312: Boundaryless: The cost of refusing to set limits.


Many people struggle to implement boundaries with themselves and with others. And one of the reasons they struggle is because of what they are making boundaries mean.

Boundaries will make people think I don’t care.
Boundaries rob me of my freedom.
I shouldn’t have to set boundaries.
… just to name a few.

The truth is, boundaries are what actually afford us deep relationships and freedom in our life.

In this episode of the Grace & Grit Podcast I help you to explore:

  • Why you may be “boundary-adverse”.
  • Why having someone else set boundaries FOR you, doesn’t usually end well.
  • Step to consider when implementing boundaries so you will actually honor them.

If this episode lands for you, please consider sharing it with other women who might benefit from the message.

Boundaryless: The cost of refusing to set limits.

Transcripts are auto-generated.

Courtney Townley 0:00
Welcome to the Grace and Grit Podcast made for women who want their healthiest years to be ahead of them, not behind them. Join your host Courtney Townley right now. As she breaks down the fairy tale health story, you have been chasing all of your life, indispensable action steps and lasting change.

Courtney Townley 0:28
Hello, my friends, and welcome to the Grace & Grit Podcast. This is your host, Courtney Townley. As always, I’m really grateful you’re here spending a little time with me today. Now, inside of my private community Rumble & Rise, we are on a mission this year to restore personal power. And I gotta tell you, we’re only a month into this work. And it is not for the faint of heart.

Courtney Townley 0:52
Why? Because restoring personal power requires doing a lot of things that can bring up a lot of discomfort. Things like having to shine a light on the things that have been costing you power in your life unnecessarily. Light, like consistently breaking promises to yourself, like expecting so much from your physical body, but not honoring the needs of your body in return. So restoring personal power really requires a high level of awareness, and honesty. And those are not necessarily feel good exercises. But they are the linchpin to reclaiming power.

Courtney Townley 1:46
I think restoring power is also not for the faint of heart, because it requires holding yourself accountable to doing the things you said you would do or doing the things that actually help you to feel power full, having difficult conversations, eating in ways that nourish you rather than deplete you. Taking radical responsibility for generating energy in your life, not just spending it but generating it. And not just when you’re in the mood. But every single day. And restoring personal power is also not for the faint of heart. Because it requires putting in place boundaries. So you can fiercely protect your precious resources, like time, energy, and mental bandwidth. So we end up having to put in place boundaries with others, of course, with work with food, with things that are costing us power unnecessarily, but with ourselves. And that last point is really what I want to focus this Podcast on today.

Courtney Townley 3:10
Because a lot of us really struggle to implement boundaries in our life. And one of the reasons that we struggle is because of what we’re making boundaries mean. We’re making them mean that other people are going to be upset with us. Other people are going to think that we don’t care about them. Other people are going to think that we’re difficult to be around. We make boundaries mean that it’s we’re going to rob ourselves of freedom. We say things to ourselves, like I shouldn’t have to set boundaries. These are just a few things that I often hear from my own clients and my own community. And truth be told, I have said these things many times to myself. But something I want you to consider is that boundaries are actually what afforded us deep relationships and freedom in our life.

Courtney Townley 4:15
So in this episode today, I really want to help you to explore why you might be boundary adverse. There’s lots of reasons but we’re going to cover just a few why having someone else establish boundaries for you doesn’t usually end well. And I definitely want to give you some really tangible steps that you can start taking to implement boundaries in your life in a way that will actually help you to honor them. So let’s start with that first piece, which is why you might be boundary adverse. Let’s just face it, humanity does not like boundaries. Humans don’t like setting boundaries. And I said before, a lot of it is because of what we make boundaries mean. But it’s also because if we haven’t had a practice of establishing boundaries, of course, building a new practice is going to be wildly uncomfortable, because it’s new. And it’s uncertain. And it’s unknown how it’s actually going to turn out. So, I want to just go back quickly to that piece, I mentioned about boundaries being difficult because of what we make them mean.

Courtney Townley 5:40
And I already mentioned a few examples. But that first example I mentioned, if I set a boundary with a person, they’re going to think negatively of me. Or they’re going to think that I don’t care. And I want to offer, that you get to decide what you make everything mean. So you could choose to make boundaries mean, that you really do care. And I think that’s what boundaries actually are. We care so much about the health of a relationship. And it being authentic and true. That we are willing to put things in place to help other people understand how to be in relationship with us. We let people know the truth of who we are what we will tolerate, and what we won’t, won’t tolerate.

