Setting awesome personal boundaries

Boundaries can make or break your emotional well-being and sometimes your physical well-being. Do you want to feel awesome instead of feeling heavy, or tired, or miserable? Set some personal boundaries!

Today’s video is Part 1 of a series of five videos debunking The Five Most Common Mistakes That Keep You Suffering.

Mistake #1: Not setting awesome personal boundaries

setting awesome personal boundaries

Today we are talking about what happens when we don’t set personal boundaries and how we can.

When we have no personal boundaries, we let the feelings, thoughts and pasts of other people get us down. It makes us worried, stressed, and defensive. Most of the time, these things have nothing to do with us, so why should we let it push us down with an overwhelming heaviness?
Caring about others
 is a good thing, but taking on their stuff doesn’t help either of you.

(For more on how you can love people up without worrying down, listen to my NEW interview Loving Up on Break Free with Trish Blackwell.)

All too often, we are all so concerned about making sure everyone likes us. Even if people don’t give us respect, we feel like we have to go out of our way to please them.

I don’t advocate for being mean, but there is somewhere in the middle.

This is what you do:

Set boundaries where you have power

The first step to setting awesome boundaries is not taking things personal.

This will make a huge difference when you are setting boundaries. It will help you stop trying to set boundaries where you have no power, and start to set boundaries where you have ALL the power.

Where do you have power, you ask? I explain it all in today’s video.

Click to tweet: Set awesome personal boundaries where you have power. @JodiAman #setboundaries #selfrespect

The reason we think we have to set boundaries with other people, is that we are hurt, annoyed, and bothered by what they are doing.

We can correct people who bug us, but often we come away feeling more invalidated.

What if we stopped giving other people the power to make or break our value?

What if we didn’t take what they did personally?

By simply not being available for it.

If we don’t take it personally, it wouldn’t matter at all. It would take none of our brain space and not even hurt us.

Here’s my video on why you take things personally and what to do about it.


Parents, you do set boundaries for your children, because you are doing so to teach them how to be better people. This distinction is because you are in a teaching role.

If you are a boss, teacher, mentor, you may be in relationships were it is appropriate to set boundaries with your charges, but this is different. It is not personal, but part of the job.

Here is your challenge for today:

Tell me about a time when you set boundaries for other people and when you have set boundaries for yourself. Did you notice any difference?

There is great power in you! Can you find it?

Look for the rest of this series: The Five Mistakes That Keep You Suffering

Mistake #2: Thinking you are different

Mistake #3: Making blanket statements

Mistake #4: Thinking you are unlucky

Mistake #5: Judging yourself

38 thoughts on “Setting awesome personal boundaries”

  1. I can’t remember ever being able to set boundaries to others. Maybe that is why I sometimes fail to respect other’s boundaries. In fact, reading or talking about boundaries make me in panic mode since the first time my therapist told me in 2009 I had to set boundaries to other people in my life.

    1. So, what is the panic about. What are you so afraid of? Unpacking that would be key to helping you feel good about yourself. Boundaries are great for healing in more ways than one!

      1. I’m not sure. I really don’t know why it makes me feel this way. I feel like if I set boundaries to people, it means I don’t love them enough. It’s like telling them my love for you is limited and based on conditions. If you cross this line, I’m leaving you

      2. On another hand, if I know I crossed someone’s boundaries, it’s a big failure in being a good respectful person and makes me undeserving to be in this person’s life. I honestly never heard of boundaries in the past. Accepting everything, tolerating everything and being open to others 100% is the only proof of love I know

        1. This would be something it would serve you well to re look at. Partly, the problem might be black and white thinking. Boundaries are hard if you see only in black and white. Boundaries are ephemeral, are flexible and change often. This can be confusing. Someone’s available one day and busy the next. They are nice one day and tired and snappy the next. This is not about your success or failure. It’s about the day they are having. So it is important to think about the point of not taking things personally.

          When you cross boundaries, just say sorry and move on. It is over for the other person-they’ve moved on- probably much faster than for you and ready to relate again. Also, when you feel like a failure this can and often does effect the relationship worse.

