For years, I thought I was the absolute queen of healthy boundaries.
I had gotten MUCH better at saying no over the last few years, so I figured I had it all down (because I genuinely thought that’s all a boundary was). But recently, I started to notice a pattern of irritability and stress throughout my day, and I realized I was spending so much time dealing with everyone else’s tantrums that I didn’t have time for my own royal hissy fits (lol).
It turns out, I wasn’t setting clear boundaries at all! And how could I, when I didn’t even have clarity around the strategies that would meet my own unique needs for support? It got me thinking: how many of us are actually tuned into our boundaries? How many of us know what it feels like when our boundaries are set and working properly?
Enter my journey of figuring out what a healthy boundary actually looks like and learning how to set them.
What is a healthy boundary, anyway?
Boundaries are more than just saying “no” to the things that don’t serve you (although that definitely is a healthy component). Boundaries are defined as “the needs, limits, and rules we set for ourselves.” That means you understand where your limits are, but you also understand what your needs are—and you’re able to create strategies (rules or guidelines) to meet them.
Sometimes there will be times when protective boundaries in relationships are necessary, but a signal that your boundaries are serving you both is when they help build a sense of connection with one another. You are both clear on what you need from and in the relationship, you know each other’s limits, and you respect each other’s rules.
So now that we did a 9,000 foot overview of a what a healthy boundary looks like, let’s dive into the signs that you—and those you have a relationship with—are, in fact, boundary setting queens (or kings!)
5 Signs You Are a Boundary Setting Queen
1. Your “no” is respected
When you’re clear on what’s a “no” for you and you respect and support that “no,” that’s a healthy boundary you’ve created for yourself. And when the people in your life respect it too, that’s a healthy relationship boundary. Keep in mind, people respecting your boundary doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no questions about it. The people in your life may definitely still ask for clarification around your “no.” What this means is, your relationships don’t try to push, bully, be passive aggressive or manipulate you into a ‘yes.’
When someone invariably has opinions surrounding your “no,” it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t respect it. Sometimes they just need a little bit of time to talk through it to fully understand it. And I’ve found in my own experience, how exactly these feelings are communicated and responded to can actually indicate how healthy your relationship is! If you are able to hold space for someone else’s feelings about your “no” while still feeling secure around your “no,” that’s a definitely green flag that your boundaries are in the healthy zone.
2. You engage in conflict with curiosity
You’re a queen of healthy boundaries when you are able to be in respectful, healthy conflict that doesn’t move into hurling insults, name-calling, abuse, manipulation, or harmful actions like yelling or trashing someone on social media. And one way to avoid being a drama queen and participating in those behaviors is by approaching it with a curiosity mindset. When you’re curious about the other person’s experience, ideas, or beliefs, you’re less likely to make assumptions about their experience that could lead you to blaming or shaming.
Some questions I ask myself are:
- Am I making space for clarification over conclusions, assumptions, and defensiveness?
- Am I asking questions to seek clarity and understanding?
- Am I aware and able to communicate (in a respectful way) what I am feeling, experiencing, and or need?
When you engage with others from a place of curiosity, it gives you space to feel confident about your own boundaries while respecting the boundaries of another.
3. You can express your needs and boundaries clearly
A healthy “kingdom” indicates that we are able to advocate for ourselves, that we value our own inherent worth and are getting our foundational must-haves met in a relational space. In other words, you know your boundaries are coming from a healthy space when you feel safe expressing what you need. When you’re grounded in what you need because you know it’s what’s best for you, it’s a lot easier to feel confident in the ask, even in the moments that it can’t exactly be met.
Ultimately you’re in the right palace if there is space for you to have and express your boundaries. And for persons you are in a relationship with to have the same!
4. Repair & reconnection is important to you
Even in the most well-meaning relationships, boundaries can get crossed. When you prioritize repair after one of those times, you’re setting yourself up for healthy boundaries in the future. Think of it as healthy boundary maintenance and upkeep.
For me, repair looks like learning how to extend an apology (and actually mean it), taking accountability for how you might have harmed someone, and acknowledging how you will show up differently in the future.
5. You’re consistent in your follow-through
Something that’s always stuck with me is the concept that healing requires not only time but evidence too. When you receive consistent proof that something is serving you and improving your life over a period of time, you begin to believe in it. You start to feel safer in your lived experience. In the context of boundaries, that consistency is when we do what we say we are going to do. And if something needs to shift or adjust, we communicate those changes clearly to the people in our lives.
Having the experience of predictable follow-through builds and maintains a sense of trust that our boundaries will be consistently respected. For me, this looks like upholding a boundary with myself. If I say I am going to workout every day, I have to workout every day. If I say I’m not going to engage with someone that’s disrespecting me, I don’t engage with someone that’s disrespecting me.
By holding to boundaries with myself, it leads to me being more confident and comfortable establishing, upholding, and maintaining boundaries with other people. I teach myself that I keep promises and I do what it takes to make myself feel safe, protected, and secure.