Hosted by Jodi Hildebrandt.
This episode is part of a two-part series. Listen to part two >
In this two-part series, Jodi explains boundaries in great detail. She answers questions including:
- What are boundaries?
- Why do we need boundaries?
- What is the purpose of boundaries?
- How do I make boundaries?
- How do I share and hold boundaries?
- How do I model boundaries for others?
Jodi also explains why we ALL need boundaries both within ourselves and in our relationships with others. The Truth is, boundaries communicate (and translate into / become) deep feelings of self-love and honor for oneself. And honor and love for self very naturally leads to love and honor for others.
Episode 82: Boundaries—The Greatest Sign of Self-Love & Honor (Part 1 of 2)
Welcome to ConneXions Classroom Podcast. We are so excited to introduce to you the opportunity for you to join us in a classroom setting where you will be taught the principles of connection. For those of you who have already joined us on the podcasts, and for those for you who have not, you are now ready to step into an extensive, hands-on, all-star classroom experience to better understand why you are experiencing and interpreting life the way that you do.
You will be introduced to the foundational principles of personal integrity, which are: how to live impeccable honesty, rigorous personal responsibility, humility, vulnerability, openness, willingness, transparency, and boundaries.
This is a 12-week intensive course that consists of meeting one time a week for two hours. You will be given six workbooks. In each workbook, instruction will be given to you on core concepts of how to live your life from a position of emotional honesty, Reality, Truth, boundaries, validation, being able to recognize your distortions, and how choice plays a central role in all of your experiences and emotional outcomes.
Some of the concepts covered inside of the classroom include: what validation and vulnerability are and how to animate those principles your life; how to live in Truth rather than distortion; how to recognize your distraction and your controlling behavior in your relationships; and how to live a life of peace rather than pain. Powerful concepts that change lives, beginning with yours.
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So, now it’s your turn to come and participate. This classroom experience will change the way you interact with yourself and others in powerful ways, giving you the tools and emotional sophistication to connect deeply inside yourself and invite other in your life to do the same.
Come and experience connection. Go to www.connexionsclassroom.com, and hit the “Go to Academy” button and sign up. I look forward to meeting you and connecting.
Welcome and thank you for joining me today. I’m Jodi Hildebrandt at ConneXions Classroom Podcast. Today on September 3rd 2016, we are going to be discussing the concept of boundaries.
As far as I’m concerned, boundaries are the greatest sign of self-love and honor and respect, that we as individuals can choose for ourselves. We’re going to talk about what boundaries are, why we need them, what is their purpose, how to make boundaries, and then how to share them with others and hold them for ourselves, how to honor those boundaries that others set for themselves, and how boundaries translate into this indicator of deep feeling of love and care and honor for oneself.
And also, how to then model your boundaries for others, because all of us are under an obligation to hold our own boundaries—every one of us. And so, when a child gets born into the world, it is our responsibility as the people inside their environment to educate them about the need of self-love and self-respect, and to teach them how to create their own boundaries for themselves, so that they can honor and value and protect themselves, and they can also teach other people about what they think, how they feel, what they need, what they want, what their expectations are. That is the power that boundaries invites all of us into—that kind of empowerment of self.
So, boundaries—the greatest sign of self-love and honor and respect. So, when people talk about self-care and self-love, usually we think about love yourself and ask for a raise at work. Or because I love myself, I don’t allow my boyfriend or my girlfriend to mistreat me. Because I care about myself, I keep my work and personal space clean and organized. Because I value me, I take care of myself physically, I eat, I sleep, I groom myself appropriately. I become educated as to how to take care of myself financially and socially. These are all things that kind of come to mind when you think of honoring yourself, valuing yourself, respecting yourself.
Yet, all of those things that I just mentioned, all those common indicators listed above that I just read to you, are indicators of self-love, and every one of those issues, from asking for a raise at work to taking care of yourself physically, sleeping appropriately, eating appropriately, making sure your personal workspace is clean, not letting people mistreat you—all of those indicators of self-love would require—require, you’ve got to understand that, very important—the ability, specifically the ability for you to know about, understand, and create and hold boundaries for yourself.
So, all of those things and thousands more are the evidence that someone is able to hold boundaries for themselves. Boundaries are the single most important and critical skill that anyone must have if they’re going to engage in a lifestyle of loving, whether they’re loving self, they’re loving God, they’re loving others, you must have an understanding and a consciousness of boundaries.
