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Group Discussion: How Do You Create Boundaries?

Group Discussion: How Do You Create Boundaries?

We are launching a new monthly series this month called ‘Group Discussion.”  Our readers are our greatest resource. So to tap into the wealth of information and life experiences you have, we want to ask you to participate in robust, timely and thoughtful conversations each month. 

Lately, I’ve been analyzing relationships and thinking about the importance of creating boundaries. I turn 40 towards the end of the year, and as I’ve grown, I’ve learned so much about myself. For me, boundaries are essential to maintaining my mental health. But I’m not great at enforcing them.

Group Discussion: How Do you Create Boundaries?

My challenge is my need to please, which thankfully is slowly losing its hold over me. But it’s still important to me to be considered friendly and helpful. 

For this first post, we want to know how you manage to create healthy boundaries. Whether it’s at work or with family and friends, having clear boundaries is empowering, gives you control in your life and is the basis of a strong relationship.

So our questions to you today:

How have you created healthy boundaries in your life?

When did you know you needed to put them in place?

Finally, how can we teach our daughters and younger women to implement them earlier in life, and not wait until they are staring down the barrel of a big birthday?

We’ll chat back and forth in the comments and edit this post with your best take aways over time. 


Group Discussion: How Do You Create Boundaries?

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Friday 17th of May 2019

To define boundaries, it is important to realize that no other adult has the right to impose their expectations or desires on you. You have the right to expect to be treated with respect and consideration. No one has the right to dominate your time or your energy with endless talking or complaining. No one has the right to try to guilt you into any action that you do not feel lead to do on your own. No one has the right to impose their beliefs, religion or politics on you.

If you accept money or financial support from someone, it will be nearly impossible to maintain any boundary, so be self sufficient.

This realization that you are self sufficient financially and emotionally, will give you the strongest foundation for maintaining boundaries. Your life is your own, your decisions and the consequences of your decisions, are yours. Be a person of integrity. Always be truthful. Keep your word. Do your best at work. These values will give your life a framework that will enable you to draw and keep healthy boundaries.

Megan Kristel

Saturday 18th of May 2019

This is so beautiful Rebecca, thank you! Your words are so true, especially about being financially self-sufficient. Many people assume women "don't have to work" if their husband is successful - which is twisted in so many ways. I'm always stunned when I'm on the receiving end of that assumption because aside from it being presumptions and sexist, the person never takes into account my choice and sincere belief that self-sufficiency is a crucial component to equality and as you so perfectly articulated it: boundaries.

Lori Berryman

Thursday 9th of May 2019

I just turned 45 and this past year has been a trying one with too many responsibilities...most of which were expected but not really my own and I have finally burned out from it all. My mom gave me one of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given. She said "you are the most important person in your life and you can't take care of anyone or anything until you take care of yourself" . And she is so right. How can we expect to help others if we are too tired to keep our own lives afloat. I try to keep her words in the back of my mind each day. #youfirst

Lori Rariden

Thursday 9th of May 2019

All my life I cared too much what others, especially my mother, felt and thought. I struggled with this for years. After huge upset, and the usual hours of crying, I had an epiphany and a firm resolution. I told Mom that I was done: done crying, done being upset, done upsetting my family. I was a grown woman and I refused to react emotionally to what she said to me, to my husband and to my grown children. I wish I could say that my mom stopped being thoughtless and mean in her comments. She did not. However, I took responsiblity for my emotional reaction, and when she was hurtful on the phone I would say a pleasant goodbye and hang up. In person, I gave a mild response to her comments, often changing the subject. Sometimes I would leave the room. In other words I became an adult.

I was over fifty years old when this happened--it's never too late to become mature and even happy in spite of an uncomfortable situation.


Wednesday 8th of May 2019

Megan, another beautiful, helpful initiative. Thank you for bringing this idea to life!

- How have you created healthy boundaries in your life? By moving from "taking it personally" to taking personal responsibility for what I want to change and see happen in my life.

-When did you know you needed to put them in place? When I start avoiding people/situations to avoid the interaction with them. If - for any reason - that interaction is inevitable (colleagues, family members...), I know I need boundaries.

-Finally, how can we teach our daughters and younger women to implement them earlier in life, and not wait until they are staring down the barrel of a big birthday? I have small kids, so for now it is just being aware & setting boundaries for myself. Doing the work for myself will make me more aware and my ears will more easily pick up on potential boundaries issues my daughter will face. With practice, my "boundaries muscle" will be stronger and it will help me in my role as a mother too.

Donna Dreis

Wednesday 8th of May 2019

I grew up lacking self confidence. I made a decision after I left home that I was going to change. It’s never easy saying “no”, but it’s gotten easier for me. Years ago, I read in a book that no one can say no for you but you. This is a principle I’m trying to instill in my adult daughter, but she has demands on her life that I never had. So instead of “telling” her what to do, I share various viewpoints to help her identify what might work for her. It’s so much easier as I age to know that I don’t have to please others, just my God, my self, my family. Because I’ve been reading more about this lately, I’m trying to identify the things on which I spend my time, the things that “spark joy”.

On a side note, I’ve been saying lots of extra “no’s” lately to give myself time to grieve the loss of my mother. And I really don’t care if others understand or not. I’m deciding what’s right for me right now. I think we owe it to ourselves to be kind to ourselves whenever we experience any type of traumatic experience. I’m trusting that I will know when I’m ready to say “yes” again.

For now, I’m setting my boundaries and perhaps being a bit selfish. But how can I help others if I don’t take care of myself.

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