Personal boundaries are guidelines about how you want others to treat you. Boundaries aren’t borders—they create space, not confine it.
I don’t like the term ‘boundaries.’
I think it is the “bound” part. It feels so permanent and confining. When it comes to personal boundaries, I prefer to view them more as guidelines—a guidebook for the people in your life to know who you are and what is okay.
Personal boundaries build healthy relationships and set the limits for behavior from the people around you. Boundaries define what you will and won’t accept from others. They are a big part of how we approach relationships with the people in our lives.
By sharing what you will and will not tolerate and the consequences of not following the guidelines, you are setting the expectation for a smooth and worry-free journey.
Your Personal Boundaries Should Act More Like a Personal Guidebook
A great example is something I’m going through right now. I am knee-deep in planning for my Disneyworld trip. Thanks to the pandemic, I have been planning this trip for years. Now’s the time for me to hit the road.
One of my favorite things is to research travel guides. I have found some great content and some not-so-great content on making this the trip of a lifetime. The objective of each author is to provide information to make any trip to Disney the best it can be.
Your personal guidebook has the same objective.
Your guidebook should communicate your rules for a great interaction with you. If you can speak to the people in your life about the things they could do to make the relationship strong, you don’t have to spend so much time building solid relationships.
Not everyone follows the guidebook or understands the consequences until they stray from the suggestions. That’s why not everything is smooth sailing. However, because you have been clear about your personal boundaries and guidelines, it takes no time to get back on track.
Humans are humans, and some like to test more than others. Firm but kind reminders about the outline in the guidebook will reinforce its importance.
How to Create Personal Boundaries
Here are some things you can add to your guidebook, similar to a road trip guidebook.
1. Communicating high traffic times
When you notice you are stressed out and feeling anxious, there are things others should know about how much energy you can give. Find ways to communicate what you need in times of high traffic.
2. Details on social distancing and COVID protocols
We all have different thoughts and feelings about mandates and social distancing. Being clear on what is comfortable and not comfortable for you is about communicating your protocols
3. Hidden gems to make your trip unforgettable
When you let people know what you appreciate when you have communicated a boundary and their approach has changed, it shows that they respect that boundary. People test boundaries all the time, and providing feedback is the gem that will make the trip unforgettable.
Not everyone follows the guidebook or understands the consequences until they stray from the suggestions. That’s why not everything is smooth sailing.
However, because you have been clear about the guidelines, it takes no time to get back on track. Humans are humans, and some like to test more than others. Firm but kind reminders about the outline in the guidebook will reinforce its importance.
Always Update Your Personal Guidebook
The 2022 edition of the Unofficial Guide to Disney World is over 750 pages. It has been updated every year since 1985. I get the most updated book no matter how often I go to Disney.
Remember: things are constantly changing. I appreciate knowing what is happening at the time I am there. And I take the same thought process into my personal life.
Your guidebook gets updated when you change. You will know when it needs an update when you start to feel more discomfort or resentment around a specific person or thing.
Remember that your guidebook is about you. Make it about you and be yourself. Communicating your updated version is like sending a book to publication. You need to get it out there if you want people to know about it.
It is a gift when you take the time to communicate what you need for a healthy relationship with someone in your life. It lets them know who you are on the inside and that you care enough to show them that part of you.
You can also give the gift of time when you let people know what you need, it opens up so much time to spend on the things which bring you joy and happiness.
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