If I am claiming to know how to love, and I am asserting that I am a loving person, the assumption then, is that I have and I will maintain boundaries within myself. Boundaries are used by those people who want to create a relationship or lifestyle of connection beginning with God or a Higher Power, and with self. So, in order to be able to have a relationship with somebody else, I have to be in a healthy, connected, boundaried relationship with myself and my Higher Power first. Myself and my God first. And then, quite naturally I will reach out and want to connect with others.
Boundaries, creating and holding boundaries, is the evidence that you honor and respect and know and understand you in all forms. All forms: spiritually, socially, financially, sexually, emotionally, physically. And you desire to stay connected with yourself, and thus others will receive the secondary benefit of your boundaried lifestyle.
So, anyone who’s in a relationship with you will be the beneficiary of you boundarying yourself. So boundary-setting or boundary-holding begins with you. It doesn’t begin with another person; it starts with you. Everything starts with you. Being responsible starts with you. Being honest starts with you. Everything is about you. You and your willingness to live a lifestyle where there’s integrity. And inside integrity are boundaries.
Boundary creation is about you, and only you, for the purpose of doing two specific things or having two specific outcomes. The first one: the reason why you create boundaries is that you’re sharing you with another person. So, I make boundaries for myself, so that I then can share me with someone else. I invite or create intimacy and connection. So, that’s one of the reasons I create boundaries, is I’m sharing me with somebody else. So, it’s like for example, when someone puts some carrots on my plate, I say, “I’m allergic to those, I can’t eat those.”
That’s a boundary, you’re telling someone about you. Or you might say that you have a propensity to get bloody noses and so you’re not able to go to high altitudes because your nose will start bleeding. Or you have a boundary that says, “I don’t really want to watch frightening movies because I don’t like the way I feel when I become afraid, so I opt out of watching any kind of frightening movie.”
These are all boundaries that you are then sharing with another person. They tell about you. They tell about what you think, and you feel, and you fear, and you need and you want. And your expectations. And the things that you value and you believe in. The things you feel. That’s what your boundaries are about, and they’re being shared with another individual to teach them about you.
The other specific reason that you would create boundaries is to explain and share you to educate another about your beliefs, your values, your thoughts, your perceptions, your feelings, your standards. Anything and everything about you, which in the process allows you to know yourself and better appreciate you.
So, I make boundaries so that I can understand myself, and then I share with another. So, those are the reasons why I have boundaries. I need to know about me first, in order to then share with you about me second. If I don’t ever learn about me, then I cannot share me with you. So, my lifetime is dedicated to understanding myself. I have however much time I have on the planet—none of us knows—however, that time is meant to have me understand myself. So, I can learn about me and understand me, and then I can share me with you.
Both purposes work simultaneously and conjointly, and support the main purpose which is to know thyself. And then, share yourself with others and with yourself through the form of boundaries. It is the only way to truly and sincerely know yourself and honor yourself, is by making boundaries. Boundaries say, “I know myself and I’m going to invite you to connect with me by sharing my boundaries (which is myself) with you. So, then you can know exactly what I think, what I feel, what I want, need, believe in, expect and all else that makes me, me.”
Boundaries mean I’m responsible for me and you—the other person, through your boundaries—are responsible for you. All angles of me, my safety, my connection, my remembrance of my worth, my value, and my ability to live principles of peace all come through boundaries.
So, with that introduction, hopefully you can see how important it is—if you have not thought of boundaries before—how important it is to recognize who you are, how you’ve been affected, how you’ve been influenced, what you believe in, what you value, what you stand for, and then share those thoughts and feelings with another person in the form of a boundary.
[00:12:54] The Beginnings of Boundaries
So, what are boundaries? Literally, what is a boundary? What would a boundary look like?
Boundaries are lines, demarcations that separate you from another human being, or anything else that’s not you. So, all of us are walking around as an individual. We’re not hooked to anybody else and we’re not hooked to anything. We have our own body and that’s it. We don’t have any kind of thing hooked into us unless we’ve stuck it in our body or we’ve put it on our body. But we can always take those things out. My skin is a boundary. It says there is a block between what’s inside my physical body and what’s on the outside of my body. And the only way to get what’s on the outside of my body in my body is to breach that boundary of breaking the skin, or having it cross my lips, or come into my ears, or come in through my eyes, or come in through my nose.
