Are you always available for anyone and everyone when they need you? What about when someone calls and interrupts your schedule on a whim? These are signs you might need to set some clear boundaries in your life. But if, like me, you’ve always been a people pleaser, doing this will likely be quite challenging.
The reality is that setting and maintaining boundaries is uncomfortable, and it can even feel a little mean at first. You might think it’s about kicking anyone out of your life who crosses a line, but it’s truly not about other people. It’s the epitome of self-care, it’s what keeps you swimming in your own lane, and on this episode, you’ll discover why it’s the answer to your dream life.
Listen in this week as I guide you through my three steps for setting and maintaining clear, healthy boundaries in your life. I’m sharing why it’s one of the kindest things you can do for the people you love most, why it’s your responsibility to uphold the boundaries you set, and examples of some simple boundaries from my own life.
If you want to make 2022 a year to remember, you have to work with me! You can sign up for a free coaching session by clicking here. I promise that by June of this year, you’ll be a different person showing up to your life in a completely new way, and you’ll love every bit of it.
WHAT YOU’LL DISCOVER IN THIS EPISODE:
What boundaries are.
Why it’s not other people’s responsibility to respect or understand our boundaries.
Signs you may need to set some clear boundaries.
Why setting boundaries isn’t about keeping people out of your life.
3 steps that will help you set up and maintain healthy boundaries.
LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE:
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I am Kym Showers, and this is Reinvented After 40, episode number 29: Clear Boundaries.
Hey, friends. Welcome to Reinvented After 40, a podcast for all you women in the second half of life who are ready to take responsibility for your own wellbeing and create a life you love living.
I’m your host, Kym Showers, and after spending the first 40 years of my life people-pleasing and following all the rules, I was exhausted and ready for a change. I reinvented myself. I stopped outsourcing my happiness. And I’ve been brave enough to live a different kind of life.
I’ll be here each week to help you do the same thing. It’s gonna be fun. Let’s go.
Hey, everyone, how are you? Welcome back to the show. I just looked at the calendar to see when this episode comes out and it comes out on March 31st. How is March over already. Holy moly. It has been such a magical month. I love March. I was thinking about what have I done this month? So many things but listen, I watched every episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s show, Comedians and Cars, Getting Coffee. It’s on Netflix and it is pure delight, and laughter, and tenderness. And just so many good conversations. He is just a good time. I highly recommend it.
The cars are exquisite. I’m such a car girl, I always have been. The coffee reminds me of my own delicious cappuccinos that I make for myself in the morning. The relationship and the conversations he has with his guests, so inspiring. I want a show like that. I promise you you’re going to love it, it’s 100% worthy of a binge.
Also, I’m getting really good at Wordle. If you’re not playing Wordle of the day, you know the New York Times version that the entire country is playing? What in the world are you doing? You have to start, just Google, Wordle of the day and then click on the New York Times version and you get one word to complete every day. You’ll figure it out, it tells you how to play it. Jeff and I are having a little competition kind of, sort of but it’s fun. It’s so fun.
And then also I hired a trainer this month that I work out with on Tuesday and Thursdays and it’s kicking my butt, you guys, it’s been so good. I’ve discovered muscles I didn’t even know were there. It’s been a really good fun productive, rest filled month and I have loved every minute of it. So, I hope you guys have had a beautiful month as well. I hope all good things have happened, and you’re growing and evolving, and just creating a life that you love living, that’s always my hope. That’s why I’m here.
So today I want to talk about boundaries. I love boundaries. I love a good discussion about boundaries. We could probably talk for days about boundaries. Boundaries are what we decide to set up for ourselves to have healthy happy relationships with the people that we love the most. And also, to keep ourselves focused, and clear, and swimming in our own lane doing our work in the world, creating a life that we love living.
Boundaries are first and foremost for us, not for them. It’s our responsibility to decide what we want, what we need and then to provide that for ourselves. It’s not our people’s job to respect our boundaries, it’s our job first and foremost to respect our own boundaries. It’s not our people’s job to understand our boundaries. It’s our job first and foremost to understand our boundaries. We can decide what they are, what we’re comfortable with, what we’re not comfortable with and communicate them clearly. Then it’s up to us and only us to follow through with them.
Controlling and manipulating people is the opposite of healthy boundaries. Being controlled and manipulated by people is the opposite of healthy boundaries. If you’re always available for anyone and everyone to pop over, or call and interrupt your schedule on a whim you probably need to set some boundaries for yourself. If you consider other people’s wants, and other people’s needs as more important than your own but then you are left feeling resentful because you can’t get your work done you need some boundaries.
