Maintaining boundaries in your personal and professional relationships is crucial for preserving your self-respect and protecting your mental health. Whether the relationship in question is friendship, familial, romantic, or professional, the ability to clearly communicate your needs and limits, in a rational way, is an important way to build trust and most importantly preserve your peace of mind.   

Mental wellness advocate and self-healing educator, Yasmine Cheyenne explains that setting boundaries is actually a form of self-preservation and can be as simple as enforcing house rules. “We all have that one friend or family member that no matter what guidelines we set, we know they’re ready to challenge us. We say don’t wear shoes in the house, and they ask if it’s okay to wear them in one area of the house.  We say we’re not free after a certain time, and they try to make plans during that time anyway. No matter their intentions, it can feel tough having to continuously remind them of your boundaries…and sometimes, it even feels pointless.”

If that situation resonates at all, Cheyenne encourages to hold your stance or you may be left feeling drained with pent-up resentment. She shares, “the truth is, if we struggle with boundaries in one area, it can often pour into other areas of our lives—ike work, our romantic partnerships, and all of our relationships.”

"Although enforcing boundaries can initially feel incredibly overwhelming and uncomfortable, especially when the other party tries to guilt-trip you, it is a powerful form of self-care. We teach others how to treat us by being clear on what we need, and boundaries helps us do that.”

Cheyenne breaks down seven pillars to set and enforce healthy boundaries in your life:


“Before we can enforce our boundaries, we need to know what isn’t working.” She says, “start by asking yourself, what have I been doing that isn’t working for me? For example, if your boss continues to ask you to stay late at work after you shared with them that you’re interested in finding more work/life balance, you might need to be clearer with yourself about what specific hours you are ‘off the clock’ so that you know exactly what to share with your boss. When we don’t clearly understand what we need it can be hard to communicate it as well.”


Cheyenne states, “In order for our boundaries to be understood, they often need to be communicated, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel. People won’t know how to support us if we don’t tell them. After we check in with ourselves and determine our needs, we need to let people know.” She says, “as an example, if someone asks to use your car, and it makes you uncomfortable that they return it without gas, share it with them.  You could say “I’m happy that I’m able to support you by letting you use my car when you need it.  When you return it, can you make sure that there’s the same amount of gas in there that you left with?”


“An important part of enforcing our boundaries is to stop letting the small things slide because the small things not only add up, they matter.” She explains, “If someone asks to wear a sweater of yours, and you ask them to bring it back because you love it, that’s a firm boundary. Let’s say, they don’t bring your sweater back and ask to borrow something else the next time you see them, which you allow. Even if you stated the same request for them to return it, they may not take it seriously because you didn’t enforce it the last time. Even though this may seem like a small thing, it can snowball into feelings of resentment that can often be avoided.” To avoid this feeling, Cheyenne advises “once a boundary is ignored by someone, it’s important to not continue to allow them to have the same access to you.” In this example, you would simply state that they aren’t allowed to borrow other things from you unless they respect your rules moving forward.


People pleasing is a common trap most of us can fall into. Cheyene explains, “We love our friends, and that means that sometimes we don’t say what we’re feeling to avoid upsetting them. Maybe it’s because we don’t want to hurt them, it could be guilt, and it could also be because it's uncomfortable.  However, drawing the line when things don’t work for you, will actually protect your relationships by ensuring that you’re remaining authentic.  If we’re not honest, our friends may think we welcome a certain behavior because…we did say yes, right? The only way for them to know how we’re feeling or what we need is to keep it real with them.”


Although our boundaries can be firm, they aren’t ultimatums. “Firmly stating our expectations of others based on agreements can be done without threatening to end the relationship.” Says Cheyenne. “For example, if enjoy having weekly dinner dates with a friend and they’re consistently late, you can share “When we scheduled this time to meet, I set this time aside for us and I won’t be able to stay any later if you’re late moving forward.” On the other hand, an ultimatum would be threatening to end the friendship because they are late.” Instead, she says “Remember we can’t control other people.  We can ask them for what we need and if they’re unable to show up, like in this example of being on time, then we can honor our boundary by doing what’s best for us, like leaving.”


“Sometimes when we begin enforcing our boundaries, there might be some built up anger or resentment from times where we didn’t advocate for ourselves. However, do not use the excuse of expressing a boundary as an opportunity to tell someone off.” Cheyenne instructs, “Make space to process those feelings with your therapist, coach, or spiritual healer. Then share truthfully with them without being hurtful.  Go back to tip #1 and ask yourself (asking yourself what you need) and focus on that message. The goal is to help them understand how they can show up for you and it’s hard for people to do that when they’re dodging insults.”


Cheyenne offers a gentle reminder, “If you’re asking someone to honor your boundaries repeatedly, and they continuously violate them, then it’s time to be honest with yourself about whether they intend on ever respecting your needs.” Sometimes, “No matter how much we love others, and vice versa, some people choose not to honor our requests. Therefore, we can decide how we need to shift or change how we show up in relationship with them. It doesn’t mean the relationship has to end, but it may mean it’s time to take a step back, and that things will need to change for us to continue to feel comfortable.”