“It’s not possible to have trust without boundaries. But for most of us, boundaries are a real mystery.  Without clear boundaries, it’s not possible to build trust with others- or to earn trust from others.”

Gina Senarighi

The above quote is so true and for many people, including myself, boundaries can be difficult – both to decide what to have and to maintain them with the people in our lives.  This includes all relationships, whether family, friends, work colleagues or clients.

At times, we don’t know what our boundaries are until we get annoyed at a someone. This is usually a sign of a boundary being broken and highlights to the individual that this was important to them. 

Deciding what your boundaries are can be difficult at times.  Questions to ask yourself, may include – what do you feel comfortable discussing in different settings?  What values are important to you?  Are there anything that you want to keep private?  What are you willing to share and in which settings?

For me – I hold the view that other’s stories are not mine to share.  This is very important given my field, but I also hold this in my private life and conversations with those I love. 

Healthy boundaries assist us in respecting and communicating with others.  It shows others what we will tolerate and what behaviour is unacceptable to us.  Learning to have respectful conversations about what we like, and dislike is a way to enrich our relationships with others.  We also need to ensure that our boundary line is maintained and how to stand our ground if others are attempting to pull the walls down.  Learning to say “No” firmly is also an artform that needs to be commenced if others are asking for something we are unwilling or unable to give.  If the word “No” is difficult for you, you could soften the response to “I’m sorry, I am unable to do (INSERT TASK HERE) for you today” or “sorry, that’s not possible”.  For those who are people pleasers, learning to say “no” can be hard and may need to practice this at home prior to the actual conversation.

Boundaries are important and at times we all need to repair or replace boundary lines to keep ourselves and others safe.