          Love can be unconditional, but relating is conditional. People in love argue often and their relationship can be better for it. Crossing lines rarely ends relationships, (unless they are supposed to end.) Usually it helps people learn about each other and brings them closer. Anger rarely means leaving. Sometimes people get angry only when they are secure in a relationship. Anger is not something to fear usless it’s from someone who is abusive. If you get freaked out about your failure, then you can no longer support your loved one through whatever they may need you to support. You become at the center and they get lost. They may pull away because they are not able to express themselves.

          Set boundaries when you love someone, because it helps you negotiate the relationship and continue to lift the other person up and support them.

          Being 100% open hasn’t really gotten you far. Love=pain for you. Fear of loss is too powerful and immobilizing. Only you can change this. You are totally ready for it!

          1. I don’t understand the first paragraph. I mean your explanation is clear, but if boundaries change depending of the other person’s mood then how can I make sure I won’t hurt her by crossing them? It seems hard to believe I can be forgiven for crossing boundaries and I don’t even know how I crossed them. How can a long friendship end just like that because the other person decided ine day to set boundaries

            1. You stop worrying so much about it. If you drive yourself crazy worrying and cause more problems. You know boundaries better than you think, it’s just when doubt takes over, it causes problems. If you stop worrying you’ll eliminate a lot. Also, you can’t take it personally if you bug someone who is having a bad day. It’s no big deal. This is the most important thing to remember. You are forgiven because it not as big of a deal. I want you to work more on setting your own boundaries and stop worrying about anyone else’s. They have to take care of theirs. It is not for you to guess- they will be clear or it is not your problem. Friendships don’t end just like that. Doubt and insecurity over a long period of time can be draining and cause someone to pull away. Stop worrying and your life will change.

              1. I will stop worrying. I will try to set boundaries and do my best to make the doubts shut up. I want to do that. Thank you

  2. Kathy @ SMART Living

    Hi Jodi! Welcome back from your trip! I am definitely looking forward to hearing about it…and loved your photos on FB too!

    Setting boundaries is SO IMPORTANT. I’m not perfect at it but I am getting better….and you are exactly right. The only time I struggle with it is when I’m taking things personally! If I care what others think and/or think it is my “personal duty” to do whatever I’m being asked to do I usually open my mouth and later regret it! Thanks for this reminder on this Monday morning. I will NOT take things personally this week! ~Kathy

    1. Oooh! I am so glad to hear about your committment for the week. This is so helpful in making changes: try something out for a week. Just experiment. Invite yourself to be an outside observer of it. See how it fits. I’ll send you good energy and look forward to hearing about it!

  3. It took me a long time to even understand that I had the RIGHT to set boundaries. It was presented to me as a selfish thing to do. I understand the concept a lot better now and am able to live with the anxiety that setting boundaries can initially cause. Great video, Jodi!
    Tina Fariss Barbour recently posted..CelebratingMy Profile

    1. Oh I know this “guilt complex” thing that people do. I have lived through it. It has stopped me for a long time, too. Then, instead of guilty, I would get frustrated that someone was rude and then I looked bad for saying something. What about them? If people don’t respect boundaries, they have a hard time hearing them and lash back. This does make it hard for us, especially if we are sensative to guilt. Or want people to like us. It’s them acting out of guilt. People ask me know how to say something not to elicit that reaction, but really that is not in your control. They react that way because of them, not you. You just can’t worry about it. Thanks, Tina!

  4. Your videos are so wonderful Jodi! The first time I set boundaries was during my marriage. It was with friends that were stopping over unannounced on a regular basis. My husband endorsed this constant distraction but it was wearing me out. I was exhausted. The boundaries helped for a while. I like your definition to set boundaries where you have the power. Makes all the difference!
    lisa thomson-The Great Escape… recently posted..Awards Without the RulesMy Profile

    1. Wow, that’s tough. We like to be relaxed in our own house and that is hard to do when people are over. Ha! I picture how to set boundaries for yourself would be like to not change for them, so that it doesn’t bother you. If people stopped over unannounced, I can see you going about what you were doing before they came, instead of stopping and entertaining them. Go clean, take a nap, call a friend, go out, or whatever you have to do so that it doesn’t bother you that they are there. I thikn this is about stop worrying that you are being polite if the other people aren’t. You don’t have to be mean, just real, ya know? This was good for me to think about!

