Boundaries are buzzy as of late, and we’re all about it. Gone is the culture of being a yes-woman/man, agreeing with everyone and everything in order to keep the flow. We’re locking into our authentic selves, asserting our needs and desires while respecting others and, most importantly, ourselves.
We spoke with Amanda Huggins, an Anxiety Coach with an approach that’s all at once spiritual, scientific, and practical. Oh, she’s also on TikTok. Working with people on understanding the depths of their minds, ego, psyche, fears, and so much more, Amanda sees personal boundaries as a recurring theme.
“Setting boundaries with yourself can be just as hard, if not harder, than setting boundaries with other people. Why? Well … you are the only checkpoint! Without a clear commitment to our ‘why,’ it’s all too easy to tell ourselves ‘Eh, I’ll be better tomorrow.’ Tomorrow comes, we forget the boundary, and we let it slide another day,” Amanda starts.
This is what makes self-work so incredibly challenging, and a lifelong process. We are responsible for holding ourselves accountable; no one else can or will. This is also why self-love is so vital here—we have to want to work on ourselves, because we care about ourselves and want to be the best we can be.
“It’s incredibly important that we do two things when we decide we want to create a boundary with ourselves: 1. Reframe what boundary setting is, and 2. Connect to our ‘why,’” Amanda continues.
“Boundary setting with yourself shouldn’t be viewed as a punishment. While internal boundaries can be difficult at first, the intention is for them to ultimately make us better! Reframe your boundary-setting practice as a reward—you get to grow and change!
Then, make a point to connect to your ‘why’: visualize what your life will look like when you’ve successfully set the boundary. What has shifted? How much better will you feel? How else will you have benefited? When we can visualize, feel, and connect to the end result we want to create, there’s a much higher likelihood of follow-through.”
These can be small boundaries. For example, we can set a work boundary at certain times of the day and weekends. As in, “I won’t check my work email before 9 a.m., or after 6 p.m., or on the weekends. I will set my Slack status to ‘away,’ and be present with myself in the morning, in the evening when I’m cooking, and on the weekends when I’m spending time with loved ones and letting myself unwind.”
Amanda goes on to say, “When you set internal boundaries, you’re offering yourself an amazing growth opportunity. Not only is it a practice in learning how to validate your needs, but you get to reclaim more of your time and energy—both of which allow you to feel more like yourself!
Finally, setting boundaries with yourself can be a great practice in self-trust and confidence. You get to look in the mirror, give yourself a wink, and say ‘Yeah … I did that … and I’ll do it again! I’m proud of who I am, and I’m proud of who I’m becoming.’”
It’s important to take a step back and celebrate these little victories with ourselves. We can’t always just chalk it all up to what we should have been doing all along, or not recognizing progress or a job well done. In fact, celebrating is a form of executing these boundaries, because it’s our acknowledgment of the need for the work we are doing, and of the work we have done. It’s a practice in loving-kindness and self-awareness.
Amanda is sharing some examples of internal boundaries with a clear connection to a “why.” We can see that each statement has a few key things: the boundary, the “why,” and the feeling we want to create:
- “I’m committing to no screen time 30 minutes before bed, because I value my health, and getting better sleep is an act of self-respect. I feel so much more vibrant when I’m well-rested!
- When my partner triggers me, I’m going to practice responding mindfully rather than reacting from a place of anger, because I value this relationship. I feel so much more connected to my partner when we have healthy communication!
- I’m committing to a daily walk outside on my lunch breaks, because I deserve to give myself a moment of pause. When I listen to my needs and don’t overwork myself, I feel happier and more balanced in all areas of my life.”
Try these boundaries in your job, in your relationships, in your friendships, and just in your quiet reflective time. See how it shifts your perspective of your value and worth, to yourself. You are your most important judge. You are the CEO of your own feelings and your life.