If you are constantly saying yes when you want to say no you need some boundaries. Boundaries are the answer to a life that you love living. The better you get at boundaries the better you get at life. Boundaries are like fences that represent where your space ends and my space begins. On your side of the fence, you can do whatever you want but on my side of the fence I have my own way of living. If you want to enjoy my side of the fence you must respect the way that I live, or you won’t be invited over. Boundaries are like that.
Boundaries are not necessarily to keep people out, boundaries are for my own self-care and actually a more intimate peaceful relationship with my favorite people. It’s always my job to be clear about what I want and then follow through if someone has crossed a boundary. The follow through is the most important part.
So today I came up with three steps you can take that will help you set up and maintain healthy boundaries in your own life. If you’ve always been a people pleaser like me, setting boundaries will be a challenge for you. It’s uncomfortable, it feels a little mean at first, but it isn’t. It actually is the kindest thing in the long run. It will always be worth it, trust me. The life you want is on the other side of setting healthy boundaries for yourself in your own life.
So, step number one, know for sure that you have every right to have your own space, to have your own ideas, to have your own time, to have your own money, and to have your own life. Know for sure that your life, everything about your life is just as important as everyone else’s. If you’re married your time, and your energy, and your opinion, and your rest, and your likes and dislikes, and the things you value are just as important as your husband’s.
If you’re in a marriage where it’s been a subtle agreement that your husband’s wants and needs come first before your own, maybe because he makes more money or maybe it’s just the way it’s always been. This is for you. I want you to listen to your own wantings. Pay attention to the things you do that you don’t want to do. Maybe you used to like it, but you don’t like it anymore and you’re afraid you’re going to hurt your husband’s feelings or make him mad, so you keep doing it. You don’t say anything.
So, I have some examples from my own life. Hey, honey, I love you and you know I have always made dinner for you every night? Well, I don’t want to do that anymore. I think I’ll let you be in charge of getting dinner for yourself from now on. Or, hey, honey, I love you and you know how you like to be spontaneous with the sex? Well, I really don’t. I would like it much better if you gave me a 12 hour notice or maybe even a three hour notice so I can get myself in the mood.
Or, hey, honey, I love you, and I need my own space and privacy. I want my own closet. I want my own bathroom. I want my own bedroom. These are examples of setting and communicating boundaries in my own life. And then it’s up to me to hold them, respect them, make sure I get what I need. So, you are in charge of the set up and the follow through of your boundaries. The boundaries you set, and communicate, and hold are equivalent to the respect you have, and the respect you show, and the respect you keep for yourself.
You are teaching people how to treat you by the way you treat yourself. When your spouse says, “What’s for dinner?” You respond, remember, you are in charge of your own dinner. When your spouse wants sex now you say, “Remember, I need a few hours’ notice, let’s make a date for tomorrow. I’ll be ready for you tomorrow.” When your husband says, “I like sharing a bedroom, and a closet, and a bathroom with you”, you say, “I know, I love you, but I want my own space.” And then you get to work creating it.
How he responds is up to him. If he doesn’t like your boundaries he has some decisions to make. Healthy marriages have healthy boundaries. You have every right to have your own space, your own ideas, your own time, your own opinions, your own money, and your own life. And still be happily married to a wonderful human and have the healthiest marriage. So, step number one and creating healthy boundaries for yourself is to know that you are just as important as everyone else in your life.
Step number two, get comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s scary at first if you’ve never been a woman with healthy boundaries. It’s uncomfortable being the boss of your schedule if you’ve never been the boss of your schedule. If you’re a woman who is used to letting people interrupt your schedule and interrupt your plans, and you’re used to letting people borrow your stuff without asking, and you’re used to saying yes when you want to say no because you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. It will for sure be difficult for you to set boundaries.
But when you can learn to tolerate that uncomfortable feeling that you will get when you tell the truth, your boundaries will be stronger, and more clear to everyone, especially yourself. For example, I have very clear personal boundaries. My schedule is my own in my personal life and in my business life. In business my clients have 100% of my time, and my energy, and my focus once a week during their 45 minutes scheduled appointment. It’s the same time on both of our calendars every week. We work together on their life. It’s sacred, it’s powerful and that is what I offer to them.
What I don’t offer is availability outside of that appointment. I don’t reschedule that appointment. I coach on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and I don’t coach any other days. Even if a client requests another day the answer is always no. It’s an important boundary for both of us. I’m an example of what it looks like to follow through on healthy boundaries.
I show up on time and I’m 100% reliable and our 45 minutes together once a week is powerful and valuable to both of us. My clients know this about me and respect this about me and so they never miss their appointment, and they always show up on time. See how it works? I teach them how to treat me but really I’m teaching them how to treat themselves. I have healthy boundaries in every area of my life which makes not only my business successful, but it makes it sustainable.
