From the meaning of boundary setting to the benefits of good communication, Life Coach and author Michelle Elman shares her expertise on establishing healthy boundaries and living an easier life as a result

“Boundaries are how we teach people to treat us. It’s what is and isn’t acceptable,” Life Coach and author Michelle Elman explains. “It’s the line between who we are and who the world wants us to be.”

Michelle’s definition of what boundaries are is a great and much-needed reminder. You may think that you have good boundaries but when you dig deep into the subject, as she has done for her book The Joy of Being Selfish and the upcoming The Selfish Romantic, you soon realise that everyone’s boundaries require clear communication from the outset as well as regular appraisal and maintenance.

If appraising and asserting your boundaries sounds like a lot of hard - and possibly uncomfortable - work, then take a listen to Michelle’s episode of I am. I have. The beauty and benefits of healthy boundaries will become clear within just 30 minutes.

One of the greatest upsides, Michelle asserts, has to be the resulting positive relationship with yourself, something she has first-hand experience of. “When you have boundaries, not only do you have more time and energy to look after yourself, but I actually think you have a stronger sense of identity,” she shares.

“It creates so much space in your brain and ultimately I think it makes your life easier,” she continues beaming. “That’s what boundaries are there for.”

3 things to remember about boundaries from Michelle

  • If you’ve not set a boundary in the first place, people won’t know what it is. If you’ve not reinforced the boundary, you’ve never given someone the chance to change their behaviour and you can’t just cut someone out without any warning or communication. I’ve heard people say that ghosting is a boundary but it’s not. You wouldn’t want to be treated like that, so why do it to other people?
  • Boundary setting is the antidote to being a people pleaser. Ultimately there’s no way to be one and have good boundaries. Being a people pleaser means ignoring your own discomfort, everyone’s needs are above yours. So, in order to put yourself higher on the priority list, someone has to come lower.
  • When you have good boundaries, you also give other people permission to have good boundaries with you.

Listen to more from Michelle on Happiful’s podcast I am. I have.

Find out more about Michelle’s work and order The Joy of Being Selfish and pre-order The Selfish Romantic now.