  5. Jodi, I really need to set personal boundaries so thank you for this wonderful blog and video. I often feel that not having set personal boundaries makes me feel small and in significant and it gets me frustrated and angry that I am not respected. A question I have is how do I not be available without coming across as rude and seeming to ignore them?

    1. So you can’t control how you are interpreted. You can do the best you can to be kind, but if they are rude and then they think you are rude, it is you or them that has the problem?

      The calmer and cooler you stay it’ll be easier to explain and diffuse the situation. But mostly by you not taking it personally, they’ll never even know they hurt you. People do adjust, and if you make no excuses and have no guilt, they cannot hold onto their feelings and simply stop judging. It’s past them too. Just keep exploring this.

  6. Hi Jodi,
    Its a revelation of sorts, and also validation of my intuitive feelings about our personal boundaries you mention in your post.
    In fact you have articulated something very nebulous very profoundly.Because it is true;that we do let ourselves get astray with others’ behavior and conduct .
    I have always been convinced that our agitation about others’ behaviour is always our OWN responsibility,no body else’s.Yet your definition of our personal boundaries ,and the lack thereof ,introduces an extremely relevant angle to the process of resolution .
    Thanks for your revelation it is worth mulling over and implementing.

  7. It’s good to have you back Jodi.
    This is pure gold for me. I have a hard time setting boundaries. I always feel like I should deal with these issues, I feel like setting boundaries means not dealing with the problem. When in fact setting boundaries mean that we all have our issues and that we can’t take everything from everyone around us, or we’ll lose ourselves completely.
    Not taking the bad energy, that’s right. I am trying. I am trying hard. And I can see the difference. I’ll keep practicing for sure.
    Thanks and stay well.

    1. Setting personal boundaries is not avoidance. This is a common mistake. Stuffing and avoiding, and truly letting go are very different. One comes from fear and guilt and the other from self love. The difference is self compassion and I will talk about that in the upcoming videos. Setting boundaries is about self love. But also love for everyone. You can have compassion for people, without taking on the responsibility of everyone else. It is their jounery, let them live it. Brava to you! You are very welcome! <3

  8. Michael Sosnowski

    You are right that it is important to not take things personal. If someone is not use to you setting boundaries then they not react so nicely when you start to do it, but they will adjust over time. I have had to cut someone out of my life before and it was tough to do but it was well worth it. I think it is important to weight out the pros and cons because at least from my experience, you tend to doubt yourself and a pros and cons list can serve as a good reminder to stay strong.

    I look forward to the rest of the series Jodi.

    1. You are right that some will be startled when you start setting boundaries, but you ought not worry too much about this. Most people think this is the end, but the relationship can only get better from here. Just hang in there, being calm and the other person will adjust. We are a highly adaptable species. Pros and cons are a great idea!

  9. This is for Nikky, because we nested our responses too much!

    Awesome! It starts with intention and willingness. You are on your way!

    Just wanted to add something. Relationships end when people don’t set boundaries and then have to leave because their instincts say this is the only way to protect themselves. When you said “How can a long friendship end just like that because the other person decided one day to set boundaries,” I assume you were talking about someone specific. If you have relationship with someone in emotional turmoil who don’t set healthy boundaries, he or she can leave quite quickly because they have been so hurt in their life, they may have instincts to leave as a mode of survival. This is not you and most of the time you can not prevent this.

    1. You’re right. I was talking about a friend I was or felt very close to during 4 years. She’s the only witness to what I was living. Whatever I can describe, it’s not like what she saw, and I feel that this part is gone with her. It’s like she has taken this part of my life and since then, I feel I am constantly in need to prove to the world that I am not lying or exagerating, and although I know some do believe me, I just wish I can talk more, give details, I want to feel I have a witness.
      Our friendship didn’t face problems. We both faced problem together with others, but not once we argued or got mad with one another. One day, we were talking and laughing, the next day she is out of my life. My therapist (who was hers too) said: she is learning to set boundaries, be patient and you should do the same. It was the first time ever I hear someone talk about boundaries

      1. That is a horrible loss. No wonder you panic over the word boundaries, it being associated with such a trauma. We know the therapist was looney. She must have put her up to it. Told her something like that the relationship was hurting her.

