There are a few ways to think about boundaries as well as there are different types of boundaries. One way to think about boundaries is that it is an awareness of where we end and where others begin. Boundaries in this regard are personal and they are the limits and rules we set for our Self within relationships to others. Essentially, boundaries show where one thing ends and another begins. Boundaries can help each person in a relationship figure out where the needs of another reside as well as what goes against needs. Boundaries help each person define what they are comfortable with and how they would like to be treated by others.
There are seven types of boundaries which I will list in a minute. For today's episode we are going to cover a majority and focus on the most prevalent and important in a human's day-to-day life. It is also important to note that boundaries can be hard or soft. The seven types of boundaries are physical boundaries, sexual boundaries, emotional or mental boundaries, spiritual boundaries, financial and material boundaries, time boundaries, and non-negotiable boundaries. Today we are mainly going to focus on physical boundaries, financial boundaries, non-negotiable boundaries, time boundaries and relationship boundaries which include both sexual boundaries as well as emotional and mental boundaries. We are quite effectively covering all 7 boundaries types, but do note we are not touching much on spiritual boundaries as I feel your spiritual values can be found within all the boundary types.
Today we are also going to get into the meat and fat of why the F* we may lack boundaries, are fearful to uphold our boundaries, may choose to overstep our own boundaries, and let others walk all over our boundaries. We will see how past experiences shape our belief system and therefore what we accept in our life. Always hold tight that what we believe is going to create what we perceive and feel about everything, including our Self and others. Having an unshakable Self Belief is an immense life tool to never put down because it not only helps you set and maintain your boundaries, but an unshakable self belief also helps you move forward every single day with a beneficial mindset. Experiences from trauma to elation shape and mold what we choose to accept in our life as adults
Lastly, we will cover how to set, establish, and maintain boundaries. When we honor our boundaries we feel better about our Self and likely about others, too. Boundaries offer us control and guidance in life. Every human needs to have boundaries and today we are going to better solidify our needs.
We are deep diving first into the reasons why we may lack boundaries or even step over our own by choice. You will see that lack of boundaries usually results in being in relationships that are one-sided, uncomfortable, toxic and/or dramatic. You will also see that lacking boundaries usually is a maladaptive self-protecting mechanism from childhood. If you identify as a people-pleaser, highly sensitive person, an empath, a giver, a yes person, anxious around your friends, or someone that always feels unseen but continues to show up for others, this podcast episode on Boundaries is definitely for you.
Why We Lack Boundaries / Dysregulated Caregiver
Okay, how the F* can we lack boundaries and why does this happen? Follow me on this one as I am about to say a word that can trigger many and shut down even more - lack of boundaries has a lot to do with the tendency to lean towards codependent behaviors. Those that struggle with codependency likely struggle with having, maintaining, and honoring boundaries. Very very essentially, people who are needy or codependent have a desperate need for love and affection from others. To receive this love and affection, they sacrifice their identity and remove their boundaries. What's more, is it can be difficult to realize when a boundary has been crossed and many times we only come to know once we are triggered and reacting to the overstep.
People pleasers, codependents, yes-sayers, and always-show-up-ers are great living examples of humans that lack boundaries. These people, including my Self at many points in life, show up more for others rather than the Self because of how we are neurologically wired in our mind and body AKA nervous system. Boundary lacking humans likely experienced from caregivers lack of positive attention, healthy attachment, the ability to express our own feelings without repercussions for feeling that way, shame for saying no or not saying yes, and not feeling safe or secure. Those lacking boundaries likely experienced trauma as a child, too. Childhood trauma that can shape our self belief and alter what we accept from others can include verbal, physical, mental, and emotional abuse. Lacking boundaries means you are fearful to show up as your Self because you were taught that being your Self is not good in some way or another. Shame consumes people that lack boundaries. What's more is that we feel more shame each time we realize someone has overstepped or gone against our needs because we did not stick up for our Self and communicate our need within our boundaries.
practice of defining healthy boundaries can be triggering. Though boundaries represent different things to different people, they universally force us to examine toxic behaviors with roots in our past and can surface negative internal dialogues that are painful to address. For instance, a person with tendencies to be a people pleaser — an insecurity they likely developed in childhood — might have a hard time setting boundaries because they feel the need to continuously “give” to be worthy of others. Highly driven people, on the other hand, may see a boundary as a personal failure or an attack on their ego. Whereas someone who hasn’t yet achieved much in their life may use a boundary to reinforce negative self-talk.