I am clear and confident and it’s best for everyone. For example, 20 years ago I had an interior design business. I was in my early 40s, late 30s, early 40s. I loved it and was good at it, but I had zero boundaries with it. I was always working and available to my clients and would drop whatever I was doing to be accommodating. And I didn’t charge enough money because I didn’t value myself or value my time and I wanted my clients to like me. I didn’t say no, I always said, “Sure, no problem”, even if it was a problem.
I told them what they wanted to hear and tried my best to make everyone happy. I was always stressed, and always running, and always on the phone and I burned out pretty quickly and made very little money all because I didn’t set and follow through on clear healthy boundaries. I hated telling my clients, no. It was all a brilliant lesson for me. When you know better you do better.
Now I have a very successful life coaching business working two days a week and I know I’ll be doing it for a very long time because I’m really good at boundaries and comfortable being uncomfortable. That’s step number two.
Step number three is to do what you say you’re going to do. Boundaries are useless if you don’t do what you say you’re going to do. You can set a boundary, but the most important part is following through on the boundary. So, for example, you have a friend who is always late, whatever plans you make with her, you are on time, and she is always 20 minutes late and you’re always irritated.
Now, you have some decisions to make. If you don’t want to be irritated you can think different thoughts like, that’s just Suzie, she is for sure going to be late, so I won’t rush to get there and it’s not a big deal and not a problem. You don’t add any extra meaning, or drama to her being late, you feel genuinely fine about it, instead of irritated about it because you decided to change your thought about it. Suzie’s still late but you are no longer irritated. That’s just Suzie and she should be late. You changed your thinking.
Or you can decide you’ll happily wait for her for 10 minutes and if she’s not there then you’ll leave and carry on with your day. You’re not mad, you’re just taking care of you by following through on what you decided to do. That’s a boundary, no drama. Or you can have a conversation with her next time you make a date, lunch at 12, perfect, I can’t wait. I have from noon till one for lunch, so I’ll order when I get there. And then when you get there, order, order your lunch without her, no drama, no irritation, it’s you taking care of you.
When she arrives 20 minutes late, you are not irritated. You are eating your lunch and enjoying your own company. That’s what a healthy simple boundary looks like. You take care of you, she takes care of her, everyone is happy. Or let’s say you have a neighbor or a mom who is always dropping by your house or your office and you’d prefer them not to because you have work to do, or rest to do, or cleaning to do, or just hanging out to do.
You can close the blinds and pretend you’re not home or you can be brave and ask your mom or your neighbor to please call or text before she comes over to see if it’s a good time. You can tell her you love her and love seeing her, but you really need your space and your privacy. You have work to do and things to get done or a nap to take. If she keeps showing up you have to follow through on what you’ve already told her. Don’t let her in. You don’t have to be mad, just show her that you respect yourself.
Show you that you respect yourself. Do what you told yourself you would do. Do what you told them you would do. Do it all from a place of love and a desire to have a long lasting healthy relationship with your mom, and with your neighbor, and with all of your friends. We are not telling people what to do. We’re letting people know what we want, what we need, what we like, what we don’t like and what we’re available for and what we’re not available for. We let them know what we will do if they cross our boundary. The power lies in our hands.
We create the boundary from a place of love and respect. And we uphold that boundary from a place of love and respect for everyone in the story. So, step number three is to do what you say you will do.
To recap, my three steps to healthy boundaries. Step number one, know for sure that you have every right to your own space, your own ideas and privacy, and time, and money, and opinions, and rest. Step number two, get comfortable being uncomfortable, in other words, just be honest. Step number three, do what you say you’re going to do.
So, I’ve been practicing boundaries for so long now that I rarely have any boundary issues. I just decide what I’m going to do, and I do it. I don’t get interrupted because I don’t allow it. I make a decision and I stick with it. I don’t worry anymore about hurting anyone’s feelings because I know it’s impossible. Boundaries have given me the best life and the healthiest, happiest relationships. And if you need help in this area, hire me to be your life coach and I’ll teach you how to do it too. It is so worth the work. You’ll totally wonder why you waited so long.
So that’s all I have for you now about boundaries, I adore you for listening and showing up today. Have the best, best week and I’ll see you next Thursday.
Thanks for listening to Reinvented After 40. If you want more information or resources from the podcast, please visit KymShowersLifeCoach.com.
I’m 62 years old and I’ve created a life for myself that blows my mind every single day. I’ve learned how to build a wildly successful business and create a beautiful, strong, healthy body and grow happy, easy relationships with the people I love the most. I’ve become my own inspiration. The 2nd half of life is by far the most exciting & powerful of all. You can have it too.