        It’s not gone with her. You two are still connected. I’m sure she is grieving the loss as much as you. She still holds all you told her in her heart knowing it was true. And she probably feels horrible.

        A lot more people believe you than you think. It’s only the mean words of a few who are lead by fear that sustain that story.

        So stop holding back. Maybe you will feel relief when you tell someone. Or for you it may be to write it. However sometimes when you speak of things, it upsets you further for a long time. Make sure it will bring peace.

  10. Its like you wrote this post for me :). I am learning the hard way about what happens when you erase your boundaries to please others… you end up loosing yourself in the process.
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

    1. Yes, but you can remedy that anytime! That’s the good news. These are hard lessons to learn and I am constantly practicing them myself. I love to please people to and have a very strong guilt complex. I work diligently on letting it go everyday! I stopped taking responsibility for others, but still catch myself doing it sometimes. I’m with you!

  11. I totally get the ‘not making yourself available’ part, but what if something someone does is actively degrading your power? For example, I worked on a project where a more senior team member wouldn’t let the more junior team members (including myself) directly answer client questions. We had to defer to the more senior team member. This became especially uncomfortable when the client directly addressed me. I remained silent, and looked to my colleague to answer. What I wish I would have done is set a boundary with him to say, “it’s not okay to silence me.”
    Laura Zera recently posted..Travel: What About a Gap Year?My Profile

    1. I pondered over this comment for a while. I wondered what may have happened if you did say that? It may work out for you, and he might change his ways, but he might make a big stink, or worse prevent you from getting ahead at your job. Or you could have just “disobeyed” and answered anyway. There might have been consequences to this also.
      Was it a power trip or was there a reason? For example this could have been strategic so the client doesn’t divide and conquer during a negotiation. Only one representative from the team speaks. We often think that standing up for ourselves is setting a boundary. But it is a mere symbol of it. Actually standing up for yourself could also mean that he got your goat and thus power for upsetting you in the first place. You say you understand the “not making yourself available” part, but you were available by “feeling degaraded”.

      Don’t get me wrong, I understand and would feel the same way. The trick is to have total compassion for yourself- validating yourself-so that you don’t need him to. You will not longer even feel degraded. And may or may not say or do anything different the next time.

  12. Right now there’s something my son is doing that is causing me pain. It’s not that he’s doing anything to me, it’s just that I don’t like a decision he’s making and I found out about it but not through him. He hasn’t told me. I don’t know what bothers me more: what he’s doing or that he’s kept it from me. Though, there have been “signs” and I think I subconsciously chose not to see it. Does that make sense. It almost feels like a betrayal, and I’m wondering if setting boundaries can help this situation. Hmm…
    monicastangledweb recently posted..Ebola, ShmolaMy Profile

    1. It’s so hard to see our kids make mistakes especially when tey are adults and we have no more control over what they do. You could let him know you know and how you feel.

      Honesty is a good boundary for yourself. You still have no control, but you may feel less intense about it. And maybe you learn if he has regrets or getting ready to stop whatever it is.

      If he plans to keep it up, they you have a choice in ow much you will feel responsible or not. You can care, love him, and have compassion. But your boundaries are that you have full control over what you take responsibility for. Of course, it is more complicated then a straight forward answer. Everything depends and we have to be flexible in relationships! Best of luck.

      You are an awesome mom!

  13. It’s definitely necessary to set personal and emotional boundaries. Otherwise we might lose our power.

    I feel a need to have this boundary. But I sometimes feel that I make this boundary too big. What I mean is that sometimes, our boundaries are so big that we are missing the chance of getting comfort or support from others when we most need it.

    This info is pure gold for me. I appreciate it

  14. I always try not to take things personal. Otherwise. I think there would be a lot of problems in my life. It´s important to just be cool about people´s comments and stuff.

    And understand that people act or have an opinion because of their circumstances. Having this view point will make us stand in their shoes and understand them a little better

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