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Drawing The Line In The Sand: 4 Steps To Setting Boundaries

The straw that broke the camels back, was the day a door was slammed in my face. There I was standing at the front door saying my goodbyes, only to have the door shutter in my face moments later. The person I cared for and valued highly, had her own personal issue with me, and I had no clue about it. I won’t reveal any names, but let’s just call this person Ms. Anonymous. As Ms. Anonymous gave me her tongue lashing, to my surprise I was calm, not needing to defend or argue my point. I assume the reason for my calmness was that I knew it was the last time I would allow Ms. Anonymous, or anyone to get out of line with me.

Now usually when Ms. Anonymous and I have had any falling out in the past, I would be the first one to reach out and extend the olive branch. It’s as though she was waiting for me to slither on back to reconcile differences for the 100th time! Not this time, I was ready to draw the line in the sand, and set some crystal-clear boundaries.

Line in the sand

Setting personal boundaries is crucial for maintaining, peace of mind and positive self-esteem. Furthermore, with boundaries we are expressing to the world that we have self-respect, self-worth, and will not tolerate demeaning behavior. Boundaries preserves your integrity, and serves as the physical, emotional and mental limits established to protect you from being manipulated, used, or violated by others.

How To Establish Personal Boundaries?

1. Awareness :

Have you taken notice to how you feel after interacting with particular individuals? Are you uplifted or drained? How does the presence of this person affect you? Once you answer these questions, you would be able pinpoint a relationship in which there is a lack of boundaries. You’re the highest authority on you, so you’ve got take responsibility on how you allow others to treat you.

You may not have your personal boundaries in place if:

  • You’re unable to say NO to unreasonable requests.
  • Passively avoid conflict or confrontation.
  • Take every comment or situation personally.
  • Experience repeated tension, anger or anxiety with certain situations or individuals, yet choose to remain powerless.

2. Mental Preparation :

It’s easy to take action towards setting boundaries, but what stops us in our tracks is the mental rehashing and preparation. For so long, what kept me putting up with Ms. Anonymous’ disrespect was fear of standing my ground and walking away. She and I had so much history that I felt would be ruined, if I were to really enforce my boundaries. I mentally rehashed these thoughts over, and over again.  The remedy for all this mental confusion is to journal your thoughts, and as you release them on to paper your able to inwardly be at peace. By the same token, being present in the ‘Now‘ will allow you to stay grounded in the moment, and prevent you from worrying about the possible scenarios that might occur when you enforce your boundaries.

3. Speak up for You! :

Quietly suffering with discontent will send a blow to your self-worth. Are you afraid to rock the boat, or ruffle anyone’s feathers? When your well-being is on the line, you can’t afford to be a people-pleaser. Accommodating disrespect on your behalf is foolish. Inform others when they’ve crossed the line or disrespected you in any way. Whenever you’re seeking emotional or physical space, don’t be afraid to tell them like it is. Keep in mind that it’s always best to speak up early as an issue comes up, as opposed to waiting until things boil over. Although, it’s better to speak up now, then never. Set your limits and refuse to feel guilty, because what really matters is that you spoke your truth.

4. Enforce the Boundaries :

Not only will you have to set boundaries, but you must enforce and stick to them as well. After politely expressing your concern, and still others won’t adhere to your wishes, you will have to be prepared to take action. For instance, if someone decided to talk to you in an insulting or abusive manner, you might alert them that if they continue you will end the conversation and walk away. Show these violators you mean business, and that there’s a consequence to their disturbing behavior. When you stand your ground, and enforce your boundaries you will teach others how to treat you.

Are you wondering what happened to Ms. Anonymous and I ? After several attempts to resolve issues with her I was tired of reaching out to communicate, so I let my actions do the talking. What that meant for me was walking away until she could admit to wrongdoing and apologize. At this point, if being the bigger person means getting kicked in the face every time, I’ll pass on that. Being the bigger person has its limitations as well!

As to this day, I don’t have any hard feelings towards Ms. Anonymous, and I hope some day soon we can reconcile our differences. But for now, I forgive her and send my well wishes from afar. Besides, I’m proud of myself to have finally enforced my personal boundaries.

In what areas do you have trouble setting boundaries? What are the repercussions when others cross the line with you? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.


Shawna Kay ( Blissed Out Belle )

Kay is a Lifestyle & Empowerment Enthusiast, and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Blissed Out Belle™. Connect with her on Facebook here, and follow her on Twitter @BlissedOutBelle

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