15: 8 Tips for Sustaining Personal Boundaries & Helping Others Have Healthy Boundaries

While having your own personal boundaries is ABSOLUTELY needed, how might you support others you interact with in having healthy boundaries? Here's the thing: Interactions are two-way streets. Helping someone you interact with have healthy boundaries benefits you in the long run.
Here are 6 tips to consider for Sustaining Personal Boundaries & Helping Others Have Healthy Boundaries (professional and personal lives).

1. Set personal boundaries and communicate them.
First, you have to be anchored in your own safeguards before you can do anything. Determine what you feel called to do in this season of your life because that takes priority. Establish thought-out boundaries to protect and honor those priorities.

When God elevates you and progresses you in life, it often requires greater resilience with boundaries and discipline because there's greater access to you. More demands? More boundaries.

2. Recognize the weight you carry in the lives of people you interact with.
With elevation comes responsibility. Sometimes people need models that go against their norm so that they know there are other options to living life. In the podcast version of this post, I go into this more.

One of the biggest ways I've done this professionally is no longer sending or responding to emails on the weekends or after 8:00pm on worknights. Why? Because of my position at work, many people feel obligated to respond to me immediately, even if it means disrupting whatever they're doing at home. That's not fair. So now, I just hold off on communicating after hours.

3. Communicate the why of your boundaries. This helps others abide in them but also helps them reflect on why they might want to establish a similar boundary.

As a recovering workaholic who lived life boundary-less, I try to communicate why I had/have to establish boundaries, to others. All of my boundaries come from me having neglected something I know I needed to do or from being unable to sustain what I was doing and the detrimental effects from that. People always warned me that I needed to make adjustments, but I didn't listen because I didn't understand why it was needed. That's why I try to over-communicate the why of my boundaries to let those around me know, there's a way out. You don't have to feel overwhelmed by your lack of boundaries. You can establish some safeguards and stick to them. This often allows me to invite them to join me RE the gym, a Bible study, meal prep Saturdays, etc.

4. Know the goals of others to support them in sustaining the boundary.
Purposeful boundaries supports the idea of intentional living. There's great benefit in having accountability in life which means tell others the goal of your boundary so that they can help you sustain it. 

Example: I often have to meet with teachers after school, however; getting to the gym after work is an intentional boundary I have set to maintain my physical and emotional health. My teachers who meet with me after school know our meeting will be stopped no later than 4:30 to honor that. In the podcast, I share how, through relationships with others, I'm aware of their goals and try to be mindful of not selfishly asking them to overextend beyond that and/or just hold them accountable.

5. Delayed responses can empower others to be more self-sufficient and make their own decisions instead of being dependent on you or others for solutions.
So often, people try to make their emergencies my emergencies. WRONG. When I was just starting in my current position, I prided myself on being the "Fixer." Then I realized how overwhelming and unhealthy it was to think I could take on everyone's problems with immediacy while still doing everything God called me to. He called me to be a coach, not their savior.

This year I've learned that if I delay my responses (email or text), oftentimes, people will solve their own problems which is healthier for me and them. It allows them to then be empowered to make their own decisions and/or prioritized.  Now, in my personal life, I do not delay responses, so there's something I need to work on... Not being overly available because that distracts me from my focus most times.

6. Ask, don't assume.
I am learning to ask people what might be their preference so that I give them an opportunity to communicate their boundary and advocate for themselves. Many people are people pleasers... they will not say NO to you even though they should because they think it's rude or they don't want to let you down. They'll end up overextending themselves because they can't say no. Help them.

Recently, I texted (audio recording) my principal on a Friday as I was leaving work, and I said, "FYI Feel free to enjoy your weekend and reply on Monday, but I wanted to say this before I forgot..." You know what? She responded on Monday, and there was no love lost.

7. Be discerning with who you give personal access to.
I don't just pass out my phone number to anyone, especially professionally. You can blow up my work email all you want, but blow up my telephone? Absolutely not. I recently had someone blow up my phone with frustration and anger, and when I said, "Might this be a conversation we reserve for face-to-face at work after the weekend?" they didn't appreciate it. *shoulder shrugs* That reminded me I should have been more intentional with giving personal access to this person when they should've remained at professional correspondence only. Lesson learned.

8. Be okay with a boundary being set that you may not like. 
Understand that you have to be okay with whatever the person communicates. Example: If someone advocates for themselves by saying NO to something you may want to do with them, be okay with it. Help them understand that they can advocate for themselves without then being in conflict with you.

So what might you suggest?
How do you set your own boundaries? How do you communicate them? What might it look like for you to help others you interact with have healthy boundaries? Head over to Instagram @jameka_tjones and share your thoughts.

Dear God, Thank you for showing me the value of boundaries. We can't live our best life, for You, without discernment and safeguards to protect the purpose You have placed inside of us. To live for You and accomplish our role in the kingdom, we have to prioritize, and sometimes all the time, we need help to stay consistent. Help us sustain our own personal boundaries and help others around us be lifted up by establishing their own healthy boundaries too. We love you, In Jesus' name, Amen.