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,




Let’s talk about boundaries (Part 1)

“How do you do it? How do you keep yourself as composed and energetic after your session with me?”

Asked one of my clients, a week after I facilitated a 2.5 hours RTT (Hypnotherapy) session for him. And he was serious about it.

Indeed, a very good question, and one that I have been asked a lot in the past few years.

So, the topic of today is about boundaries.

Why? Having and maintaining my boundaries are key to keeping my energy and composure during an intense and unpredictable time.

Truthfully, boundaries were a big issue for me too. The lack of them, to be precise. This actually led me to a burnout in 2008. What a profound lesson it was.

In fact, it got me making a lifelong commitment towards myself to do my best to honor this concept called boundaries (it is, after all, a concept. It is not a physical fence we gate ourselves with!).


What is a boundary?

Let’s reflect on what is a life without boundaries.

Everyday, we start the day by waking up and getting ready. Soon after, we roll with how the world around us revolves. We “play” according to others’ needs: the deadlines at work, the people to coordinate, the task list that keeps on growing, the tantrum a child throws that morning, etc. etc. etc.

The day continues. Meetings, calls, clients sharing their problems, colleagues asking us to solve their problems, etc. Before we know it, we’re in bed at night exhausted, often unable to recall what has happened, yet feeling somewhat defeated.

Defeated by life or by the events that happen that day.

You are likely lacking a healthy boundary when you feel one or more of these:
• Exhaustion, physically and emotionally;
• Irritated easily, by someone or something, as if there is something wrong, missing, or lacking;
• Unclear, confused and indecisive. Often the following thoughts come to your mind: “I don’t know who I am anymore, I don’t know what I’m doing here, why does this situation keep happening to me?” etc.;
• Anxious, anxious, anxious, as if you are lacking time, energy, resources, or support to do what you want to do;
• Feeling ashamed, as if regardless of what you’re doing, you’ll never come close to what is expected;
• Feeling scared of making mistakes or making a wrong decision;
• Feeling guilty for having a habit of being overly helpful to others that it actually takes too much out of you;
• Feeling overly worried for others’ problems.


In my mind, boundary is a concept. It is a guideline created to help us feel safe and comfortable being who we are. I imagine it is like an invisible circle around each of us. Operating from this space helps us stay centered and grounded. My client recognizes it as “composed and energetic”.

This invisible circle helps us to manage how we interact with others and how to handle others’ behaviors when they cross it. Everyone has a unique set of boundaries as it is determined by our personality, values and beliefs.

There are 4 types of boundary:

1. Physical boundary.

Personality, family and cultural upbringing usually influence this. You can sense it quite easily by close observation. Reading body language and facial expressions helps a great deal. Among others, see how people greet each other, how they position each other in a group (how much space is in between them), and how they express themselves through gestures. Honoring this boundary keeps us feeling safe.

2. Mental boundary.

When we interact with others, exchange of thoughts is inevitable.

Paradox to the label, a healthy mental boundary allows you to expand yourself while feeling safe. It enables you to openly share your view, based on your conviction while also accepting that others may disagree with you. You conduct the interaction calmly. When you decide to agree with other’s opinion, you own this opinion as your own, without judgment, especially against yourself. You have a healthy dose of open-mindedness.

Lack of mental boundary makes you build a tendency to always follow others’ opinions without internalizing it. Saying NO is difficult for you.
Another form of lack of this boundary is that you easily become defensive and highly emotional in a discussion. Everything, even little things, can feel like a personal criticism or attack. Yes, being much less grounded and composed.

3. Emotional boundary.

This is about distinguishing your feelings from others and keeping them separate.

A healthy emotional boundary allows you to be present for others without absorbing their feelings. It helps you to be compassionate with others.

When this boundary is robust, you have much more energy to help others. You empower them by being available to listen (with your heart and mind) to them. In essence, you offer a safe space for them to hear themselves.

An unhealthy one often makes you react in a highly charged up way. You tend to blame or attack others or take on guilt or any negative feeling that is not yours. Such situation drains you.

4. Spiritual boundary.

This is about what you believe about God/Source/Higher power/Universe and how you live this in your life.

All of these boundaries combined are useful to have in any situation, both in personal and professional settings.


Why boundaries are so important?

We are at our best when we are in flow. What does it mean, being in flow? It is a state of being where the comprehensive systems we have (mind, body, spirit) work together in a natural dance, without us neither over-engineering nor overthinking anything. We often label this state creative, inspired (In-spirit), ingenious, or resourceful.

You don’t tell your body how to breathe. You decide you want to live. Your body, mind and spirit combine do the rest. Your MAIN task is NOT to disturb this so the innate collaboration works smoothly.

See it?

Boundaries help us ensure we’re not blocking our mind, body, or spirit to do what they are meant to do to fulfill our desires. It is as simple as that.

We are the sole key holders of our boundaries. External actions done by others are just triggers to remind us how healthy or unhealthy they are.
Every time we are triggered, it is a sign that we need to do something uplifting to strengthen it.


Why is it so challenging to keep boundaries strong at all times?

Firstly, some of us do not have the concept of boundaries in our life.

Secondly, we’re not aware that these boundaries are organic. They are alive, like we are. It is not like the Great Wall of China that stands there for hundreds of years.

We are human, with emotions, and we evolve continuously. As an adult, what is a good boundary today may not be a good one in 6-months time.

