Your Boundaries Are A Brilliant Blessing!


When the topic of boundaries arises, what comes up for you?

Negative or uncomfortable feelings? If so, you may view boundaries as selfish, hurtful, or even rude. Or you may believe that boundaries are a means of controlling others or that they are a way of pushing people away. Perhaps the idea of setting boundaries triggers fear – fear of what others will think, fear of how they may react, or even a fear of losing valued relationships.

On the other hand, if you’ve experienced the brilliant blessing that healthy boundaries offer, I’m certain that the concept of boundaries stirs an assortment of positive feelings for you. You know full well how boundaries offer protection, clarify what you are responsible for, and honor you in many different ways. Plus, with healthy boundaries you have more confidence, enjoy more fulfilling relationships, and are able to be more authentically you. Those are some pretty happy perks!

I’ve described to ends of the spectrum – negative and positive, but you may fall somewhere along the continuum between the two. No matter where you land, boundaries are essential.

Why Boundaries?

When my husband and I bought our house nearly ten years ago, our lot was surrounded by empty lots full of trees. Since there were no neighbors near us and fences aren’t all that common in our neck of the woods, we didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the lot lines.

Then one day about a year and a half ago all that changed! A lovely couple purchased the two lots on one side of us to build their dream house and when they had their lot surveyed and the lot lines were staked out, we were shocked! It turns out that several of the trees we’d planted, the beautiful sod and the sprinklers we had installed were all on their lot. We had seriously overstepped our boundaries by several feet!

Thank heavens our new neighbors have been quite easy to work with! While they did remove several of the trees we’d planted (that’s a little sad), they actually went above and beyond and had their sprinkler guy move our sprinklers to our side of the lot line – something they technically weren’t required to do!

Where’s the Line?

Knowing where the lot line actually was led to us to another surprising realization. When the memorable Easter tornado of 2020 ripped through our neighborhood seven trees fell on our house and deck. It was quite a mess! Turns out that several of the trees that fell were not even on our side of the lot line and were actually the responsibility of the undeveloped lot owner, not ours. Ugh! If we’d only known!


If we’d known the “boundaries” of our property, the owner of the empty lot would have had to assume some of the responsibility for the chaos in our yard. We also would not have planted replacement trees or laid as much sod down – we could have saved a few bucks! And we definitely would not have installed sprinklers on our neighbor’s property!

Boundaries make complete sense when you are talking about literal lot lines, but become more obtuse when applied to our personal and professional lives! Knowing where those boundaries ought to be often feel vague and confusing.

What Boundaries Are

I absolutely love this quote because it puts boundaries in a light you may not have previously thought about them:

“Boundaries are what we tell people we will do and they require the other person to do nothing.”
– Dr. Becky Kennedy

Boundaries define what you are responsible for and the actions YOU will take rather than anything you require of the other person. If a boundary is yours, it’s your job to maintain that boundary by the choices you make. Here are a couple of examples:

Example #1

Mondays are the day I do the bulk of my administrative work so that the remainder of the week I’m able focus my attention on my clients. In order to ensure that my Monday’s are dedicated to all the behind-the-scenes activities that are necessary for a thriving coaching practice, I block out the entire day on Mondays so it is not possible to schedule an appointment with me.

I also make it a practice to refrain from scheduling anything that day even though there are always opportunities to do so. It’s rare that I make an exception because it’s my responsibility to maintain that boundary. I can’t expect you or anyone else to do that for me.

The reward for holding fast to that boundary is that not only do I have an entire day to devote to handling administrative details without interruption, I’m also able to be more present with my clients the rest of the week.

Example #2

Another boundary I’ve created for myself is to make a concerted effort to be in bed by 10:30pm with the possible exception of Friday night where I allow myself a little wiggle room.

In order for me to be in bed by that time, I must wind down whatever I’m engaged in around 9:50pm in order to begin my evening routine. This may sound a bit rigid, but I promise getting to bed at a consistent time and regularly getting enough sleep is critical for me. I function so much better when I’m not tired, making my days more productive and I’m more present as I coach.

Example #3

Both of the previous boundaries help to protect my time and energy, but boundaries protect so much more, including how I want to be treated. I want to speak in a way that honors others, and I want others to speak to me in that same way, so when someone communicates to me in a way that I find disrespectful I first communicate or remind them of my boundary: “Please speak to me in a kinder way or I will have to end this conversation.”

If they continue to speak to me using inappropriate language, a harsh tone, or intentionally hurtful words, it’s my job to let them know: “I’m sorry, please feel free to continue this conversation when you are able to speak more respectfully,” and I simply walk away because it’s my boundary and I’m the one who must take action to reinforce that boundary.

Boundary Side Notes

Boundaries are a brilliant blessing when applied to every area of your life! However, I’ve made some interesting observations over the years when it comes to boundaries.

While you may excel at maintaining boundaries around how people treat you, yet fail to have boundaries when it comes to money or your time. It’s common to have boundary blind spots – areas to shore up your personal and professional boundaries.

Another observation I’ve made is that if you fail to have boundaries in a specific area, you will not respect my boundaries in that area either. If you don’t have boundaries around work, you are more likely to interact with others in ways that don’t honor their boundaries around work.

Finally, don’t expect people to know what your boundaries are, you have to communicate them. Expecting them to read your mind or assuming your boundaries are obvious is a big mistake!

Types of Boundaries

There are a host of different types of boundaries. How well are you maintaining your boundaries in these various areas?

Remember, boundaries are your friend! They define your limits (no, you can’t work 24/7 and do your best work) and what you are responsible for. And you need to know what actions you will take to honor those boundaries.

Remember our undefined lot? Well, imagine if there had been a fence clearly defining our yard. Odds are very good that we would have made different choices!

The Benefits of Boundaries

Those who have healthy boundaries and consistently maintain those boundaries enjoy some pretty amazing benefits including…

  • Reduced resentment and conflict
  • Greater personal growth
  • More satisfying relationships
  • Personal autonomy
  • Increased confidence, self-respect, and likelihood of practicing self-care
  • Emotional health – less anxious and overwhelmed
  • Less burnout and a positive work/life balance
  • Protection from being taken advantage of
  • More confidence
  • Less fear
  • Increased awareness
  • More productive and fruitful lives
  • Greater happiness
  • A more authentic you!

Inspired to improve your personal and professional boundaries? I hope so! And if you’d like to give yourself an edge when it comes to implementing them in to your life and work why not partner with a coach?

How have boundaries been a blessing in your life or work?

Photo Credit: Unsplash / Randy Faith

Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas is an author, entrepreneur, ICF certified coach, Career Direct Consultant, DISC consultant, and HBDI practitioner. She helps her coaching clients sharpen their skills, face their fears, eliminate funky mindsets, hone their habits, and cultivate clarity so they can THRIVE personally and professionally. Schedule a consultation with Marvae here.

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