.

The problem with many of us who have weak or leaky boundaries in relationships is that we become so enmeshed, so encompassed by the other person’s “stuff” that we have no idea that it is that we ourselves are feeling.  By taking the time to break away, reflect, and really check in with yourself, you are then consciously making the distinct difference between yourself and the other person.

boundaries in relationships

Step 2:  Recognize how your boundaries have been crossed.

So now looking at your feelings, stop and recognize how your boundary has been crossed.  Is this person always asking to borrow money from you but they never pay you back?  Do you find yourself always answering your friend’s text or phone calls late at night and it’s causing you to lose sleep?  Is this person always making critical comments towards you?  Does this person always seem to have problems that you always have to help them with?  Do you have a client who always shows up late for your appointments?

Step 3:  Recognize how you need to set your boundary.

Once you can recognize what it is that is causing you to feel overwhelmed, drained, or, simply, bad, then decide what it is that you need to say to this person.

So if the person is always borrowing money from you but never paying you back, then you may need to tell them that you are not letting them borrow anything else until you get paid back what you’ve already given.

If it’s a friend who is always texting or calling you late at night when you’re trying to sleep, then maybe you want to tell them that you can’t talk now cause you need to sleep — or you can stop answering all together.

If someone keeps making critical comments towards you, then you can tell them that you don’t appreciate being spoken to that way and that you will not accept it.

If it’s a friend who seems to always have problems for you to listen to and it’s draining your energy, then its probably time to be sure you say something like “Hey, I know you’re in pain, but I have some of my own stuff to do right now.”

Step 4:  Get grounded.

There are two things that often happen when boundaries in relationships have been weak:  1.  There is backlash from the other person and 2.  You feel guilty.

For this reason, it is extremely important to get grounded within yourself.  We can do this by simply taking the time to do some breath work, meditation, or to tune in with your body.  A grounding meditation by envisioning a cord going down from your root chakra and deep into the earth can also be beneficial.

Also, remember that your emotions are valid.  For that reason, you are not wrong for setting your boundary.  In fact, you are taking care of yourself, which is something that we should all do above all else.

Step 5: Voice it!

Make you boundary known communicate it to the other person.  Keep in mind that if there is any backlash from the other person or if they want to argue, then it may be best to simply just walk away and focus on taking care of yourself.

The reality is that if there is a backlash then the other person isn’t respecting your boundary.  If we acknowledge their disrespect by arguing with them, then we are giving them what they want: A weakness of our boundary.  By acknowledging and focusing on their backlash we are then subconsciously telling them that we are not grounded within ourselves and confident in what we want.

Step 6:  Take care of yourself.

If setting the boundary brought up any backlash or feelings of guilt, then be sure to take care of yourself.  Go for a walk, exercise, be out in nature, etc.  Do something to help yourself get re-centered and don’t spend too much (or any) energy focusing on what happened.

So even if someone else wants to talk about the “drama” of what happened, then just don’t even go there.  Tell them you don’t want to talk about it, because when we do that we keep the stress and fear-based thinking alive.

Take action now!

Where do you need to set boundaries in your relationships?  Have you been saying yes when you need to say no?  In what areas of your life have you been feeling drained?  Share below!

Confidently Know When to Say No

This past week I’ve found myself crammed for time. Between dealing with finals for graduate school, working on my own business projects, doing work for other people, preparing to spend a month back home and dealing with some relational and emotional issues, it’s been fairly stressful.

Yet, despite everything that I had to do, that certainly didn’t discourage me from remaining optimistic and, generally, confident about getting everything done. So I agreed to help someone else on one of their own business projects for some extra cash.

One day, during this crammed week I came in to do this work with this hope to hurry up and get this work done so that I could focus on all of my other obligations.

One hour of work quickly turn into two hours and I was beginning to find myself restless, anxious, and hoping to get to work on other things. At that very moment I was instructed to work even more – and I simply went along with it.

Moments later I quickly realized that I just made an extremely common people pleaser mistake: I ignored my feelings, said “yes” when I wanted to say “no”, and had begun to feel resentful.  This is the exact place that we want to avoid getting to!

For us people pleasers, many of us find ourselves saying “yes” while deep down inside we are screaming “no”. We just don’t want to tell the other person for fear of disappointing them.

The key to confidently knowing when it’s really time to say “no” is to really be in-tune with your own emotions.

Our emotions can be a very accurate gauge in deciphering whether we should do something or not. So in that very moment when we start to feel drained or angry because the other person is telling us to do something, that is the time to say “no”.

Don’t put it off. Don’t think about it. Don’t allow yourself to build up anger and resentment of the other person. Simply just say “no” in the exact moment when you recognize that you’re emotionally worn out and overextending yourself.

It’s as simple as that.

say no

And you know the irony of it all? Many of us avoid saying “no” because we fear that we will disappoint the other person. But I have a quick reality check for you: More often than not, the other person will accept and respect your request. They won’t be disappointed because they respect you as a person.

If there is a circumstance that arises where the person doesn’t respect your request for whatever reason, then it’s a sign of toxic behavior. You can learn more about what toxic behavior is by checking out my article Toxic Behavior Warning Signs. If you say no and the other person tries to use their toxic behavior to emotionally manipulate or guilt trip you, then check out my article How to Survive a Guilt Trip.

Nobody else has more power over us than ourselves. We are in control. We are responsible and in charge over what happens in our own lives. We just need to honor and be true to our own emotions 100%. Nobody else can or should do that for us.

Set the boundary and be true and honest with yourself. You’ll feel more balanced, fulfilled, and happy in the long run.

Start Confidently Saying “No”!

Get out a journal and think of a time when you said “yes” when you know you should’ve said “no”.  Write down any thoughts about that experience that come to your mind.  What was the situation?  Who was involved?  Why do you think it was difficult for you to say “no”?

Once you have a fairly good recollection of the situation, then answer the following questions for yourself: How did I feel after saying “yes” when I wanted to say “no”?  How did I feel toward the other people involved?  If I could do it over again, at what point should I have said “no”?