My body is a boundary and I choose what comes into my body. When I’m an adult, I choose what comes into my body. And when I’m a child, it is appropriate for my environment—whether it be my parents, or my teachers, or my mentors, or my family, extended family members—my environment, the people in my environment to teach me that my body is a boundary and that I get to choose what happens with my body.
Boundaries clarify your individuality and identity—your definition of who you are separate from everyone else.
Your boundaries are necessary all the time, and are as constant as your breath. So, when I say your boundaries are constant, what that means is, is that you are responsible to hold your boundaries constantly. You are responsible. Nobody else. Now, I’m talking to adults here. If a child’s listening to this, a child is learning how to hold their boundaries constantly. A child is learning how to create their boundaries. However, for us as adults, we have the charge to be responsible to hold our boundaries and be conscious about teaching others about our boundaries.
Boundaries accentuate you and your being from all else that is going on in your environment.
Boundaries begin from the time you were born. That’s when you being making and holding boundaries, was the second you entered the world and your boundaries, like everything else were very immature and primitive.
So, when I say boundaries began the second you entered the world, it’s because you became a soul with a body. And so, there was your individuality right there. You had this separate body from everybody else. And inside your boundaries as a youngster, there’s a lot of immaturity, a lot of primitiveness. Your boundaries, when you were young, were immature and very basic. And were focused on survival, and protecting and defending yourself against anything—the outside world or anything or anyone that you deemed was dangerous or potentially harmful.
So, it’s our practice to mature our boundaries. That’s what we’re supposed to do, is we’re supposed to be maturing ourselves. We’re supposed to be learning how to self-care, how to love, how to honor ourselves.
[00:16:56] Primitive Boundaries
Let’s look at what a primitive boundary actually looks like. So, when we’re children, our responsibility is to mature, right? So, our bodies just naturally mature on their own. They don’t need a whole lot of conscious help from us. They just kind of show up that way. We go to sleep, we wake up and we’re bigger.
However, for emotional and spiritual care, we are responsible to recognize and learn how to boundary ourselves, how to be responsible for ourselves, how to be honest with ourselves, so that we can have the outcome of self-love and self-respect.
So, setting and maintaining boundaries is the most basic form of self-care. It is a process through which you take responsibility for your safety, your worth and your peace. So, when I say that, it’s a process through which you are responsible for your safety, your worth and your peace. What I mean by that—that’s emotional and mental—is that you are responsible to behave in a way that reminds you that you are safe.
Now, when I say safe, I’m not talking solely physically safe, though that would be the first thing you’d think about because that’s the most primitive form of safety, is physical safety. I am also talking about emotional safety, that you are learning how to be responsible to create boundaries, so that you are physically and emotionally safe.
And you also are responsible to learn, as a child and also as an adult, to be responsible for remembering your worth. Your worth is fixed, it’s eternal, it cannot be altered, it cannot be changed, it is from a divine source and no matter what choices or lack of boundaries you have, your worth cannot be minimized or lessened in any way.
Because that is the Truth, it is your responsibility to behave in ways and make choices that support you to remember your worth. So, you want to make choices that are in honesty, because when you choose to be honest, you feel good about yourself. When you choose to be responsible and you feed the dog because it’s your responsibility to feed the dog, you feel good about it, even though you might be tired and you might be a little exhausted that day, or maybe you’re a little sick, you still feel good when you walk inside. It’s like oh, I fed the dog, I feel good about that.
So, this is about a process through which you take responsibility to provide safety for yourself and to provide the connection to your worth, because your worth is always there, it’s just that sometimes we make choices that lead us away from the Truth about our worth. When we err, or we make mistakes, or we sin, or we aren’t willing to be accountable for ourselves, or we’re willing to be dishonest, those are all indicators that would disconnect us from Truth. It would disconnect us from feeling the value that we have, and so that’s not a bad thing, it’s just a human thing.
And so, once you feel that kind of that disconnect and you wonder if you’re good, or if you are worthy or lovable, that tells you somehow you’ve disconnected and you need to go back to a place where you make choices that would reinforce or remind you about the worth of your soul.
And as you live in that way, you will feel peace. That will be one of the outcomes, is that you will feel a sense of peace when you live inside this responsible place of taking care of your safety and staying connected to your value and worth.
Boundaries are lines that you draw and clarify between yourself and others, that maintain your individuality.
So, I talked about the necessity to have boundaries all the time, and when I say all the time, it means that as long as you’re breathing and you’re present, you need to be able to differentiate you from another person, and be able to share you with another person.
