Ep43: How to Build Boundaries—3 Steps

9 minutes

Building boundaries is self-care. Learn how to build boundaries from someone who’s been there in today’s episode of I Can, I Am, I Will.

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Episode Transcript

Note: The podcast is not scripted and is transcribed using software. The transcript is nearly verbatim but may not be exact. It may include edits for ease of reading and/or minor grammatical errors.


Welcome to I Can, I Am, I Will. The podcast design to encourage you and help you build your confidence and self-empowerment. Today we’re going to finish our conversation on boundaries.

This is our 6th episode on boundaries, if you want to learn more about them you can just check out the five previous episodes. And today we’re going to focus on how to build boundaries!

My name is Lyndsey, and together, here we’re going to help you build your confidence and self-empowerment by focusing on topics that helped me build my confidence and self-empowerment.

Boundaries are one of my favorite topics. I love them. They have changed my life. Setting boundaries will make you feel happier, you’re going to have stronger connections, you’re going to feel more assertive in every area of your life, you’re going to feel empowered!

Before we dive in, make sure to hit that like and subscribe button. You can contact me, you can see transcripts and articles, you can also support the podcast by going to camamwill.com.

Establishing Boundaries – 3 Key Items

I would love to hear from you, and I appreciate any support. So when we establish boundaries we want to keep three things in mind. #1 is your mindset towards establishing boundaries. #2 is choosing which boundaries that you want to set—what are we doing, what do I want? #3 is how you are actually going to establish the boundaries.

Step 1 – Have the Right Mindset

So in episode 38 our first episode on boundaries I talked about viewing boundaries as an opportunity to connect with other people. You are allowing other people to connect with you by telling them your boundaries, you’re opening up, you’re letting them know: “this is the best way to connect with me, this is what I will respond positively to.”

That is a mindset I would love for you to have when you’re going into setting boundaries. If you are not used to setting boundaries, or if you do not feel like you are an assertive person, then setting boundaries can be a little scary—I get it.

I’ve been there, establishing boundaries was nerve wracking. However, you can do it. And with that mindset of trying to connect with people and, “I’m showing them how they can connect with me.” With that mindset you will be better able to establish boundaries, and you will remove the anxiety—some angst behind setting the boundaries.

Step 2 – Determine Your Boundaries

The second step would be choosing what boundaries that you want to establish. For me a boundary that I established was people asking me about children. I talked about this yesterday.

So I do not want to have children, and a family member was continually and constantly bringing it up. When she would bring it up it would make me feel uncomfortable. I felt like I was sitting there just listening to her talk about it, how she thought that having children was going to make me happy, and she thought that I was going to be happier, and she thought this, and children and blah blah blah.

She kept going on about it. And I remember just sitting there and feeling annoyed and upset. It really upset me. At that point I was 18 years old working full-time and putting myself through school full-time—a first generation college student.

And every time I see my family member they are constantly talking about children, and ask me when I’m going to have children. When really, I’m so excited, I want to talk about school, and how I’m doing so well in school! And I’m doing something that no one in my family is previously done.

That was a boundary that I had to establish, because it was not contributing to a mental and emotional well-being. And I found myself kind of drowning out, like zoning out, when she was talking. And then also I felt myself kind of being rude when she was talking, because I was getting agitated.

Create Your Boundaries

So think about things in your life, a situation in which someone is saying something to you, talking about a certain topic. See if you feel agitated, if it makes you feel misunderstood, or makes you feel annoyed.

Or think of it like a situation in your life where maybe you have acted in a way that you don’t feel comfortable. Maybe you were aggressive towards someone, it could be because you did not establish a boundary and they kept pushing, and pushing, and pushing, to the point where you finally erupted.

What you can do here is you can choose to establish that boundary sooner. So think about times in your life when people say things. For example, you have a friend that comments on what you eat, or comments on your weight. Or your relative that does that. I have relatives that do that too.

Think about people, any comments that they make, or certain things that they do. Say someone hugs you and you don’t want to be hugged. Or they touch you when you don’t want to be touched. Even if they touch your side when they’re walking past you.

Think of things and choose things that you want to establish boundaries around.

Example of Setting A Boundary

For me, a boundary that I established was asking people to make plans with me at least a day in advance. A lot of my friends, they were making plans with me the same day. I don’t live near them so I would have to get an Uber to see them, or drive and it would be 1/2 hour to 45 minute drive one way. So it’s kind of a pain in my ass.

When they’re asking me last minute it’s like I have to change everything around and figure this out. So I told him, “listen if you want to hang out, please let me know a day ahead of time. I’m not living in the city anymore and it’s a pain in the ass for me to figure out transportation. I really want to see you and it would be easier for me if you would let me know ahead of time.”

And now that’s what they do. I do that now even with friends who live close by. Because I really appreciated setting plans in advanced, and it felt really good to establish that boundary. I have a new friend I met a couple of weeks ago, he lives down the street for me, and last week he asked me to hang out the same night.

I said, “hey I appreciate setting plans a day at least ahead of time.” And he said, “OK.” Then, not kidding you, about 20 minutes ago he messaged me and said, “hey do you wanna meet up tomorrow, or sometime this weekend?” There you go!

Step 3 — Method of Establishing Boundaries

And then that gets us to the how. So you can determine how you want to establish boundaries. With kids and talking about children, when I was talking to family members, I would ask them to please stop. And then I would explain to them that it was upsetting to me, it’s not something I wanted to talk about.

With other people, I would typically just change the topic. So previously with people, like at work, like colleagues or acquaintances or just even random people that you meet at a party people would ask me when I’m going to get married and have children.

Because when you’re a woman, like a young woman, they think that’s what you’re like obsessed with. They want to talk about children and I notice that was something that was annoying me. With my relatives I would talk to them about it and say, “hey I would appreciate if you don’t bring it up.”

But with people, with acquaintances, I literally would just say, “I don’t think I’m having kids,” and then I would change the topic: “So what are you doing?” or “Do you have kids?” Which I usually wouldn’t ask because I don’t really care about your kids— no offense.

But I would just change this topic like, “did you see that TV show, are you watching this?” or you can talk about the weather. I’d rather talk about the weather. And that’s showing me adhering to two different boundaries. My self-boundary of not disclosing information.

Previously I used to disclose a lot of information. Someone would ask me, “when are you having kids.” And I’d be like, “well I don’t know if I ever even want them, and I don’t really have the motherly gene, and I feel like it’s not something that I want, and they’re kind of expensive. So I don’t think it’s something I want to do.”

And I would explain that. But then I set the self-boundary like I explained yesterday, of not disclosing more information than I need to. So I was adhering to that boundary when I tell these people I’m not having children and then change the topic. And that’s another way to establish boundaries.

Living Your Boundaries

You do not have to explicitly ask people. You can show people, because they’re going to get it. They’re going to realize, “OK don’t ask her about kids because she doesn’t respond to that.”

And that’s it. It sounds simple. It will become simple once you start to create boundaries. I don’t want you to give up. Have that mindset that it’s something that you are learning, it is new, but you can, you are, and you will.

You can establish boundaries, you are able to be assertive, and you will establish boundaries that are going to positively impact every single area of your life.

With that we’re going to end with her “I” affirming statements. You can say them with me, you cannot, you can do whatever you want—set that boundar. What makes you feel comfortable?

Are you ready?

I can,

I am,

I will.

Have a great day.

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