I grew up in a traumatic and chaotic reality as a child until I moved out; for so many years I thought there was something wrong with me, but now I know that trauma and lack of attachment to my mother dysregulated my nervous system. My forever attempts at feeling better were to lean into codependency, say yes to everyone, and give give give. A dysregulated nervous system puts me in fight/flight mode from day to night, which is not normal. Being in a constant state of anxiety, stress, and fear is because our autonomic nervous system is activated in maladaptive ways to survive thanks to our experiences from childhood. I always want to say yes and people please because the thought of saying no instantly makes me feel unsafe, uncomfortable, and afraid to go against “the grain”.
This following I am about to say is profound, but please don't accidentally use this information against your Self. You likely have a great capacity for empathy and compassion, but what I am about to say is not so you can further excuse other people's behavior. What I am about to say is to offer clarity as to why we were treated the way we were as children. A huge reason why many of us experienced trauma and/or chaos as a child was because our caregiver(s) had a dysregulated nervous system and likely struggled with mental health.
TransGenerational or InterGenerational Trauma
I am very quickly going to talk about Trans-genratioanl trauma and then we are going to move on to the different types of boundaries and how to better establish boundaries in our life without pissing people off or letting our own Self down.
Our grandparents were living in a completely different survival mode than their children. Our parents, which are our grandparent children, needed completely different survival mechanisms than their parents as well as their children, which is us. Our grandparents experienced the fear and stress of war, oppression, poverty, and racism. PTSD became prevalent during their generation. They typically dealt with this through alcoholism rather than communicating their feelings, unless they were shouting. This generation was quick to bark and bite at their children. They were tough, showed up for work everyday, and if you ask me said yes a lot as to help others.
Our parents had entirely different experiences than their parents, which are our grandparents. They received pretty tough childhoods because their parents expected them to be as tough as they are even though life was not as threatening by war and such. Physical and emotional abuse was of abundance in most homes. Our parents may have a hard time feeling like they received the love they needed as children even though they likely grew up with both mother and father in the home.
Our parents are children that struggle to grow up. I think this is fair to say for many reasons. Something fascinating that this generation created was the self esteem movement in the 90s. To this day the detrimental effects of that self-debilitating yet well-intentioned movement are experienced by most of us. We all were raised thinking we are perfect as-is. This is a direct response from our parents being raised by angry and possibly abusive parents. Our parents made a mistake and overly-reclaimed what it means to be special. Nowadays we all think we are top shit and it's a huge reason why many somehow find magical ways to think my podcast or social media information is an attack on them. Interesting right? When presented with information that is helpful and useful to live a better life, a lot of people nowadays go on the defense and their mind perceives this information as a self attack to their esteem. This is due to a majorly fixed mindset, lack of self awareness, and refusal to mature. An adaptive growth mindset allows humans to receive all information appreciating it as a stepping stone to get closer to their goals, needs, and overall happiness. An adaptive growth mindset is a major lifestyle success tool I urge all humans to use to feel better and live better everyday regardless of our past experiences or what our parents chose to put us through.
We are who we are today, not who we had to be years ago to survive.
As an adult, it is always up to us to make better choices in our own life rather than step down or away from our Self and choose to serve the needs of others. We are no longer children beholden to our caregivers, we are independent beings capable of coming to know what is best for us and how to assure our needs are being met without issue or problem. As an adult, you have the choice to not only identify your needs and then create boundaries in support of them, but you also have to choose which boundaries of yours are soft and hard.
Soft and Hard Personal Boundaries
There is a significant difference between soft and hard boundaries. We are going to go hard and, well, start with hard boundaries.
The most concrete hard boundary I can think we all should have is the boundary of not drinking alcohol and driving afterwards. This boundary keeps every human safe and gives all humans the ability to continue living their life as-is. Hard boundaries are things you are unwilling to compromise on. Hard boundaries are non negotiable in your life. I see a lot of people start to let go of their boundaries when they enter into a new romantic relationship where the infatuation is high. It is a major mistake to start accepting people outside of your boundaries just because of the neural chemicals they activate inside you. Remember what I say every week - dopamine does not care what it activates you to go towards, it just cares that it is activated. Think of hard boundaries as things you will never do or never accept as reasonable. For example, I will never accept a human in my life that intentionally crafts dishonesty and lies. I have absolutely had to say goodbye to people that make me feel good in all sorts of ways because they overstep my hard boundary of honesty and deceit. It is always worth it to self protect and it is never with it to let people in your life just because of how they make you feel sometimes.
What are things, behaviors, or feelings that you absolutely will not or do not accept in your life?
Are there areas of your life where you feel in control? Are there areas of your life you feel out of control?
Soft boundaries are more like wishes or aspirations, and you are willing to compromise on them. Think of soft boundaries as goals you want to reach but are flexible around. A soft boundary is something that is determined by situations or by other people; soft boundaries are not concrete and rigid. Unlike a hard boundary, a soft boundary isn’t always enforced. An example of a soft boundary could be not allowing anyone to drive your car unless you are intoxicated, then you allow your friend to drive your car for you. Compromising should offer a greater sense of safety, wellbeing, and forward motion. Compromising should not make you feel triggered. In this circumstance, you cross your boundary of not letting others drive your car to avoid driving under the influence.