So, I was just over at my friend’s house and she had bottled a bunch of peaches. She’s a dear friend of mine and very loving, and her family’s very loving. They offered me a bottle of peaches. Now, they have a very large family, we’re talking probably 20 people in their family with grandchildren and in-laws and all that kind of stuff. Maybe more than that, maybe 30 people. And they only had X amount of jars of peaches. And so, as much as I would have enjoyed having a bottle of peaches, I held a boundary, because I know that all those people would really appreciate having their own bottle of peaches.
And to me, it would have been a luxury for to me to have that. And I really was okay, I wasn’t being self-denigrating by turning it down, I really was fine having peaches out of a can, opposed to peaches out of a bottle.
And so, I held a boundary and she’s like, “Are you sure you don’t want one?” I said, “You know what? I would love one, and I’d like to have you guys enjoy those.”
And so, I shared with her about my motive, like who I was, what I believed in, what my motivation was. And so, we are constantly setting boundaries and sharing boundaries with each other.
Our boundaries also can change throughout our lives, and I hope that they do change. For example, we go from a really immature state of holding boundaries to a very sophisticated—or we can go to a very sophisticated form of holding boundaries.
So, boundaries are meant to change through our lives as we develop and mature. Our most basic, primitive and immature boundaries are about protecting and defending ourselves against the outside world.
So, when we’re children, we are very egocentric, which means we only think of ourselves. I was watching her granddaughter, who I think is three or four years old today at my friend’s house, and they have a 17-year-old boy, and he was lying on the couch and the little three or four-year-old went over to him and the 17-year-old just kind of put his hand on her shoulder and held a boundary with her. I don’t know what they were doing, but she was kind of in his face, he was lying on the couch and she was eye level with him, and she was kind of bothering him. So, he just put his hand out, not to push her away, but to keep her at a distance, and she did not like that at all. I was actually sitting there talking to my friend but I was seeing it out of my periphery. And so, she marched herself right over to her grandmother and said, “Grandma, Marcus pushed me in the face.” And I was like wow, that is not absolutely not the Truth. Marcus put his hand out and kept her away from him, but there was no pushing that went on, and it wasn’t in the face, it was on her shoulder.
And grandma in all of her wisdom said, “Really? Well, I hope he didn’t do that.” And she goes, “Well, he did. He pushed me right here.” And she did it, she hit herself in the face. “That’s what he did.” She pointed to him, “he did that.” And Marcus was lying on the couch and he said, “You know what, Suzie? You are fibbing.” And she said, “No, I’m not. You pushed me right in the face.” And grandma looked down at her and said, “Well, why don’t you go work that out with him?”
So, grandma held a boundary, because little Suzie was trying to get grandma to go and discipline or scold her son, and grandma very wisely, because she knows this little girl, said, “Go figure that out with your uncle.”
So, she was in a very immature, primitive state. She wasn’t being willing to be honest. Now, does she understand the importance of honesty at three and four? No. She just knows that her little soul was offended and that she didn’t appreciate not being able to have what she wanted. She didn’t know how to honor or respect her uncle’s boundaries—Marcus’s boundaries—and so, she went to tell on him and let everybody know that Marcus was not being nice to her.
And when grandma didn’t give her what she wanted, she went and elicited grandpa’s attention and grandpa held a very similar boundary with her, which was beautiful.
So, when we are immature (and we can be immature at 72 years old. Age has nothing to do with our maturity level). So, when we are immature emotionally, we will have immature boundaries. And they’ll sound something like this, “When I close my door, don’t come in my room.” Kind of like, that’s it, door’s closed, don’t come in. “If you hurt me, I’m going to hurt you back.” “I don’t like this, so I’m not eating it.” “I can say what I want and you can’t stop me.” “If I want something, I’ll get it.” “If I want something or need something, then I deserve to have it.” “If I don’t agree with the rules, then I can do what want.” “I’m not supposed to be offended, or hurt, or upset by anything that goes on in my environment.” “I should be able to have what it is that I want, when I want it, how I want it.”
So, notice in those boundaries, those very primitive boundaries, they follow this formula:
If I don’t get ________, then I’m going to ________.
Or, if I don’t ________, then I get ________.
So, these boundaries are attempts to control my externals—the people and the things in my environment. They are attempts to control things that are outside of me, which then violates choice—the freewill of others. Marcus had every right to put his hand out and say, “I don’t like that.” But because Suzie was very immature, she’s like, “I don’t care what you like. I’m going to do what I want, and when you don’t let me do what I want, then I’m going to go tell on you.”
