Imagine you’re standing in line at the grocery store, and a person behind you asks if they can go ahead of you. “Sure”, you say. Then person after person asks if they can go first, and time and time again, you let them, even though it’s now become a problem for you.

Making things happen in your life depends heavily on being able to see the difference in giving to others, and setting limits on behavior that is inappropriate, or in some cases, perhaps even destructive to you.

Boundaries help you do that.

A boundary defines you. The same way that your property line – or the walls of your apartment – define your living space, emotional boundary lines are important and necessary.

A boundary defines what is you, and what is not you. It defines what you take responsibility for, and what you don’t. It defines how other people act around you, and treat you.

Without boundaries, you become a doormat, allowing yourself to be treated any way that another person chooses. Imagine if there were no property lines, and everyone just wandered onto everyone else’s property and took whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. Chaos, right?

So it is if you have no boundary line in your life. You’ll find yourself STUCK, waiting in the line at the grocery story, while everyone else whizzes along to their destination.

Without boundaries you’re setting yourself up for:
• Resentment
• Frustration
• Anger
• Friction

“Wait a minute”, you’re thinking. “I can’t make other people treat me right – they either want to or they don’t.” And you absolutely can’t change other people or make them behave right. To attempt to change other people will only set you up for more resentment and frustration.

So what can you do?

My dad had a strong dislike for alcohol of any kind. His father drank too much, and my oldest brother was killed by a drunk driver. While Dad couldn’t insist that his adult children not drink, he absolutely would not stay in the same room or even the same house with someone who was drinking. His boundaries were very clear. If we wanted to spend time with him, it would be without alcohol.

That’s what establishing boundaries is -- simply deciding what you will allow to happen to you, or to happen in your presence, and making sure that it happens.

Jesus himself had strong boundaries. He knew what he was about, and what he would tolerate in his presence. When others acted in ways that were contrary to his beliefs, he removed himself from them without apology.

Boundaries are taking responsibility for what’s happening in YOUR life. Boundaries are not walls shutting you off from the people around you. It’s not being hard and defensive.

In fact, it’s the very opposite. Boundaries give people in your life clear indicators of how you expect to be treated. No guessing.

There are 4 steps to setting effective boundaries:

1. Decide what is ok and what is not ok. This is a personal decision. What’s right for you may not be right for me. Decide for yourself.

2. Decide how you will handle the situation when you feel that your boundary is being violated. DO NOT ambush the person. Find a time when the boundary is not being violated, and explain the situation. Ask for what you want next time.

3. Decide how you will protect your boundary. Usually this means that you will say or do something that imposes a consequence. If at all possible, focus on the POSITIVE consequences of them cooperating with you, instead of the negative one. Make sure that the person has been informed of the consequence ahead of time.

4. Follow Through. This is very important, or otherwise you’re just playing a game with someone, and teaching them that you are not a person to be taken seriously. Decide that it’s important enough to take a stand on, then take a stand.

Are you ready to Make Things Happen? Free yourself from the resentment, impatience, jealousy, friction, and frustrations of your life by QUIETLY asserting your boundaries

Author's Bio: 

Kathy Gates is a Professional Life Coach who believes that “Life Rewards Action”. It’s what you do TODAY that will make a difference in your tomorrow. She can help you set priorities, stop procrastination, create a plan, and re-energize your life. She is the author of several Ebooks available at,, or 480.998.5843