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  • Writer's pictureIsabelle


Most people are confused about what boundaries are and how to use them correctly. In this newsletter I will tell you what one of my favorite life coaches, Brooke Castillo, says about boundaries.

It will help you get clear . To start off she says that saying "no" is not a boundary. Saying "no" and threatening is also not a boundary; only if it is followed up by an action. Think of property boundaries. It is there to keep uninvited people out, to give you your space. Often we don't need boundaries if we have learned to say no and mean it. Don't say no and mean yes. E.g: Brook's mom wanted to go to all of her kids soccer games and she said no and finally"fine!". She resented it. She told herself its good that mom wants to come and spend time with the kids, and I feel guilty for saying no. Choose no or yes and mean it.

She differentiates that saying no is not the same as standing up for yourself. If you for example, all of a sudden say"I'm sick and tired of you doing this" and the person doesn't have a clue , it's because you have never told them before. Adults have the freedom to show up any way they want to. You don't have to explain your no. Be ready to accept that others can think anything they want about you. They don't all have to like you.

To illustrate: one of her clients was giving away money to her family, but resenting it. That is not kindness. She did it, because she wanted them to like her, and then resented her giving. It's people pleasing and manipulation .The same goes for volunteering when you don't have the time. You could ask instead :" Is there another option? Another way I can help?"

The rule of thumb is this: Do kind things to others only when you want to.

Because you want to and not because you want them to like you.

Say no from a full heart. Let them know that your no is a no and your yes is a yes. This grows trust. People know what to expect from you and that you mean what you say. Don't blame other people for walking all over you.

Boundaries are only appropriate if you need to protect yourself from violations : physical and emotional. Similar to house properties. If your neighbor is telling you how to paint your house, that is not the same as if he comes over and starts painting your house. Let people have their opinion. We only control ourselves , not others.

Be clear. Say:"If you do ABC, I will...leave the room/house..." We don't have control over their actions.

Emotional boundaries are more subjective. eg: if you don't like swearing , you like personal space or you don't want to give too much time. Communicate what you need or just take an action. If you are with friends and you don't tolerate swearing eg, then just leave. At work of course thats different.

If you make a boundary request and don't follow through , you made an idle threat which diminishes your own self respect and theirs for you.

People don't set boundaries because they don't want to follow through. We let our neighbor come in our front door without asking for years and we become resentful and mad at them and then talk to him or her."Hey you have to knock or call before you come. I can't stand it". But you haven't told them before because you are afraid to do so. Now it's going to be even harder, because you let it happen for years. Take flirting eg. When someone flirts with Brooke, she just leaves, instead of saying "Stop flirting with me. It's making me mad. You have to stop flirting." Remember: just leave or say" If you....I will..."

If someone texts excessively, just stop replying . This goes for people borrowing things. If you don't want to give it, then don't. Or give with a full heart and don't expect it back. Different people have different boundaries. Some need to be communicated, some don't. Saying no is not a boundary, but not saying no , can have you ending up with a lot of boundary violations.

People pleasing gets you into trouble. Brooke was doing that with her mom. It's not a kind thing. It's manipulation. You end up being angry and resentful and it's your own fault. That was her. Now she has very clear communications. When clients and students ask her about boundary violations, she says 9 out of 10 times they are not a boundary violation. It's just you not telling the truth from the beginning . Or you are trying to control their behavior.

A boundary is never about controlling somebody else's behavior.

It's about you managing yourself.

So far Brooke Castillo's thoughts. You can listen to her podcast :The Life Coach School , episode #163 on this topic. She is fantastic!

Let me end with :

"Let your yes be a yes, and your no a no." Mathew 5:37

I hope I did Brooke Castillo justice.

You are loved. Deeply loved. Loved beyond measure.

Until next time,



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