So, boundaries such as these, these primitive and immature boundaries are the person’s attempt at controlling their outside world. That’s very much what emotionally immature people do, is they engage in controlling behaviors. That’s what they focus on.
These types of immature and primitive boundaries you create are outcomes of the level of rigor of your emotional honest and personal responsibility. So, if you are an adult and you are showing up in this manner where you are trying to control your outside world, or control emotions, or just control anything—if you’re in the act of controlling, you are not at a very sophisticated level of emotional maturity and personal responsibility. Because as you mature and develop in your emotionally honest and personal accountability, your boundaries will reflect that maturity. You will begin to accommodate more than what’s good for you in the equation. As you mature, you’ll begin to acknowledge not only yourself, and what you think, and what you want, and what you feel, and what you choose; you will also relate and empathize with—you’ll connect and feel for—others as deeply as you do for yourself.
Your world will then transition from me-focused to me-and-you-focused. And you’ll notice that this is about empathy. This shift into personal responsibility and emotional maturity enables connection, empathy, vulnerability, validation. It brings joy, and peace, and true emotional connection to yourself and to your relationships.
No longer are your boundaries about protecting yourself, but about being an integrous, responsible person, and connecting and interacting with the outside world.
So, Marcus who was laying on the couch when his niece was telling on him to grandma, he didn’t get too uptight. He just kind of laid there, and when Suzie was telling her story, he said, “Suzie, you’re fibbing.” He didn’t jump up and go, “No, that didn’t happen! She’s lying to you!” He didn’t do that. He just kind of laid there and he’s like, “Suzie, you’re fibbing.” And she’s like, “No, I’m not. No, I’m not.” And so, he was exemplifying very mature boundaries.
[00:31:11] Mature Boundaries
Mature boundaries sound like this:
I am willing to work, just work. Whether it’s work for money, whether it’s work for cleaning your house up or cleaning up your yard, or giving service to another person, I am willing to work just for the joy of creation or connection.
Another mature connecting boundary would be, I keep my commitments even when I’m tired because I care about myself and the people I affect.
I am willing to understand how I affect others. That’s about connection and empathy.
I will learn from my mistakes.
I’m willing to feel pain and discomfort and not call it bad.
I will not stay in distortion. So when I recognize I’m not in The Truth, when I’m recognize that I’m in a place of co-dependency or I’m in a place of control or distraction, I’m willing to change.
I will take responsibility for myself.
I will validate myself and others by sharing my vulnerabilities.
Those are all really good and powerful ways to exemplify mature emotional maturity and personal responsibility.
So, as I grow and mature, the goal is that my boundaries will sophisticate and mature as well. Just because your body ages doesn’t mean you’ll choose to age and grow emotionally and spiritually. You may not choose to grow up and become a mature emotionally aware adult. And one of the most clear signs of evidence that one is not mature is their lack of personal boundaries, and the responsibility it takes to create them, and the impeccable emotional honesty it requires to maintain them.
So, that last little section that I just shared with you is very, very important. When you are interacting with someone, you can tell how mature they are according to if they will be responsible for themselves. We live on a planet where so many of us are unwilling to account for our own choices. We want to blame people. Just like little Suzie wanted to blame her uncle. That was not the case. Uncle was being very appropriate with her. And so, you expect that coming out of a three and a four-year-old, but you don’t expect it coming out of a 64-year-old. However, many of us don’t know how to show up in a very mature manner when we are interacting. We like to control things.
So, creating and holding boundaries is your inalienable right as a human being.
Setting and maintain boundaries to protect yourself is an inalienable right as a human being.
Your ability to choose is also an inalienable part of your soul. You have the right to live as you choose, to say what you think, to include or exclude others from your life. Part of your inalienable rights are setting and maintaining boundaries. And when you do that, when you set and you hold boundaries, it’s kind of like a muscle, like you’re developing a muscle. Long neglect of boundaries weaken this muscle. Building that muscle takes time and effortful practice.
You learn to set or neglect boundaries from infancy. The adults responsible for raising you shaped your beliefs around the importance of boundaries, and your ability to set and maintain boundaries. That’s very true. If those you lived with violated your boundaries, you may have concluded you have none—like no one ever told you about them.
If you lived with people who modeled a life with few boundaries, you may have surrendered your responsibility to understand or define them. So, if you lived with people who did not honor boundaries—did not have their own, and did not honor yours—then you don’t know you have them.
