Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you walk away from it saying, “GOSH, he/she pisses me off so much!” or, “Man oh man, he/she drives me up a wall.”
Trust me – we all have. I spent most of my life having thoughts like that about a myriad of people. It sucked. At the end of the day, it was like other people had control over how mad, annoyed or happy I was.
It boiled down to having a ton of negativity in my life that I was sick of dealing with.
Eventually, I realized something that changed the entire game about all of this:
I was choosing to let those people affect me negatively.
And to be honest with you, if you found yourself nodding your head to the first few sentences of this blog post, then you are, too.
Related: How to Leave Situations that Don’t Make You Happy
When people cause negativity in your life, the reality is that you have made the decision, whether consciously or not, to let them do that. You choose how people affect you. You choose to let others give you positive or negative energy!
And that’s where setting boundaries comes in.
What does it mean to set boundaries, anyway?
You always have the option to tell other people that you’re not going to let them bring negative energy into your life. Even if they are just inherently negative people, it doesn’t matter.
Think of setting boundaries like this:
You are Planet Earth, the other negative person is a meteor, and your boundary is the atmosphere that the meteor will be destroyed in. (I think that’s a beautiful metaphor, I’m just sayin’, LOL)
In my definition, boundaries are a way for you to protect your mental space and your energy from others. They allow you to say, “I’m making the choice to NOT let you bring me down.”
After all, boundaries are a form of self-care.
Example of a boundary I have:
I might ruffle some feathers here, but I have a VERY strict boundary when it comes to politics.
As I got older, I realized that most of the time, politics (at least in the United States!) are cause for people to get into very heated “discussions” and rarely hear each other out. It ends up being an argument.
I know that I have political views that most people disagree with, and I know that arguing it with people that aren’t directly involved in politics don’t make a difference anyway.
After that realization, I set a boundary that I will not discuss politics with people unless they either a) can be civilized about it or b) have real political power to do something about what I have opinions on.
That ends up being a grand total of about 3 people in my life, lol, but it protects my energy. That’s what’s most important to me.
The key to having effective boundaries
It’s one thing to set boundaries. You can very easily set some and then before you know it, someone is walking all over that boundary like it’s a big ‘ole pile of bubble wrap. (I am KILLIN’ it with the metaphors today.)
The most important aspect of setting boundaries is being able to stand your ground when you have to implement them.
That can be really scary, depending on WHO you’re setting the boundary with. Maybe it’s with your scary older brother (hi Zak, hi Zane, lol) or your Uncle Steve that you know could drop your ass to the ground in one second. Maybe it’s your Grandma that has a no-sass policy.
BUT. You have to remember that these boundaries are set to protect YOU. And that’s really important!
One of the best ways for you to continuously be able to stand up for those boundaries is to have a complete understanding of why you set them in the first place.
The more you understand something, the more you believe it. Think about it – if someone told you the sky was green, you wouldn’t believe them until you saw it and understood it for yourself.
If you set a boundary with someone just because “they annoy you,” it’s not that effective. WHY do they annoy you? Is it their voice? Is it a certain topic they talk about that drives you nuts?
Let’s dive into how to build that understanding and set boundaries that really work for you.
How to set boundaries that work
I want to help you as much as possible with making sure that your boundaries are working for you. Your energy and mental space are just as important as anyone else’s! Don’t let other people throw negativity at you like you’re a dart board.
Take these two tips to help you with setting boundaries and set however many boundaries you need to keep your energy positive and vibin’ high!
Be as detailed as you can possibly be
You need to nail down exactly what a person does or says or how they act that is driving you to set a boundary. It’s no time to be vague!
Get into the nitty gritty. What about them has brought you negativity? What is it that you don’t want to put up with anymore?
The details can vary wildly depending on your preferences and who you’re setting the boundary with. Don’t be afraid to think that maybe your boundary is “too weird,” or “too much to ask of someone,” or “mean.”
Something to remember is that, as much as you choose positivity or negativity in your life, other people do the same. If someone reacts badly to your boundary, that’s on them.
We’re over here making sure that your mental space is as clear of negative thinking and energy as possible!
Prioritize what’s most important to you and where your energy goes
Listen – you NEED to be organizing your priorities at all times! That’s not just your to-do list. You always should be considering what your priorities in all areas of your life, including what’s worth your energy and time.
If there’s something that’s low on your priority list and is still sucking a lot of your energy, then you need to set a boundary with it!
To better explain this, let’s use an example.
Imagine that there’s someone in your life that rants to you a LOT about what they’re going through in life, and that negativity tends to bleed into your life.
But let’s also say that that person is really important to you and you want to make sure that they feel heard and cared for.
At that point, you may decide that, because they’re high on your priority list, it’s okay to have that bit of negativity from them. That is you choosing to allow it because they’re high priority for you!
And there’s no shame in that at all – it’s ultimately your decision.
You just need to understand where your priorities lie. Maybe that person isn’t super high on the list, and you therefore need to set a boundary (or multiple) with them.
Think about where your energy goes, what you enjoy doing, the people in your life, etc!
After you decide on your priorities, you’ll be much more able to decide who needs a boundary and who doesn’t. Making it much clearer in that way boosts your understanding of your boundaries and makes them more effective!
Like what you just read? Check this out.
Now you know all about setting boundaries effectively – start using them!
Setting boundaries is an absolutely fantastic way to protect your energy, practice self-care, and know your worth. You don’t have to live with negative energy in your life! Start getting rid of it with these steps to set boundaries!
Have you ever set a boundary before? What did you think of these tips? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to chat. 🙂