If you struggle with saying no and people pleasing, it is in your best interest to focus on and strengthen your hard boundaries. Make them clear and known to your Self and the chosen others in your life. It can be assumed those that have fear of rejection will be tempted to over-compromise on soft boundaries. Use this information as empowering rather than disheartening.
There are 7 different types of boundaries.
Boundaries range from physical to financial to mental. The seven types of boundaries are physical boundaries, sexual boundaries, emotional or mental boundaries, spiritual boundaries, financial and material boundaries, time boundaries, and non-negotiable boundaries.
Sexual boundaries and what how we navigate romantic relationships is the most prominent of boundaries in most peoples minds. Sexual boundaries can include mental, physical, and emotional boudanires. It is 100% and onnly up to you to decide what you are comfortable, okay, and accepting during sex with another consenting human.
In reagrds to sex, trying new things and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can be fun and exciting, but that doesn’t negate the need for personal safety, understanding what works for you and what does not. Exploring the perimeter of your comfort zone is ne ting, saying goodbye to it and stepping outside of it is another. When we're engaging in a new sxual activity especially with someone new, we could put our Self in uncomfortable situations by overstepping our boundaries and especially stepping outside of what is comfortable for us. Being tied up in shibari bondage is a certain kind of discomfort, and that can still reside in your comfort zone and boundaries. Furthermore, if your partner is pressuring or urging you to try new things, and your brain dand body do not instantly light up, this is likely an internal communication that activity is not for you and might even go against your needs. When we feel uncomfortable, anxious, or unsafe that is our autonomic nervous system activating and communicating. From kissing to intercouse, you are not obligated to do anything you actually do not want to do. If you have found your Self in a relationship where your partner is constantly pressuring you to do things you do not want to, this means that you have accidently walked over many of your boundaries and this human very likely should not be in our life. At this point it isnt about just sexual boudnaires, it is fudnamental and crucuial to your bwellbing and this person clearly oversteps many necessary boudnaires of yours. Get them gone and learn from that lesson.
Within sexual boundaries there are two types: explciit and implicit boundaries.
In summation, implicit boundaries are assumptions based on the way we function as a society. They are related to human rights, legal rights and the accepted codes of socialization. A pretty solid example of an implicit boundary is we all know that hitting someone is crossing a boundary, and this does not need to be explicitly indicated. Obviously, there are boundaries and life rules that seem obvious to most, but are not honored by all.
Explicit sexual boundaries are behaviors and acts you clearly and directly communicate with a partner. Explicit boundaries are personal to you and you choose these explicit boundaries based on your own preferences and needs, nobody else's. These boundaries are to be discussed and clearly stated in order to let someone know what is on and off the table. If you’re not okay with someone choking you during sex, you directly say to them loud and clear: “Choking is off-limits and is a hrd boundary for me.” If their reaction is to push you away or try and persuade you otherwise, I urge you to examine if this person is right for you long term. People that push against boundaries are not to be trusted and should not be welcomed into your life without consequence.
Another type of boundary are financial or material boundaries. This is a boundary I think most humans could become better established within. I am also going to go ahead and say as a very observant 30 something year old female living in florida - there are a lot of good looking humans out there that want nothing more than to partner with another human because of the financial gain and option to not have to put in their own effort for greater finances. Ladies, I may or may not be talking about a certain type of you that seems to be growing in numbers. And yes, a lot of this has to do with lacking self belief, not having a clear life vision for the Self, little or no desire to go towards personal goals, inability to tap in grit, and the refusal to expand the mindset to one of adaptive growth. What I am trying to say here is always be on the lookout of other peoples main objectives and hidden motives. I digress and am moving back onto financial boundaries.
Financial or material boundaries are very basically the limits we set for our money and / or things. In some cases, financial boundaries are those you set for your Self. In other cases, they might be boundaries you set between your Self and others. My research shows that a lot of adults struggle to maintain healthy money boundaries. You have the right to put your own needs first. You have the right to take control of your finances. You have the right to say no when family members ask you for money. You have the right to save money rather than spend every dime on fun things for your kids. You matter.
It can be difficult if not impossible to reach financial goals without financial boundaries. Ask your Self this: Can you reach your goals without altering how you spend money? If not, it might be time to set some financial boundaries.
The final boundary we are covering in detail today is our emotional or mental boundary. This boundary is major and crucial to our day to day wellbeing. We feel better, sleep better, and live better when our emotional and mental state are in good shape. When our mental and emotional wellbeing are negatively impacted ew are likely living with a dysregulated nervous system which can cause further issues with our mental health, physical health, and overall wellness.