Courtney Townley 6:39
To that second thought that I mentioned, which is setting boundaries with myself is going to rob me of my freedom. I want to offer that you could choose to think of boundaries with yourself, setting boundaries with yourself as an act you take, because you are so intent on protecting your freedom. Not because it’s costing you freedom, not because you don’t want freedom. But because you so desperately want to experience freedom in your life. You’re willing to set boundaries. And I know that sounds crazy, right? Like how could actually practicing constraint, which is kind of what boundaries are. It’s placing limits on things. How could constraint actually lead to freedom?

Courtney Townley 7:37
Well, think of it this way, I’ll ask you a question. How much freedom do you really feel? On the other side of things like drinking as much alcohol as you want? Or eating as much sugar as you want? Or spending as much money as you want or watching as much Netflix as you want? We’ve all had the experience probably of doing all of those things. What does it feel like on the other side? Does it feel amazing and liberating? Maybe sometimes it does. But what I see happening a lot more often in my life, and certainly the lives of my clients that I work with, is having no limits. And just getting into the freedom of the moment all the time. Ends up caging our life on the other side. We feel restricted in our bodies, because we’re chemically jacked up. Right.

Courtney Townley 8:48
So our joints hurt, we’re getting headaches, we just don’t feel good on our clothes, we have pain when we move. You feel restricted in your ability to follow through with the commitments you’ve made to yourself around the things that you say are really most important to you. So if you drink as much as you want, the next day, there is a consequence to pay. And a piece of that consequence, is going to be lack of motivation to follow through with the things that you said were you or were important to you, whether that’s moving your body, or spending quality time with loved ones or anything else. You’re not really going to have the energy or any other resources available at the level you would like to show up fully for those things. So living boundary lists, sounds like freedom, it’s deceptive. But it actually cages you because of the consequences that ensue. Let’s just be clear what a boundary really is all about NDRI is, is limits, or parameters that we set for ourselves, in relationships, in dedication to promoting the health of the relationship. And yes, of course, this includes the relationship that you have with yourself.

Courtney Townley 10:22
And what I think is really interesting is I coach a lot of women who will really hyper focus on other people disrespecting their boundaries. But I see two problems with this often. Number one, the boundary hasn’t been clearly communicated. But another problem that I see is that the women who are claiming that other people are not respecting their boundaries aren’t even respecting their own boundaries. So, again, they’re not staying true, or following through with the limits they’re placing on themselves, in terms of parameters that help them to stay in a healthy space. So how can we expect other people to respect boundaries of ours, when we don’t even respect boundaries of ours. And the further crazy part, there’s more to this, the more to the craziness, is we don’t respect our own boundaries.

Courtney Townley 11:34
And then what we do is we look to other people to establish boundaries for us, which never goes well. I mean, this is literally to me, the world of dieting, this is what you can eat, this is what you can’t eat. This is how much you should move. This is how much money you should spend, right? We look to other people to create these protocols, these parameters for us. Because we are either unwilling to do it ourselves. I don’t want to say unable, because I really don’t believe that’s true, we are absolutely able to do that ourselves. But a lot of times we’re unwilling to do it. So we’d look to other people to set boundaries for us. And that might work for a while. But eventually, there’s pushback, eventually, there comes a point where we feel like we should do it, because this other person told us we should. And shooting is never really a great system sustainable strategy. Right?

Courtney Townley 12:41
Your inner rebel comes out, that three year old toddler comes out and starts pushing back. And this is why I’m such a huge fan of learning how to be self directed in the wellness industry in the health space, because it allows us to really set our there our own parameters for our life and ensure that we like our reasons for doing so it also gives us the ability to adjust those parameters as we evolve and change because you will evolve and change. But if you are stuck to this one set of rules and regulations that someone else established for your life, and you’re always trying to cram yourself into that little box, eventually, it’s going to feel like an itchy sweater that you just want to take off. So what’s the real solution? Well, the real solution is that we learn how to establish boundaries in our life with others, for our for ourselves for the relationship that we have with ourselves based on the best of what we currently know about ourselves. And we just ensure that we like the reasons for setting those boundaries.