If those you lived with modeled life with few boundaries, then you may have just kind of given up on your own responsibility to understand or make them.
Boundary-setting is the next step in overcoming distorted thoughts.
Healthy boundaries express the Truth about you, and they are an invitation for others to recognize and respect that Truth which is you. They’re an invitation for others to recognize and respect you.
Your boundaries are your responsibility. They’re yours. They’re not anyone else’s.
You must let others know who you are, what you need, what you think, what you feel, where you stand. Checking in regularly with yourself is the key to noticing and maintaining your boundaries.
As I was being offered this jar of peaches, I knew that I could have a jar. I had no problem taking a jar. That wasn’t the issue. I kept coming back to myself, saying, “You know what? How do I feel about taking a jar away from this family that, there’s so many people that they may not all get a jar of peaches?” And so, I kept coming back and checking in with myself, like, “Am I good with that boundary, am I good with that boundary?”
And they didn’t know this, but I have another dear friend in another area of town that has a peach tree, and he has been providing me fresh peaches for the last three weeks. And so, I have had my fair share of wonderfully organic peaches right off the vine, and so I wasn’t being neglected or anything. And so I kept coming in and checking in with myself and making sure that my boundary was appropriate.
The most effective way to influence those with unclear boundaries is to maintain your clarity about your own boundaries. That’s important. The best way to influence those people who don’t have clear boundaries or don’t have any boundaries, is to model how clear your boundaries are. Now, a lot of people are like, I don’t like that because it means I don’t get what I want. But as they see you holding your boundaries, they will be invited to hold their own. It’s like “Oh, I have permission to do that?” It’s like “Yes, you do.”
[00:37:59] External & Internal Boundaries
Let’s talk about boundaries—how you set them and where they are. Some boundaries are external, like a door shutting or a wall. Like, if I walk straight, I might run into a wall. That’s a boundary. Things that I can touch, things that are tangible to me, versus internal boundaries.
So, there are these two types of boundaries: external and internal. External boundaries are boundaries you make about things, people and experiences outside of you. Things that can be witnessed, seen, experienced with our senses. They can be touched, seen, heard, tasted, smelled.
Examples of external boundaries are walls, laws, rules, penalties, norms, signs, money, possessions, time, shelter, what you’ll do with your body.
Internal boundaries are the other type of boundary: they are lines and demarcations that cannot be experienced in the tangible world, yet they are necessary and important to share with others to tell them about you.
So, examples of internal boundaries are what you’ll do with your attention, your affection, your feelings, your thoughts, your expectations, your morals, your standards, your needs, your wants, your beliefs, your fears, your expectations.
Being able to be clear about your boundaries is the way that you are able to share you with another person. It’s the key to trust and cooperation with yourself, trust with yourself and cooperation with yourself, in an inter-dependent world, because these lines, these boundaries, either physically or non-physically, either external or internal, that either you create or they’re created by another source for you to acknowledge and honor, they identify for yourself and others where you or they stand, what you think and feel, how and what you will choose for yourself. And then, appropriately share you with yourself and others. It is your responsibility to know yourself. It is your responsibility to care for yourself, so you have a relationship with you, where you know your thoughts, your perceptions, your interactions, your interpretations, your meanings, your fears, your distorted thoughts, your desires, dreams, resentments, and all else that defines you, and the corresponding emotions that follow all of these characteristics of you.
It’s all about you. Everything we’re talking about is that you are responsibility to identify who you are, and then share it with another person. Because you have to first share it with you. And so, it takes a lot of work to know what your boundaries are.
So, here are some other examples of external boundaries. Turning off the car, shutting my door, any kind of law or social constraint, like inappropriate language, being on time, keeping commitments, etiquette, politeness, roles, responsibilities, manners, public and private spaces, eye contact, property, money—like how I earn it and how I spend it—calling a friend for support, making dinner, buying something.
Internal boundaries sound like this: I say no when I mean no. I say yes when I mean yes. I will not live with someone who shows up in a way that is contra to how I believe or what my morals and standards are. Internal boundaries are how I think, how I feel, what my values and my standards are, how I interact inside my relationships—am I open? Am I honest? Am I being responsible inside my relationships? Am I vulnerable? Do I validate? Am I compassionate? Those are all internal boundaries. My spirituality, my interests, the way that I share my sexuality, is about internal boundaries.
