Ep 12: Boundaries

With healthy communication, many couples don’t need lots of boundaries. Shocker, I know!! But we can have the freedom to ebb and flow with each other and trust ourselves to respect each other in our conversations.

Yet, there are times, when we do need to take a step back and ask ourselves, “why do I feel taken advantage of here?” Or, “Why do I feel like I’m not honoring my own needs?

When you feel like you’re being walked all over, or that someone is treating you in a way that you don’t agree with, the first step is to get clear on what boundaries you need to create. 

Listen to episode 12 and learn how to create better boundaries.

What You’ll Learn From This Episode

  • Why the approach we’ve been taking to boundaries is not helpful
  • Who a boundary is for
  • What a boundary is not
  • Why you are in control of appropriate boundaries 
  • How boundaries help you to be in charge of your own emotions.

Grab a pen and notebook … you’ll wanna take notes on this one!

If you want help implementing the tools I teach, I would be honored to be your life coach. Working with a coach helps you to create change quicker, easier, and with more fun along the way! Are you ready to create a more Joyful Love in your own Life and Marriage? Then click here to find out more. 

Mentioned On The Show:

Get more help with The Confident Marriage Workshop here: https://www.rachaelcunninghamcoaching.com/confidence

Podcast Transcript:

If you don’t have boundaries in your life, you are going to say yes too often, you’re gonna be confused at what your role is in creating your own joy in life, and often if you don’t have boundaries where you NEED to, you’ll feel like your love is not genuine and authentic.

However the way most of us think about boundaries is completely useless.

Usually when you hear someone talking about boundaries it’s them complaining that someone else isn’t respecting their boundaries.

But that’s where we get stuck. We recognize that someone is is crossing our boundaries and we keep going back and forth between getting upset about it to ignoring it and allowing it.

And it becomes a vicious cycle that leaves you feeling exhausted and not respected.

So … the first thing we need to understand about boundaries is that this way of looking at them is the furthest thing from helpful! Expecting others to jump on board and respect your boundaries leaves your life in their hands.

To truly understand boundaries it’s important to realize that boundaries are about what YOU will do.

If you have a rule that says, No smoking in my house …. But a friend comes over  and they light up a cigarette, the right question is NOT, “why aren’t you respecting my boundary?”  The right question is, “what will I do?”

Will I ignore the issue and allow it? If so, you’re not respecting your own boundary.

Or will I say, “Hey friend, remember I don’t want smoke in my house – please finish your cig outside!”

It’s not up to the friend to be enthusiastic about your boundary…. It’s up to you to be enthusiastic about your own boundary!

Complaining at them and criticizing them is not going to help you hold a boundary.

Reminding them that you do not want smoke in your house and telling them, “You can come in when you’re done smoking,”  is you respecting yourself and the boundary you implemented.

So without proper boundaries…you are not caring for your relationship with yourself. You’re not honoring your own needs – from physical to emotional to spiritual and if this is the way you show up in life consistently … never respecting your OWN desires for boundaries, you will start to feel very overwhelmed in life and take advantage of.

So, boundaries are necessary.

They are a beautiful part of any relationship.

And they are for YOU. Hear that…. Boundaries are for you – for you to decide what you need and want out of life. They are for you to decide what you need and want out of a relationship.

So many times when we think about boundaries we think about setting limits so that another person will not cross that limit. We think setting boundaries is about making rules to control another person’s Behavior. We draw a line in the sand and say, “don’t cross that line.”

And that’s why most of us avoid boundaries all together. Because we realize that we’re trying so hard to get another person to change, another adult to change who they are and what their habits are. So Boundaries become exhausting because we approach them with the assumption that other people should believe in our boundaries as much as we do!

SO … to create boundaries that actually work for us, we have to back up and get really honest with ourselves. Taking care of ourselves, Growing, learning, and building good habits for ourselves is plenty enough responsibility. Trying to change other people does not usually work, and trying to get others to change their habits does not help you feel any more peace and joy in your own life.

So if our job is not to change others. And our job is not to try to convince other people to make change where we think they should make change, how can we use boundaries in a way that’s helpful … in a way that puts us in control of our own peace and joy in life?

To have peace about that line in the sand we draw, we have to embrace the new perspective that Boundaries are not for other people. They are not to control other people. They are not to get them to finally see things from our perspective.

Boundaries are for ourselves.

When I create a boundary in my life, it is up to me and only me to honor that line I drew.

If someone crosses that line – me complaining, yelling, criticising and wishing they wouldn’t cross it is only gonna cause relationship struggle. And it’s gonna stop connection and good communication from happening.

To stop the struggle … I have to get clear on what I will do. What will I do if that boundary is crossed.

