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Communicating Your Boundaries

“Boundaries are the distance at which I can love you and me simultaneously.”

Prentis Hemphill – Founder of The Embodiment Institute

We’ve made it! It’s time to take all the inner work you’ve been doing and communicate your boundary!

Proactive Versus Reactive Boundary Setting

As we discussed earlier, you might not realise what your limit is until someone exceeds it. In these cases you are communicating your boundary reactively. In other situations you will be communicating a boundary up front. Here’s an example of both…

Example (Reactive Boundary Setting)

Earlier I shared the example of how my kickboxing class timetable changing crossed 3 of my personal boundaries – time, financial and emotional. In this example, what I needed to do was uphold a boundary after a situation had occurred where I felt it had been crossed.

But in this example I don’t need to outwardly state to the instructor that they have violated my boundary. What I need to do, is keep my boundary in mind whilst problem solving how I am going to approach the situation.

So rather than saying “I will no longer be continuing with these classes because your choice of timetable has violated my personal boundaries.” What I did was explain that I had signed up to a monthly rolling contract with the expectation I could go weekly, but as that was no longer the case could I please change my payment plan to pay as you go.

Communicating your boundaries isn’t always about explicitly stating what they are to the other person. Often it’s about basing the decisions you make and action you take on your personal boundaries, and then the resulting communication will be a representation of those boundaries.

Example (Proactive Boundary Setting)

Let’s look at an example of proactive boundary setting. You have just finished a Tutorial and your Tutor asks you to stay behind for 15 minutes to discuss your recent assignment. You feel like you should say yes because this is a person in a position of authority, but staying behind will mean that you are late for work.

Setting a boundary in this instance doesn’t require you to say “No I can not stay behind because this violates my person boundaries of time.” Instead it gives you permission to be able to say “No, I’m sorry I’m not available.” Whilst looking to provide an alternative solution. “Is there an alternative time that works for you?”

Think of a time where you’ve struggled to say “No”

Make a list, or draw a mindmap, of how you could problem solve that situation in a different way. For example, what other solutions you could propose to the person that allows you to say “No” but for them to get what they also need.


Read this article to learn more about using compassion to set boundaries and feeling comfortable doing so.


Read this article for additional tips on guilt-free boundary setting.


3 Top Tips When Communicating Boundaries

Use “I” Statements

Frame your boundaries in terms of your own feelings and needs rather than blaming or accusing the other person. This helps to keep the focus on your own boundaries without provoking defensiveness.

Be Clear and Specific

Clearly articulate what your boundaries are and how you expect them to be respected. Vagueness can lead to misunderstandings, so providing specific examples can help clarify your intentions.

Set Consequences

Clearly communicate the consequences of crossing your boundaries. This can help reinforce the importance of respecting your limits and encourage accountability.