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As a professional coach, I have the kinds of conversations that you wish your best friend was trained and willing to have with you: highly intuitive, no bullshit, and consistently relating to you as your best self.

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Open Your Heart…but Take No Shit

Boundaries. Otherwise known as the physical, emotional, and energetic bounds within which we invite/allow others to engage with us. Boundaries illuminate expectations and provide structure to our relationships and interactions. As a tangible example, consider driving. We understand that to drive in the US means that we stay on the right side, and preferably, between the lines. We understand that there are speed limits, and signs, and traffic lights that provide information and direction. We understand that there are potential consequences (wrecks, traffic tickets, bad karma) for not abiding those guidelines.

Makes sense in that example, right? Yet when it comes for our relationships, both personal and professional, many of us struggle to define, communicate, and honor our boundaries.

Non-existent or wobbly boundaries can show up in any number of ways:

  • Saying Yes…when what you really mean is Hell No.
  • Sacrificing your own well-being to prioritize others’ convenience. All the damn time.
  • Making a request from someone and finding yourself disappointed at the outcome.
  • Walking on eggshells to accommodate someone else’s fragile ego.
  • Giving and giving and giving…to a point of depletion.

What is the impact of unclear or unexpressed boundaries?

Resentment. Frustration. Disappointment. Anger. Exhaustion. Being chronically at the mercy of other others’ wants and needs. Codependence. Feeling taken advantage of.

Sounds like a drag.

So why do so many of us avoid boundaries like the plague?

Perfectionism. People-pleasing. Over-achieving. Habit. Extreme discomfort with potentially difficult conversations. Worrying about others’ reactions. Not wanting to disappoint. Not valuing our own worth.

If you haven’t heard this lately (or ever), let me be the one to say: You do not need to move your boundaries so that other people are more comfortable. Period.

What does setting, communicating, and honoring boundaries make possible?

  • Clear, honest communication.
  • Mutual understanding.
  • Shared agreements.
  • Co-created decision making.
  • Freedom to choose.
  • Self-respect.

Sounds great, right? But how do you begin?

Here are 3 practices to get you started:

1. Practice the fine art of saying “no.” No comes in many varieties, and it doesn’t have to land like a slap to the face. Here are just a few:

  • No, thank you.
  • Thanks for thinking of me, but I’m afraid my plate is full.
  • I’m not your gal, but I have the perfect referral for you!

2. Notice which relationships and interactions in your life could be supported my implementing more stable, clear boundaries, and begin defining what that are. Communicating and honoring them can always come later.

3. Take full ownership for the boundaries you create within your relationship. Although you’re not responsible for how others treat you, when you boil it down, creating and honoring boundaries is really about how you treat yourself. And that shit is empowering.

Thoughts, feelings, questions, tips to add? Post a comment. We’ll all benefit.




Open Your Heart…but Take No Shit

  1. Denise Dolan says:

    What a thoughtful and beautifully constructed tutorial! Thanks, Carrie!

  2. Darrell says:

    So helpful, and timely. I’m going to reread this one for a while. Thank you, Carrie.

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