Hi everyone and I hope you are enjoying the British Summer weather.  It is winter here in Sydney so I am envious!

Today we are going to talk about the importance of personal boundaries and how you may feel if you allow someone to over step or walk all over your boundaries.

Setting good boundaries is healthy

Have you ever walked away from a person, event or situation and felt resentful or violated? If some of your experiences are making you uncomfortable, then it may be time to set some personal boundaries.  Setting good boundaries is healthy. It is not rude, bad or wrong. Let me repeat that…..it is not bad or rude to set boundaries! Unfortunately, many people believe that they should not speak up or set boundaries just in case it hurts another’s feelings. 

However, if we don’t have good boundaries in place we will end up feeling resentful and upset.  Not speaking up gives out the message that the emotional wellbeing of the person who has hurt you is more important that your own emotional wellbeing.  The result is that you are happy to protect another person’s feeling – but not your own.

The Good Boundaries

Good boundaries prevent you from being hurt and allow you to feel safe in your environment. They also assist others in knowing where they stand with you and let others know what you want and what you don’t want. A boundary is a limit that defines you as being separate from another person.

So when it comes to how people treat us emotionally, we will all have limits on what we find safe and acceptable.

Here are some examples of weak emotional boundaries:

  1. Pretending to agree with another person when you really disagree.
  2. Allowing people to borrow money / personal possessions and not speaking up when you would like them returned.
  3. Hiding your true feelings ( Saying you don’t feel upset when inside you feel upset).
  4. Attending a party / evening out when you really don’t want to go but would prefer not to let anyone down.
  5. Ignoring your own needs.
  6. Working long hours as you don’t want to let your boss down.
  7. Pushing yourself beyond your own limits.

I also learned as a coach that I needed to set boundaries. I used to let clients say anything they liked to me but now I will not put my emotional needs secondary. If a client was to get aggressive and shout at me during a coaching session, I would set a limit. People can be angry of course, but hostility is not acceptable. In truth, it also does not help anyone to just keep quiet when your boundaries are violated as in this case, I would be setting an example that angry behaviour towards me was acceptable.

An important point to note

When you allow someone to treat you in an upsetting way, the other person will not learn that this is not acceptable behaviour. Protecting yourself and setting healthy boundaries is necessary for both parties.

Once you learn to educate others on what you do or do not find acceptable behaviour towards you, you will notice that some will comply easily with the request – some may however continue to treat you badly. Try a few of these statements to help you get the message across:

  1. I feel uncomfortable when you speak to me like that. Please stop it.
  2. I request that you lower your voice.
  3. What you are saying is unacceptable to me. Please stop it.
  4. I need you not to yell at me when you are angry.

Setting boundaries will help you feel safe in your environment. It is a way to exhibit self-respect – and remember, if you respect yourself, people will respect you!

Practice makes perfect and good boundaries require constant maintenance but they will improve the quality of your life!

Enjoy the summer!


Lisa Phillips is a Life and Confidence Coach based in Sydney, Australia.   Lisa features regularly in the media and has her own life coaching radio show.   To find out more, please see www.amazingcoaching.com.au