Now, I understand that a lot of these can have external boundaries associated with them. However, the core of these are internal. The secrets I hold, or the honesty I share, my expectations, my ability to trust and feel safe. Those are all internal boundaries.
Now, I’m aware that some of you are listening to this and you’re like, “I’m lost. I don’t understand the difference between an external and an internal, and I’m not even quite sure what an internal boundary is.” And so, this is just a podcast to give you some initial information, and then I hope that you will go read about boundaries, that you’ll listen to this again and again, and maybe go check a book from the library about boundaries. There are many books that are written about boundaries.
So, boundaries, as I’ve said, boundaries are all about you. We’ve mentioned that several times. Any tangible or intangible object, thought, idea, expression, desire, fear, belief, want, feeling, anything that runs through you, through your mind, through your body, through your soul, you are responsible to understand and place an appropriate boundary with it.
Your boundaries express and describe what’s happening inside of you, and then you have the opportunity to share that knowledge with yourself and others. Your boundaries are always about you. They are not about others. Boundaries are created to protect you and share you, not control or demand something from another person.
Boundaries are best shared and understand when they are clearly explained and well-articulated by you. That means you must first understand the experience inside yourself and process it, so you might need help from somebody to process this. So, you’re aware and clear of what you are experiencing and what it means to you, before you set or make or language the boundary. Very, very important that you know what’s going on.
So, your boundaries describe your expectations you place on yourself. For example, I say yes when I mean yes. The limits you allow for other’s influence on you. You cannot control others’ behavior, but you are responsible for your choices to let them affect you. For example, I will not live in a place where pornography is used.
So, you can’t say, “I have a boundary that you can’t look at porn.” That’s not a boundary. That’s trying to control that person’s behavior. But what you can say is, “I will not live in a place where pornography is used.” So, it’s like, I will remove myself if that’s going to continue.
Your boundaries describe how you will protect yourself and all ways. For example, I’m not okay with having a gun in the house that is not in a locked safe. So, that’s an example of how to protect yourself physically.
Your boundaries describe who you are: your beliefs, your goals, your morals, your thoughts, your feelings, anything that comprises you. So, for example, “I would like you to take your shoes off when you come in my house, and keep your voice down when the baby is asleep.” Those are boundaries, and I’m teaching that person about me. “Please take your shoes off when you come in my house,” that’s a physical boundary. It’s an external boundary.
And, “Please keep your voice down when the baby’s asleep.” That’s a boundary. I’m saying, “I would like you to have some compassion and some empathy for the fact that I have a child that’s sleeping. Would you be willing to do that?”
So, you get to decide on how or if you’re going to follow somebody else’s boundaries, and if you’re going to set and maintain your own.
So, let’s talk about how to create a healthy boundary. These are how to create boundaries. There’s several steps on how to do this. In order to be able to create a clear, unambiguous boundary, you must walk through these steps. These steps will clarify your intentions. So, your intentions are what specifically is motivating you, and these steps will clarify your intentions and then enable you to differentiate between your needs and your wants, and what the other person’s needs and wants are.
Your boundaries need to be set from a position of emotional honesty and personal responsibility, not by personal reactivity and/or by an emotional knee-jerk. So, you’re not reacting and then setting a boundary, you’re thinking about it and saying, “Okay, what is The Truth? How do I feel? What do I need?” And then you set the line.
It is your responsibility to do the following three things. Here they are, are you ready? You can write these down.
Clearly state your boundary including the specifics of your boundaries, the what, when, how long, why, etc. The more specific you are, the easier it is for you to hold your boundary.
So, you need to understand your feelings, your needs, your wants and thoughts regarding what you need to feel safe and heard in the relationship.
So, you’ve got to understand you first, and you might need some help, so you might need to talk to somebody first. Then, you need to be clear and direct in the specifics of your boundary, and be assertive, so the person knows what you mean, and that you will honor your boundary.
So, the specifics are this what, when, how long, why information, because that tells you and it tells the other person exactly why you’re doing this, what you’re doing, where the boundary is, why it’s there, how long it’s there, etc.
Be clear in the specifics of your boundary and be assertive, so that they really understand that you mean what you say. Use an “I statement” when setting your boundary, make sure your boundaries about you and not anyone else. So, you’re going to say, “I feel hurt and very frustrated by the dishonest sales tactics that I have been asked to use in the past. At any point, if I feel that that the tactics I am being asked to use or told to use are dishonest, I will verbalize my concern by stating exactly what I believe to be dishonest and manipulative.”
