Healthy Boundaries


Hi, everybody. I’m Mike Staver. This is Mondays with Mike, a weekly video series where I answer questions from people just like you. Here’s this week’s question.

“What’s the best way to create healthy boundaries when it comes to friends, family and colleagues? I’m a people pleaser. And don’t want to be mean or harsh, but I really need to get some boundaries in place.”

Yes, well, here’s how you do it, you decide what those boundaries are. Now, let me just give this to you and we’ve answered questions like this before. Let me give you the thing about boundaries that’s really important.

If you have rigid boundaries, like “I’m never going to do that,” or “That will never happen again,” then you create more opportunities for you to break rules and to have problems, okay? So first of all, not rigid boundaries. If you have no boundaries, you’re going to have a lot of issues because you’re going to feel like you’re being battered around by the sea and that battering is going to make you feel very out of control, and like other people have it, have the control. Now, this is an important thing to know about boundaries. Boundaries are not something you set for someone else, boundaries are things that you make choices about.

I want to say that again, boundaries are not for somebody else, I’m not going to say to you, “I’m not going to be around you if you talk to me that way,” because see, that’s a request for you to change your behavior and I don’t have any control over your behavior. But I can say this, “If you’re going to talk to me that way, I choose not to be in this conversation.” This is a very, very important distinction around boundaries. I hear a lot of people teaching boundaries, I hear a lot of people talking about boundaries and what they think are boundaries are something you impose on another person, they’re not.

Boundaries are something you build for yourself. I choose not to be in an environment like that. Not if you’re going to keep having an environment like that, I’m not going to be in it because that changes the power dynamic. If you’re waiting for them to change or request for them to change then there’s a problem and we want to avoid that problem as best we can. So not rigid, not lacking, but flexible, right? I very seldom use the word never, I never use the word never, never do I use the word never, I mean, I don’t ever– [chuckles] Just kidding.

All right, so avoid rigid boundaries, build flexible boundaries, but remember, boundaries are about you, not them. Hope that’s helpful.

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