We know that our boundaries need upgrading when interacting with others brings more pain than joy. That’s a big clue. Conflict with others is actually useful as it tells us a new boundary needs to be placed. Whilst painful, it’s a tool to help you re-establish what the new boundary is.

The truth is a boundary is something that we develop overtime. We were not born with it.

Babies cry when they feel like it, to communicate what they feel and need at that moment. They really don’t care that the parents are sleeping, even if it is 2:14 AM.

Growing up, we learnt from our immediate environment what kind of boundaries there were. What was right and wrong, accepted and not.

We adopted these standards very early on in our childhood, mostly before 7 years old. We eagerly did that as a way to belong and to ensure that we were loved and taken care of. It was a way to keep us safe and alive.

The most powerful machine in our mind, our subconscious, records everything that we experienced and it found patterns of what was good and not, what was acceptable and not, what was safe and not.

Once these patterns/assumptions are set, our subconscious mind runs and powerfully influences how we behave and responds to the environment around us. Without fail. Until today.

In essence, boundaries are a cocktail of chosen beliefs about ourselves, about others, and about life mixed with our personality.


So, how do we create and maintain boundaries with ease?

Here are some important ingredients to a healthy and strong boundary:

1. Accept that you have the right to have a boundary.
This is the foundation. While you are a part of a family unit or a community, you remain your own person.


2. Accept your personality and your values as they are.
Embrace that you are an outgoing introvert, for example, and feel at ease with how you recharge your energy. Choose to act in a way that feels aligned with who you are.


3. Identify what emotional needs you have in your life right now.

Tony Robbins categorizes 6 human needs that everyone across the globe has in common and we all do all that we can (consciously and/or unconsciously) to meet them:

a) Certainty: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure;
b) Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli;
c) Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed;
d) Connection/Love: a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something;
e) Growth: an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding;
f) Contribution: a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others.

Take a moment to identify what you need right now.


4. Set your intention, based on your needs.

Once you identify which need(s), set a powerful intention for it.

What is an intention?
It is a powerful sentence that captures your deepest desire for and of yourself based on your needs (see step 2 and 3), at a particular point of time.

Here are a couple of examples:

When you want to have more “love” in your life, a possible powerful intention for you would be “I am here to experience love for myself and others” or “I am love” or “I am lovable” or “I am enough”.

When you want to feel more “significant” in your life (feeling recognized, acknowledged, unique, etc.), an intention could be “Through work, I gain clarity of what talents I have” or “I live my life loving and embracing my unique self and talents” or “I embrace opportunities to share my talents” or “I am appreciating and accepting who I am”.

An intention is inward focused.

The intention you choose will bring all kinds of experiences into your life. It also plays a role as an alarm system that goes off when an experience that you DO NOT want enters your life.


5. Choose for actions, big and small, that are aligned with your intention, regularly, every day.

What does an intention have to do with your day-to-day life? A whole a lot. Its most important role is to bring you back to your center when the world around you is chaotic and messy.

Whether you realize it or not, your life is filled with decisions. All the time.
How you respond and conduct yourself at any time is a decision point. When you know what you intend to allow being in your life, choices on what to go for become obvious. Much more obvious.

How you bring yourself in dealing with challenging situations at work or in your personal life would be more impactful when they are fueled by the same energy that you wish for yourself. In the examples above, it is from a place of giving love and significance.

Law of physics says action leads to reaction. What you give out is what goes back in.

When you love yourself, how you deal with others, regardless of how challenging the situation can be, will be fuelled with love. This is the REAL BOUNDARY that I am talking about.

A real boundary is the deepest desire you have for what you want in your life leveraging who you are and what you stand for. The other side of this is what you want to filter out from your life.

When you are committed to yourself and your intention, a real boundary is formed. It is an uplifting one. It is easier to let go of your needs to get something from the outside world. It is easier to say NO. It is easier to let go of the needs to be RIGHT over doing what is best for you.

What happens when you face difficulties in any of the steps above? Wait for Part 2 in the next newsletter.

Now, let me let you in on my inner world.

These days, I want more connections (with myself and others), growth and opportunities to contribute.

I decide that my intention is to open myself up for good, love and wisdom, more than I ever experienced, realized and imagined before.

I learnt a profound lesson from the burnout in 2008. I used to believe that I would be accepted and loved only when I over achieved. This was consistent in all areas of my life. I always gave more, even when not asked. My boundary then was the fear for not being loved, for feeling that I was not enough. Of course I did not realise this at the time. I delved deep, asking myself how I drove myself to the point of a burn out. The answer was clear – the unconscious fear was the driver. I had an unhealthy boundary at the time.

I’ve changed my belief since. I commit to my wellbeing over anything else. Since, my boundaries have grown stronger. I make better choices for my life. Not easier, but better. Definitely more often than not. The bottom line is that I feel grateful for my life today and excited about what is to unfold.

This is why facilitating an RTT/Hypnotherapy or a life coaching session or a workshop does not take more energy than it needs. It’s because I am clear of why I am doing it and of my boundaries. I give my best without sacrificing my wellbeing.

Makes sense?

For now, I want to know what are your challenges in keeping your boundaries and what you plan to do about it? Please share in the comment section below.

Looking forward to hear from you and see you again, latest in Part 2!