That’s a good example of using I when establishing your boundary. Your boundaries are about you and your needs, not about controlling another person’s feelings or behaviors. So important you understand that.
Here’s another example of using I when establishing your boundaries. “I have the right to share my emotions with my intimate relationships. When I’m experiencing intense emotion, I will come to you and ask for validation, because I am responsibility to do so out of love for myself and you.”
Here’s another example. “Emotionally honesty is vitally important to me, I expect my relationships to be honest with me 100 percent of the time. I also maintain that same expectation of myself to be honest.” Now, when it says 100 percent of the time, that doesn’t mean perfection. It just means that if I find myself fudging on the Truth and not being honest, that I will go back and clean it up because I have an expectation that my relationships are honest. So, that means I have to be—not have to be—but I choose to be honest inside my relationships, and if you and I are going to interact, then I have the same expectation of you.
Now, you may not choose to be honest with me and if I start realizing that you are choosing not to be honest, then that’s fine. It just means that you and I are not going to be able to be close with each other.
So, that’s number one: clearly state your boundary, including the specifics of your boundary.
Number two, clearly state the consequences of your boundary not being honored, and how you will enforce the boundary. So, inside that number two—clearly state the consequence of the boundary not being honored and how you will enforce the boundary—you will want to share your boundary with the person when both of you are calm and attentive.
You then will want to share the consequences of them not honoring your boundary. You’re saying, “Here are the things that I will do and here are the things that I will not do.” Not what the other person will or will not do. The consequence of not honoring my boundary is something that I’m going to do or not do. Not the other person.
Hold your center when your boundary is being tested. Hold your center means hold your boundary, because oftentimes your boundaries will be pushed, they’ll be stepped on, they might even be crossed over. Hold them. Stay firm and strong and enlist the help of other people to support you in holding your boundaries until you feel that you can hold them all on your own.
Let people know what you think, what you feel and choose to do if your boundary is not honored or respected. For example, here are some examples of how you think and feel if somebody crosses over your boundary.
This is an example of talking to managers. I will give you managers one week to consider my concerns. If you are not in agreement with me changing my sales approach, I will remove myself from the project and leave the company.
Here’s another example. If you are unwilling to empathize with my emotions, I will pull away from you emotionally and find others to validate me. So, basically, it’s like if you’re unwilling to connect with me, then I’m not going to be in a relationship with you.
Now, you may choose to completely pull away and never see them again. Or you may choose to have like a yearly interaction with them at Christmas dinner. Or you may choose to see them at family functions. I mean, you can decide whatever kind of relationship you want with these people. And what you’re saying is, if you are not going to empathize and validate and be vulnerable and honest with me, then I will not be connected to you.
Another example. I will not tolerate dishonesty in my life and relationships. If you continue to lie to me, I will not be in this relationship and I will not have any contact with you. Same kind of thing.
So we had one, clearly state your boundary including the specifics of your boundary. And number two, clearly state the consequences of your boundary if it’s not honored, and how you will enforce that boundary if it’s not honored or respected.
Number three, do not set a boundary that you are not physically and emotionally willing to follow through with. Don’t set a boundary that you’re not going to follow. You need to understand the important of making a boundary and holding it. If you set a boundary and you don’t enforce it, that boundary will be another empty threat, which will reinforce that you do not or will not stand up for yourself. You will lose more power and authority within yourself and with those around you. Your boundaries will not be believed each time you assert yourself and don’t follow through.
For example, I make sure I am really well prepared when I leave the company. If my managers are unwilling to permit me to make my own moral judgment calls regarding how I choose to sell my products, I recognize that it’s likely I will need enforce my boundary and I begin saving money and looking for others jobs, so that I’m prepared if and when that time comes.
Another example. I will not wait for the other person to change. I immediately and calmly seek out those who are emotionally open. I don’t cut this person off from me emotionally, yet I am responsible for myself and I proactively find those who will validate me.
Another example. I make sure I’m prepared to end this relationship. I think of all the emotional, spiritual, financial and legal consequences of this relationship, and those kind of things that could result. I decide that I’m willing to walk out of the relationship if I’m boundary is not honored, and then I share my boundary with this person.
So, those are some examples of when you set a boundary, you’re willing to actually follow through with the outcome, which can be really scary because it’s like oh my gosh, I might have to end relationships, and that’s very terrifying to possibly have to do that.
I’m going to pause here. I have a handful of other things that I want to share but I’m going to start another podcast, so I will see you on the next podcast.
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