Most of us are not clear on what we’ll do, so we’re super loose with our boundaries and out of guilt or wanting others to like us, or even wanting to prove ourselves in some way … we ignore the boundaries that we half heartedly set and we really never stop saying, yes or okay to things we don’t feel are okay for our own lives.

But clear boundaries that are set with intention, with a clear plan in place,  honors your own needs and helps you know when and how to say no.

Many times in romantic relationships, we dont’ need a TON of boundaries!  We just need really good communication.

We need conversations where you are both able to express your desires and needs and you’re flexible to honor your desires AND your partner’s desires.

But so many times, the conversations stop being productive when we think that boundaries mean making demands on your partner to change.

Making these rigid demands is not helpful because your partner is an adult who gets to make their own decisions. They get to decide what habits they’ll focus on changing, they get to decide how they show up in life, they get to decide what is most important for them in this life. You don’t get to decide that for them just by creating a boundary.

But … You DO get to decide how you think and feel about their decisions. You DO get to decide what you actions YOU will take! That’s where your power is with boundaries. Not in making someone else see things like you do … but in honoring your own physical, emotional, and spiritual needs for yourself.

This can be on very small issues like, how many days per week you want to watch tv to big issues like what you will do if your partner yells at you and says belittling things to you when they’re stressed out.

The ball is in YOUR court to honor your own needs and desires.

What will YOU do to value your time? If you’re partner wants to watch tv every night, you DON’T have to watch with them.

What will you do to take care of your emotions if you have a partner who yells.

You get to choose ANYTHING in these situations.   You can choose to say,
If you continue to watch tv late at night, I’m going to find somewhere else to sleep so I can rest.

You can choose to say, “if you continue to yell at me to release stress, i will choose to leave the room …. Or you might even decide to leave the relationship if it’s a big enough issue for you.”
Or you might say, “if we are going to make this relationship work, I want you to get professional help to manage your stress and anger. If you don’t, then I will leave the relationship.”

The ULTIMATE boundary keeper is YOU. When you take control of what YOU do … You are not waiting for years and years for people to respect you.

You are not waiting for other people whether it’s your partner, a friend, or your parents to think more like you.

You decide ahead of time what you need and desire in your own life for peace and joy … and you make it happen. Regardless of if they want that same thing or not.

We also need to be clear that just because we want something in life, doesn’t mean our partner has to want it. Many times we view someone as “bad” because they don’t want the same things we do.

Let’s say that you want to spend every Saturday for 4 hours working on household chores together.

And you try to set a boundary that Saturday is chore day for your family.

Well that sounds great, right, You’ll All work together as a team, get stuff done and you’ll feel supported in the process.

 However what happens when your partner has a strong desire of their own for saturdays?  Their desire might be to relax on Saturdays because they’ve worked a stressful job all week.

This is another area where boundaries start to fall apart. When we Start to believe that other people have to plan their lives around our desires for us to feel taken care of it takes all the power of our life out of our control.

For this reason I actually believe most romantic Partnerships don’t need a lot of boundaries. Again, they just need really good communication. They need to drop criticism,  drop resentment, drop blame, and communicate with kindness and love.

Rigid boundaries hinder this type of connection.

Oftentimes rigid boundaries lead to resentment if they’re not left. And that leads to lose boundaries where you don’t even communicate your needs anymore you just do everything by yourself and allow behavior that you don’t want without any plans action from your part.

When we do find ourselves with such loose personal boundaries, you will know because you feel resentful and taken advantage of.

If this is you, I want you to start with a few simple things this week.

You have to start by coaching yourself.

Sit down with a pen and paper and get clear on what you want. And regardless of if another person wants that too …. Why is this boundary important to you?

The next question is “If that boundary is crossed, What will YOU do?”

To answer this question I want you to spend enough time coaching yourself that whatever you choose to do if that boundaries crossed that is coming from a place of complete and total love.

 Love for yourself and love for the person who might be Crossing that line.

 I want you to come up with what you will do before it happens next. When we make up rules In the Heat of the Moment, we often overcomplicate save end make roll or demand out of frustration. When we come back and apologize and say oh I didn’t mean that or whatever. But if you make the decision beforehand of what exactly you will do if this line is crossed you know that you have used your higher brain to understand why you’re going to do what you’re doing. And you’ve made that choice out of love for yourself and love for the other person.

So make your boundary very clear with yourself first.

Decide what you will do if that line is crossed.

Then, honor your own commitments.

Respect yourself enough to respect your boundaries.

There are many areas you can implement this in:

If you want a free weekend, give yourself a stopping point. Don’t keep working all day just because there’s more to be done. Set boundaries with yourself so that you have plenty of down time.