Courtney Townley 13:59
I want to give you some examples of boundaries that may not seem super obvious that may inspire you to just kind of consider the spaces in places you might need to start putting some boundaries in place to restore your own power this year. So I have a boundary in my household with my family that bread chips and sugar never get left on the kitchen counter. And if they do, I will give them away, I will throw them away. Why? Because I have learned that it takes so much of my time, energy and mental bandwidth to manage myself around those things every time I go into the kitchen. So if something is sitting on the counter, like chocolate chip cookies. And I have to manage my brain every time I walked by those chocolate chip cookies, which remember, I work from home, so I’m walking by those cookies a lot. I don’t want him there. I don’t want to use my precious resources to manage my brain. In my safe space, which is my home, I want my resources to be utilized for quality time with my family, for creativity in my business for problem solving, not for managing urges around chocolate chip cookies every time I walk past them.

Courtney Townley 15:46
I have a client who recently shared inside of Rumble & Rise, she’s a Rumble & Rise member, that she has implemented a personal boundary recently around coffee. So she found that she was drinking an awful lot of coffee, and not nearly enough water. So she implemented a rule with herself a parameter that she cannot have another cup of coffee until she has had a glass of water. And I don’t know the size of the glass of water I’m sure she does. It’s probably eight ounces. 16 ounces, who knows. But what’s interesting is that of course, what’s happening is by drinking more water by implementing that parameter. She’s naturally drinking less coffee. And she feels better. And to me feeling better, is the equivalent of freedom.

Courtney Townley 16:47
When we feel good, we have more freedom. In our life, we have more confidence, we’re more willing to go after things, it’s easier to do the things that we said we would do.

Courtney Townley 17:05
I’ll give you one more example. I have another client who has a limit of how much time she is willing to spend at her husband’s business events, these social events. She’s she’s a she would call herself introverted. And she wants to support her husband when he invites her to these events. But she knows herself well enough to know that she needs an out. So what she has done to make this possible is every time they go to a social gathering together, they take two cars. And she has the option to leave whenever she has had enough whenever she has met her limit. And it’s so beautiful because it’s instead of either or all or nothing thinking I can either go or I can stay at home, I can either support my husband or I can support my nervous system, she can do both. I can go to the party, support my husband, engage with people to a point. And when I’m ready to go. I have my car in the driveway, and I can meet him at home. I think it’s so brilliant.

Courtney Townley 18:29
So I want to give you some really tangible steps for just maybe considering where you might need to set some boundaries in your own life in order to start restoring some of your own power. So I want to start with a couple questions. First of all, where are you losing power unnecessarily? Where are you spending resources unnecessarily? So I gave you the example for me of having certain food items on the kitchen counter. It’s a terrible waste of energy for me. So I need them removed, I need them gone. And I know that no one else is going to do that for me. So I will just take care of it if necessary. But I also have certain people in my life that kind of caused the same resource drainage from me, I can only spend so much time with certain people. But before I feel like I’m losing power, this isn’t all people but there are certain people in my life that I just have to do a lot of work to manage myself around. And I can manage myself if I allow myself small doses of these people. And so I have identified that if certain people take a lot of my resources, I really have to be careful about how much time Am I willing to spend in their presence?

Courtney Townley 20:05
Another way to think about this is what things do you have a really tough time regulating yourself around. So for me, obviously, the sugar, the chips, the bread, it takes a lot of my bandwidth to manage myself around those things. I struggle to regulate myself around those things. I see my son, if he plays video games, he has a really hard time regulating himself. He’ll just play endlessly, which is why we step in to regulate him around that. And we’re having a lot of conversations around this, right how to use it responsibly, which is him learning how to regulate himself, when he’s playing video games. regulation requires resources. It requires time, it requires energy, it requires mental bandwidth.

Courtney Townley 21:03
And another one for me is social media. So if I am spending a lot of time on social media, it is costing me all these resources that I could be putting towards other things in my life. I could be using that energy and that time, and that mental aptitude for productivity, for problem solving for creativity, to really be with people.

Courtney Townley 21:36
So where are you losing resources unnecessarily? And or where are you struggling to regulate yourself? What substances Do you have a challenge? Regulating yourself with social media being an option? Maybe it’s alcohol, maybe it’s certain other stimulants? Maybe it’s shopping? Maybe it’s Netflix, maybe it’s food, it could be anything? And what is it costing you to not be able to regulate yourself around those things. So again, with my example of the things get left on the counter, I can for a period of time, regulate myself. But if those substances stay on my kitchen counter, there is going to come a point, usually later in the day when I’m tired, and I’m stressed, and I’m hungry, where all my regulation capacity just kind of goes out the window, and I just get very reactive. So what is it costing you really, to not be able to regulate yourself around certain things? Is it costing you self trust? is it costing you frustration? is it costing you goals? Because to me, a lot of those things are actually freedom oriented. So not setting limits, with certain things in your life, are actually caging you I said that before? But I want to say it again, because I think it’s such an important thing to hear.

