Updated: Mar 27
We all know we should have boundaries. We've heard it a thousand times before: "Set healthy boundaries," "Know your limits," and "Don't let people walk all over you." But the truth is, there's a huge gap between what we say we'll do and what we actually do. It's easy to talk the talk, but when it comes down to it, setting and enforcing boundaries can be incredibly difficult.
That's why I created a boundary manifesto. This manifesto is a set of guidelines that I use to help me navigate relationships and stay true to myself and my goals. And I want to share it with you because I believe it can help you too.
Let's start by talking about what boundaries really are. Boundaries are guidelines that help us define what is and isn't acceptable in our lives. They're not rules or ultimatums, but rather a way of communicating our needs and expectations to others.
To make these boundaries effective, I believe they need to be written down. When we write things down, we create a framework that we can refer back to when we need it. It also activates our RAS (Reticular Activating System) in our brain, which helps us to focus on the boundary-breaking moments and be more mindful of our interactions with others.
That's where my boundary manifesto comes in. It's a set of written guidelines that I use to help me stay on track and hold myself accountable. And it includes a go-to script that I can use in situations where I need to enforce my boundaries.
Here's an example of how the manifesto works in practice: Let's say I'm working on a goal of being more assertive in my relationships. I might write down a boundary that says: "I will not let others talk over me or dismiss my ideas." Then, when I'm in a situation where someone is talking over me, I can refer back to my manifesto and use the go-to script that I've written down: "I appreciate your input, but I need to finish my thought first."
This approach has been incredibly helpful for me, and I hope it can be helpful for you too. By creating a set of written guidelines and a go-to script, you can be more intentional in your interactions with others and stay true to your own needs and goals.
Remember, setting boundaries isn't always easy. It can be uncomfortable, and it can even feel selfish at times. But it's an essential part of building healthy relationships and achieving our goals. So I encourage you to take some time to create your own boundary manifesto and see how it can help you along the way.
Here are three questions to help you build your own boundary manifesto:
What are some common situations where you tend to feel drained or taken advantage of? For example, do you have a hard time saying "no" to requests from coworkers or family members? Do you often find yourself getting drawn into drama or conflict that doesn't serve you?
What are your core values and priorities? What do you want your life to look like? What are the things that matter most to you? Use these values to guide your boundary-setting decisions.
What are some specific actions you can take to enforce your boundaries? For example, can you set specific work hours and avoid checking email outside of those hours? Can you have a frank conversation with a friend or family member about what behaviors are acceptable and what aren't? Can you practice saying "no" to requests that don't align with your priorities?
Setting boundaries can be challenging, especially when it involves the people we love most. But it's important to remember that boundaries are not about pushing people away, but rather about creating healthy relationships based on respect and mutual understanding. By taking the time to reflect on your values and needs, and crafting a boundary manifesto that aligns with a healthy relationship you build stronger connections. So empower yourself to confidently communicate your boundaries and protect your emotional and mental well-being. Embrace the power of boundaries - they are an essential part of any healthy relationship.
For example "I will prioritize my mental and emotional health by saying no to requests that drain my energy, and yes to opportunities that bring me joy and fulfillment. I will communicate my needs clearly and kindly, without fear of judgment or rejection. And I will honor my own values and beliefs, even when they differ from those around me, in order to live a life that is authentic and true to myself."
Remember, setting boundaries is an ongoing process and it takes time and practice to get it right. But with a clear boundary manifesto in place, you'll have a framework to guide your decision-making and help you stay true to yourself and your values.