Now your brain is gonna resist this. You’re gonna see that there are constantly things that need to be done. And your brain is gonna wnat to blame your partner for their lack of help and honoring your boundaries of sharing the chores.

So now is the time to bring in that loving and peaceful conversation with your partner that starts with LOVE but allows you both the opportunity to share your desires your wishes and your struggles. From LOVE, you get curious… and you hear each other speak so that you can understand your partner. And the more you do this the more you’ll realize you don’t have to draw a Line in the Sand for your partner the only lines you need to draw are for yourself.

Most of the time when I talk to women and my clients about boundaries, the things that come up most are the emotional and physical load of carrying so much responsibility. they feel like they’re being taken advantage of. They feel like the weight of everything from parenting to home life to doctor’s appointment to making sure homework gets done, so much of it falls on them.

And they start to realize that they don’t have any boundaries for themselves. They say yes to everything. And they keep saying yes because they’re afraid that if they say no everything will fall apart.

Afraid to say no because we try to maintain a certain image that says we have it all together. We’re a great mother and a great wife, a great friend, a great daughter, and that’s why Everyone likes me because i’m so together. And we tell ourselves, if I stop being so together and stop juggling all the things, I might not be good enough.

And beyond what others think…. I might not like myself. I have to proving myself .. not just to others, but to myself.  We hold on to these subconscious believes that the more we do the better we are. And so we have zero boundaries with and for ourselves. We’re too loose … we don’t say no… and we let people walk all over us.

The answer is to remember the boundaries are for us.

Boundaries are decisions that we create ahead of time for ourselves out of love for everyone involved.

And in a relationship, good communication leads the way
When you have excellent communication and appropriate boundaries, you can feel relaxed and trust that you will respect YOUR own boundaries.

So let me break this down…. Appropriate boundaries include 5 skills.

  1. Appropriate boundaries are planned ahead of time from a place of love.
  2.  Appropriate boundaries do not hinder communication with others. They keep the lines of dialogue open. You allow yourself to stay curious and respectful of the other person.
  3. Appropriate boundaries easily say no when needed.
  4. Appropriate boundaries easily allow others to say no when needed.
  5.  And appropriate boundaries allow you to be in charge of your own emotions when others need to express their emotions.

With these skills in place no matter what your issue is that you need to create more boundaries around, you’re going to do so with more ease, peace end love, for yourself and your partner or whoever it is that you need more boundaries with.

So whether it’s creating better teamwork at home like we mentioned above, or if it’s something bigger like honoring your desire for change in a specific area. These five skills are going to help you honor your boundaries so that you are caring for your own physical, emotional, and spirtual needs in the process.

Sometimes I work with clients whose biggest issue is teamwork. Other times I’ve worked with clients whose partners are withholding truth from them in major areas such as money, or where they spend their time. Sometimes I work with clients whose partners are very easily angered and yell a lot. And many times I work with clients whose partners drink a lot and it’s affecting their home life.

 All of these issues can bring up a lot of discussion about boundaries.

 So whether it’s teamwork or one of these other big issues, it’s very important to get clear on what you want. And instead of pointing at your partner and saying you have to change or demanding them to change, a way more helpful question to ask is what do I need to do to make sure that I am honoring my own needs. What do I need to do to honor my own desires in this area? How can I show up in my own life … in this specific situation … where I can be super proud of myself and the way I handled that?

So plan ahead of time, from love.

Which brings me to skill number one appropriate boundaries are planned ahead of time.

 So whatever the issue is that you want more peace around, I want you to think about and imagine the next time that that is going to happen. The question is what am I going to do. how am I going to honor my own needs and take care of myself? What boundaries will I set, and how will I respect my own boundaries? How are you going to care for yourself.

So before the line is crossed, use your higher brain to make higher choices. The simple as this, when this happens, this is what I will do. And then your choice in that moment is from a place of love and kindness and logic in an effort to create peace within yourself and to protect yourself physically emotionally and spiritually.

2. When you do this, when you plan ahead of time, then you open the doors to the second skill of appropriate boundaries which is communication. You can have that conversation ahead of time and say “ hey if  this thing happens again I want you to know that this is what I’m going to do to protect my own needs in that moment.

3. Planning ahead also helps you with the skill of saying no. Saying no and honoring your own boundaries is a skill that takes practice. when you plan for things that you know are sticking points for you, it helps you to say no easier.

A simple example of this for me is going to see movies….

