The Beauty of Setting and Respecting Boundaries with Love

Photo by Marisa Pfenning

“What?” you may ask! “Boundaries at Lucidity? No way! I want to be free!”.

At the risk of sounding like my mama, boundaries are often necessary for freedom. And not only that. They will enhance your experience of relationships and life more than you can imagine.  

Many of us are familiar with putting ourselves out there at one time or another, receiving a hard or confused “no,” and feeling painfully rejected.

We acquire temporary amnesia of any history of endearing qualities and good deeds, and all of our shame and fears come out to party hard. Suddenly we are an accumulation of all of our worst moments in life and we want to disappear. A bit dramatic, but the struggle is real.

What is it about that “no” that makes us so deeply offended and even humiliated? While the details will vary for all of us, the root of the issue is this. When somebody tells us their truth, we instantly make it about us, when it is actually about them.

How many times have we said no to an invite to stay home alone or do something that satisfies our needs? Probably more times than we can count. And how often do we ever assume that to be the motives of somebody who says no to us? Unless you’ve done some work in this arena, probably almost NEVER.

“Welp…this is awkward…”
Photo by Marisa Pfenning

Our minds often assume the worst and go into full judgement mode. However, when we begin to see our shadows at play here, we have a real chance at empowering the wants and needs of ourselves and others.

Boundaries require and build trust, and trust allows for more freedom and MORE FUN!

When we start to set our own boundaries and we get to experience how good it feels, we can begin to find a place of support and even excitement for when others assert their boundaries with us.

If we tend to compromise ourselves for others, we sometimes unconsciously feel that they owe it to us to meet us there. The seemingly hard truth? Nobody owes us anything, and we don’t owe anything to anybody else.


When we realize this and begin to set and respect boundaries, we gain a sense of freedom. The freedom of knowing that our relationships will be based in an honest connection and respect for one another and ourselves.

Boundaries allow the questions and second guessing to drop off so that we can be fully in it with another person. If you thought consent took the magic out of interactions, just wait. The magic gets amplified!

Consent is sexy
Photo by Jones Around The World

The important part to remember is that it doesn’t matter why somebody is enforcing their boundaries. It is always a personal decision, whether vocalized or not, and we get the opportunity to support that individual in their decision. It is all in our perception.

How to begin you ask?

The Basics:

Start becoming familiar with what you want, and what you don’t want.

Even if you do not know what you want, that is as good a reason as any to say no.

Practice only saying yes when you absolutely mean it!

Release the Fear of “No”

Change you relationship to the word “no.” Most of us were raised hearing no in an array of disapproving tones. Our general experiences with the word “no” is that we did something wrong by asking in the first place, and that we simply cannot have what we want, period, end of sentence.

“NO thank you”
Photo by Marisa Pfenning

Let’s rewire this programming. There is nothing wrong with asking, AND there will be other opportunities to find what you want.

Do you really want to take something from somebody who doesn’t want to give it? Well neither do most people! Therefore, when you say no to somebody, you are doing them a service. Nobody wants a pity hang out. Be real with people! They deserve it.

Saying “No” with Love:

Sometimes a hard aggressive “No” is exactly what is needed in the moment. But more often than not, we don’t have to be a jerk about it. We can say no lovingly with a smile and it can take the edge off for everyone involved! Know that your “No” is your truth, and that your truth is the best gift you can give. It is not a burden, and nobody has to walk away hurt. That part is up to the receiver.

“Not right now…But…”

If you find yourself not knowing and not wanting to miss an opportunity, offer a temporary boundary! Example, “I am not sure how I feel about dancing right now. Would you like to sit and talk for a moment?”

Ask them a question that is within your comfort zone and let them assert their own boundaries.

Demonstrating the “Look! A fairy!” exit.
Photo by Kris Kish / The Sights & Sounds

When Boundaries Don’t Work:

Unfortunately, sometimes they don’t. If you are uncomfortable and somebody is not respecting your boundaries, or you simply don’t know what to do…just shout “A Fairy!”, and skip swiftly away into the trees! There is little room for hard feelings with fairies running amuck. Plus, you can’t be bothered with somebody who isn’t respecting your boundaries. Get outta there!

Really though, it is all about being prepared. If you are uncomfortable saying what you want, it is probably because you have not yet spent time thinking about it. Consider how to communicate it in a way that feels good.

Once you get the hang of it, you begin to attract who and what you want, and repel that which you do not. And when the repellant is not so strong, it is okay! Because we have become better acquainted with ourselves and know how to set our boundaries.

Look! A fairy!

Tickets to Lucidity available here. Boundaries not included.

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