Courtney Townley 23:12
Thirdly, what are some boundaries you might want to implement to restore your power in those areas, to give you the kind of freedom you really crave. I follow a gal online called Hannah Brencher. And she, she, she’s a writing coach. And she is she’s just brilliant she is she’s just an incredible author. But anyway, she recently put out this sheet for it’s called unplugged hours. Because she had mentioned that she was really struggling with being away from her cell phone like not, she wasn’t giving herself any time during the day to step away from her cell phone. So she set this goal last year of starting to accumulate 1000 hours of being completely off of her cell phone. And she said by doing that exercise and actually accomplishing it, it was life changing. Because what she was able to give the resources that she was giving to her cell phone, how she redirected those resources changed her life, her relationships got better, her anxiety went down. So much goodness came from that experiment. And of course, I’m sure on some level she’s gonna keep doing it.

Courtney Townley 24:30
So how might you be able to set up some boundaries? Or limits with the things that you struggle to regulate yourself around in order to create more freedom in other areas? And then here’s the question I always love asking. Once you identify the boundaries that need to be set, why aren’t you going to do it? Why aren’t you going to set the boundary? Why aren’t you going to follow through with protecting your boundary Be. And I’ll tell you a big thing for me, I have found this in my own life is if I keep my boundaries, even my boundaries with myself private, it’s really easy for me to walk all over my own boundaries. But if I declare it, if I post the things I’m working on on my refrigerator, right?

Courtney Townley 25:23
If I tell my family, between six and nine o’clock at night, I am not going to be on my cell phone. Then there’s like this extra layer of accountability. And that can be immensely helpful. But here’s the thing, you can’t get pissed at your family, when they call you out for ignoring your own parameters. I see women do that. And it is funny, but it’s also like, okay, come on. I mean, you set yourself up for that reminder, you cannot get upset when your family actually holds you accountable to that. And then just really recognize that when you actually set these parameters in your life, when you do set limits and dedication to improving the relationship with your, with your self, and with these other things in your life, it does afford you a high level of freedom. So what is that level of freedom? Are you feeling more confident? Are you feeling more productive? Are you feeling more creative? Are you feeling better in your body? Do you have an easier time moving through the world physically? Like what is the freedom that that parameter that boundary is affording you it’s a great thing to consider?

Courtney Townley 26:43
All right, I have two reminders for you at the end of this episode today. One is that the Healthiest Year Yet, which is usually an event that I run in January, I am running it this year, I’ve had several people actually reach out and ask me about it. But I’m running in February. So it will be the 13th through the 17th of February it is going to be free. So if you want to coach with me for a week within a group environment, and help you to get some traction, for reclaiming your power in 2023, I highly encourage you to save those dates to participate. You don’t have to save the whole day. I’m teaching live every morning at 830. But even if you can’t be at the class live, of course, I will send you a recording. So you can watch it in your own time. But we infuse a lot of fun and a lot of opportunity to win prizes throughout the event. So that’s why I say just kind of mark those dates on your calendar. We will be opening registration by the end of January.

Courtney Townley 27:43
And the second thing and I say this in every Podcast and I will say in every future Podcast if what we talked about here on the show lands for you. And you need help with the practice putting rubber to the road and actually applying the things that we talked about on this show. And or you are someone who is just very interested in restoring personal power this year. Come join us inside of Rumble & Rise. It’s an incredible incubator of education and support and community. It is unlike anything in the wellness industry for so many reasons but you can read all the details and register by going to graceandgrit.com/readytorumble once again graceandgrit.com/readytorumble

Courtney Townley 28:32
Alright my friends that’s all I have for you today. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week. And I will see you again next week. Take care.

Courtney Townley 28:45
Thank you for listening to the Grace & Grit Podcast. It is time to mend the fabric of the female health story. And it starts with you taking radical responsibility for your own self care. You are worth the effort and with a little grace and grit. Anything is possible.




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