 My husband and I love seeing movies we love love love to go to a movie theater and see a good movie.  Since I wake up pretty early now, I get pretty tired later at night. So I had to set the boundary for myself that if we were going to go see a movie we had to go see an earlier one like around 6 or 7. So that I can get home at a decent hour. And so that I didn’t feel like I was falling asleep during half the movie. I had to get clear on that desire … and then I had to communicate it to cris. I had to communicate that need. I couldn’t just be super spontaneous at 8 or 9 at night and agree to see a movie. In order to take care of myself I had to say this is what I’m going to need to honor my own physical and emotional needs. So if you ask at 8 or 9 at night, I’m gonna say no.

 it’s the simple things in life that we need to create some more boundaries for ourselves around so that we don’t constantly feel overwhelmed and exhausted by saying yes to people constantly. When we plan ahead of time what our desires are when we take a minute to notice what our desires are and plan ahead of time according to them, we’re going to have so much more peace and joy in our own lives.

we’re going to feel like our boundaries aren’t always being crossed without us knowing what to do about them.

4. And when you get really good at creating and respecting your own boundaries,  you really start to respect and honor other people’s boundaries as well. So back to that first example that I gave when sometimes on Saturday mornings 1 partner wants to do all the chores together and one partner desires rest… When you honor your own ability to say no, you will turn that and honor your partner’s ability to take care of themselves in the way that they need to. Your conversation again will flow smoother and easier. And you’ll work out your differences in a much more peaceful way because you’re honoring each others autonomy over their own lives.

This one is so important in creating that beautiful world of romance mixed with teamwork and commitment and genuine, authentic love for each other. When you can allow each other the freedom and ability to say no when you need to without trying to make the other person feel guilty about it, you create safety in your relationship.  And you drop the need for perfection in your relationship.  You allow things to eb and  flow in a much more comfortable and trusting way.

5.  And you’ll  be in charge of your own emotions when others need to express their emotions.

The truth is all of us get frustrated at times. We can all feel overwhelmed and want to release that and express it verbally.
These moments can happen with yourself and that can happen with your partner. When you or your partner feels like you’re not honoring their own needs in life – They might need to vent or Express yourself emotionally. You or your partner may vent about work, you may vent about the dirty house, or you may have been sad about all kinds of things.

 And so being able to hold space for your partner is a form of having boundaries for yourself too.

In this situation when your partner is venting about something –  many times we want to protect ourselves from feeling their emotions. So we try to fix it for them, and we try to tell them how they should do things differently. Or we may even feel so uncomfortable with them sharing their emotions that we escape and check out ….  and we ignore what their processing by looking at our phones or by getting busy doing something else.

Part of having boundaries for yourself means that someone else can express their emotions and you can remind yourself “hey it’s not my job to fix them. I can allow them to express their emotions while I also remind myself that I can have peace in this moment as well. I can love them by listening to them and not feel like I have to escape. I can trust them to work through this … and I will be hear for them while they do.

 the more you realize that you are in control of your own emotions, the more you will be able to be present and hold space for someone else whether it’s your partner or your kid or your mom or your friend or the checkout lady at the store when they want to express their emotions.

 And the beautiful thing about that is the more you can allow other people to express their emotions, the less scary it is when you express your emotions. Yes we went to create as much peace and joy in our lives as possible. Yes we want love and kindness to lead the way.

But we also have  very real negative emotions that include sadness, grief and anger. those emotions are not meant to be ignored. Sometimes they need to be expressed as well. Allowing others to express themselves and allowing yourself to express yourself is part of a beautiful relationship with appropriate boundary.

So … this weak as you’re checking in as to where you need to honor your own boundaries in life – number one, start to notice where you’re feeling overwhelmed and which situations you are in but that you don’t want to be in any more.

Spend some time writing about why you want this to be different. Then spend some time asking yourself what would love to do in these situations. Love for myself and love 4 My People.

And then I want you to come up with an Appropriate boundary. Remember the boundary is not for them to abide by. Of course we want them to abide by our boundaries!!  that would make it so easy for us right?

 However we’re taking the power back in our boundaries. So I want you to ask yourself if this boundary is crossed where is my control? What am I going to do if this boundary is crossed again? Make that decision from a place of love for everyone involved including yourself.

Make it an appropriate concsequence that you will actually stick to.  Don’t create some random consequence that’s to get back at the person. That’s not love. We’re not getting back at people here. We’re taking care of ourselves.

When you intentionally create boundaries, and plan ahead of time what you will do … from a place of love …  you’re gonna start to become a person with appropriate boundaries and you’re gonna create a lot more peace and joy in your own life.

  1. You have to plan ahead of time
  2. You need to make your plan based on love.
  3. And you need to honor your own commitment to to stick to the plan.

Have a great week friends!

I’ll see ya next time!

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