Boundaries = Visibility

Thank you for your thoughts and questions after the first post I did about Boundaries.

Most of you felt it was a timely reminder for what is going on in your life these days. For some, it is a new concept that just enters your life.

This post is to address some of questions that are worthwhile to share.  It is “Let’s talk about Boundaries Part 2”.


How can I set and maintain my boundaries without upsetting others?

I remember a conversation I had with a friend whom I had not met for a while. Let’s call her Alma.

When we ordered food, Alma asked, with a serious face, this question: “Are you a Vegan now? Please don’t tell me that you are becoming like most of my friends now”.

I laughed and said to her: “No, I am not”. 

I heard a sigh of relief come from her and she went on to let me know how her friends’ decisions to become vegan lately created quite some discomfort for her. We chatted more about it and I discovered that her discomfort had nothing to do with food choices.

In this situation, what struck a cord within Alma was her need to belong. The changes triggered the feeling of insecurity as to whether she would continue fitting in this group going forward. She decided not to change her lifestyle. It is indeed an emotional reaction.

Many of us gather with our friends over food and drinks. We associate food and drinks with socialising, as part of a ritual to belong to a group. This is what the reaction boils down to.


From this example alone, two important principles are to be drawn from creating and maintaining boundaries:

  1. Your boundaries are yours to make and whatever reasons you choose are your truth.
  2. How others react to them is not an issue or a problem for you to solve.

Why? Because you cannot. It is as simple as that.

What you can do is to acknowledge their feelings that arise from the change. Be kind. It helps tremendously.

“Alma, I hear you and I am sorry you feel this way”. I acknowledged her feeling that sounded a lot like grief. It brought relief to her. She could breathe again. Her feelings are valid.


I was also in a similar situation to her. A couple of my friends have also recently changed their eating habits. However, this did not affect me in the way that the choice of Alma’s friends did on Alma.

Obviously, I needed to reconsider a couple of more things when meeting up with them for a meal yet there was no emotional reaction on my part.


Alma and I have 2 different needs and our responses or reactions to others’ new boundaries are strongly linked to them, not to the boundary itself.  This is why there are 2 different reactions from a very similar situation.The reason why people get upset when a new boundary is drawn is because they perceive that they will lose something from the relationship and this negatively affects their efforts to fulfil their needs. 


The truth is they may loose something, but more over, they may gain something too.

Regardless, acknowledging how others feel as a consequence of your decision to create a boundary is a wise thing to do. Their feelings come from the deeper parts of them. Belittling it or revising your decision to stop other being upset is simply disrespectful, towards them and yourself.


In summary:

Yes, you can choose anything to be your boundary as long as it suits you and your values as a person. 

No, you cannot prevent others from reacting in the way they do.

Yes, you can help them by acknowledging their feelings that was caused by this new boundary. Act with kindness. Being acknowledged puts them in a position to accept the changes. Give them time.



What actually happens when I draw boundaries?

Boundaries are created so you are at ease living your life, being true to who you are.

Boundaries allow you to say what you mean and mean what you say. When you say yes, you mean it as a yes. Likewise with a No. 

Such congruence with yourself is bringing the following into your life:

Clarity – you know what is important for you and you interact with the outside world consistently. 

One of my very good friends, a high-flyer talent in her employer company, had a candid and clear discussion with her Boss. Let’s call her Anna.

Anna informed her decision about what kind of role that she wants going forward to her Boss. She explicitly communicated that she is not willing to take on a role that requires office politics management as a larger portion of the role. It is not something she neither likes, enjoys nor gives her contentment. There are others better suited for this because they like doing it.

What is most important for Anna is to be in a role where her intellectual capability is growing regularly and that she delivers tangible solutions for a problem that is critical for the company. She welcomes the opportunity to work with others in the process. It’s been proven for many years that she is excellent in working and managing others.

Anna made it clear to her Boss that her time, her growth and her contentment at work are very important for her. She had poured a lot of herself into the work that she’d been delivering to her employer in all these years. Anna realised that to be her best and perform at her best at work, respecting her needs is a requirement.

Any good employer would listen to such request. Her Boss certainly did and acted accordingly. Employers have no interests in losing their valued employees.

As a Recruiter in my previous career, I know how difficult and costly it is to find a genuinely great Talent.

Anna knows this too and she also believes she brings a lot of value to her employer

Ease at maintaining boundaries is definitely linked to your beliefs about yourself.


Visibility – you feel safe standing in your own unique light.

I associate creating boundary with sculpting. It is about creating a unique shape and dimension based on an inspiration. 

While it can be quite challenging to do, the sculpting process and the end result is beautiful, always beautiful. 

Beautiful sculpture attracts people who appreciate it. These people very likely are staying longer admiring the sculpture they resonate with. There will be people who appreciate it less and they will leave the sculpture after a brief visit.

This analogy is what is happening to you and with you when you have boundaries. You are attracting people who appreciate you. You are encountering people who appreciate you less, and they are not sticking around for long. The ones who do not have common bases with you are going to move on. Consequently, the interactions and connections you have with others (sometimes with more people and sometimes with less) become deeper as you have more space and time to do so. The swing shifts from quantity to quality.

Indeed, boundaries help you to feel safe in being seen and heard as you are.


Resilience – you can always bounce back after a setback.

Many things cause drainage of energy and this happens on a daily basis. One of the top 3 energy drainers is to “make others happy/pleased”

This is indeed a “Mission Impossible” yet many often do this all their lives.

Drawing a boundary that is healthy for you is to move the line from “making others happy/pleased” to “doing my best”. The control is back with you and your decision for your own actions.

Remember, how best looks like may change from one moment to another, so be mindful about what that best looks like everyday.

When you have boundaries, negotiation with others becomes a regular part of your life. With your friends, parents, children, colleagues, whoever is coming your way. Accept this and always remember why you decide to have boundaries. 

Here is something of paramount importance in boundary maintenance: let go of any fears.

Just think of it this way, the invisible circle around you (with you in the middle of this circle) is a FEAR FREE zone. Anything within your boundary MUST BE uplifting.

So, when you draw a line because you are scared of something (which means your intention is driven out of fear), work on letting go the fear in parallel so it eventually becomes an uplifting intention.


Let me share with you my story.

When I experienced the burn out, the first 1-year of my recovery was driven out of fear for being drained again. While I drew the line of “my health comes first”, the intention was so I did not fall into the burn out again (it is a fear-based intention).

In one year, I did many things, including negotiating my work content with my then Boss. I said many more Nos, and I went through a number of therapies (physical, emotional and spiritual). 

After I reached 1-year mark, I realised that the fear was still the fuel of my choices. I decided to flip it. I changed the intention and it became “my health comes first so I am enjoying my life and serving more people”.

Since then, my body, emotions and spirit have become much more resilient. I have seen much more intense growth in the years following that, and I found myself far more resilient in bouncing back from setbacks. These experiences are bringing me here today. Living a life filled with gratitude and given many opportunities to support others.

Despite sounding like a paradox, I believe so strongly that Boundary is a tool that helps all of us to feel safe being visible in our lives – to see, listen and accept ourselves as we are whilst being seen and listened to by others. 


In this post, I’d also like to express my gratitude to you, who are reading my words and listening to my voice.

It is my honour and a privilege to share this growth and growing space with you. Thank you for choosing to show up.

2018 is just around the corner. I wish you a festive celebration of your life in 2017 and also a great 2018 where you are more VISIBLE in your life. See you in 2018!


Warmest regards,




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