Emotional and mental boundaries protect your right to have your own feelings and thoughts, to not have your feelings criticized or invalidated, and not have to take care of other people's feelings. Our emotional boundaries are important because they give us the personal space—emotional, mental, physical, or otherwise—we need in a given situation. Emotional and mental boundaries are vital because they create the foundation for healthy relationships with the self and with others. When healthy boundaries are not present, people can be left feeling angry or sad due to interactions that create a sense of being taken advantage of, devalued, unappreciated, or even bullied.
The simplest way to think of an emotional boundary is a clear line of what is and is not yours to deal with. This might be something that someone is actively trying to put on you, or it may be a situation where they do not realize how much their actions affect you. I have so many great examples of emotional boundaries unfortunately being overstepped by friends. If you personally know me, you know I am a vocal creature with little fear to breathe the fire that is my boundaries. So, I am amazed when friends consistently choose to overstep my known boundaries in clearly selfish attempts to inflate their ego in unhealthy ways and use me to do so. You better know in your heart of hearts that I always need these relationships, even if we have countless amazing memories and my heart feels so big for them. The fact that these people either actively chose to overstep my boundaries or have such a dysregulated nervous system that they can not ever regard my boundaries because they always need to instantly feel better or inflated, this fact is exactly why they can not be in my life. I choose to protect my Self, honor my Self, and put my Self first when I say no to peoples incessant bulshit of walking all over my boundaries.
I talk about toxic self care and toxic femininity on instagram weekly. Welcome to my first conscientious rant here. Follow me as I tie together toxic behavior with crossing emotional boundaries.
You go to meet up with a best friend and are super excited to spend much needed time together. There is much to talk about and catch up on, and at least for you, you are just over the moon to be in a god friends company and nothing more. You do not have any other agenda or needs, you simply want to spend time with your friend. Unfortunately, your friend does have an agenda and further unstated needs. Though your friend knows you have a hard boundary of not being everybody's therapist, she doesnt care and instantly starts to unload. You are not her friend, you are her soundboard. What's more, and always annoying, is she doesn't want advice or to hear you talk, she just wants to emotionally vomit or obsess over a recent experience. This is a major boundary overste she is choosing to do. Furthermore, is this a good friend? Or is this a friend we might be able to identify as a taker? Or perhaps their nervous system is so dysregulated all the time by the lower level choices they are making that they need to constantly talk about their life and apparent shit storm. Whatever the reason is, it is not reason enough for your hard boundary to be thrown out the window. In these very common cases, if your speaking up time again is not warranting the response you need in regards to your boundaries, then that person should not be warranted to be your friend.
Emotional boundaries will make or break how you fundamentally feel every single day.
Please take care and choose your boundaries always.
How do we implement boundaries and communicate our needs?
Simply put, you can communicate your boundaries by verbalizing the impact things make on your comfort levels. Boundaries speak to what we identify and solidify as comfortable or uncomfortable. Learning how to say No and when to say No is a game changer for better boundaries. Many times we fear of saying No because we feel like we owe others a dissertation essay level response to why we can not engage or do something. Unless someone asks, you do not need to over explain everything decision you make. The decisions you make should be assumed to be aligned with your needs.
Something important to note, is when we express our boundaries to not be aggressive. It can be very easy to react when we feel like someone is doing us dirty or choosing to go against us. It is a heavy reminder to us all that humans can not remember every single detail, especially about other humans. Use your words like the adult we see in our head that raises great children and makes good friends. It can be tough to emotionally regulate, but with practice we can say things in better ways and be more clear about our needs without fear of rejection.
The best approach to communicating boundaries is taking the time to have a conversation about them with another. A conversation allows both parties to get clear on why the boundary is necessary, allows for clarification, and establishes a healthy pattern of getting to know one another. Conversations can be anxiety inducing. When we discuss our needs with people that care about our growth and wellbeing, we are not attacked, shamed, or convinced otherwise. Take note of the people in your life and if they are okay with your establishing or reestablishing boundaries. If someone seems reluctant of you aligning more what your needs, have a conversation to inquire on this hesitation and gauge the best you can if this person is well-intentioned for you.
Staying in Our Lane
When we stay in our lane we are guaranteed to be going towards our needs. Our lane consists of our boundaries and standards. Today we talked in length on what boundaries are, why we might lack boundaries, and how to better establish them to live the life we need. Next week we get clear on our standards and what minimum we will ever accept in our life. Standards ensure we get the things, people, and experiences we need from life that further supports our growth and contentment. Standards are implemented in business, relationships, health and diet, and so much more. Do you have standards? Can you think of people that have high or low standards? Do people with high standards seem to live a certain life?
It is always up to us! We always have control, even if it seems we have lost it. It never slips away from our grasp.
All the best today beeb!
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