5 Phrases to Honor Your Boundaries

The past few months have seen me setting new boundaries and taking strides forward in how I communicate those to others. We live in a world that chastises us for the boundaries we put up and we are often made to feel guilty for saying to the world, “This is where you end and I begin; Please respect the “I” that makes up our collective “we”. I’ve had some people tell me that it’s the furthest thing from the ‘oneness’ our planet needs.

What I’ve learned though, is that those who say that are often the ones entwined with others who don’t have those boundaries and their paradigm requires that others energies stay open so they can have their needs fulfilled. Words to describe those with boundaries in their eyes are frequently: selfish, bitch, angry feminist, negative, angry at the world, un-spiritual, un-evolved, etc.

It’s not about closing yourself off from the world around you, but protecting yourself so that you can stay radically open to the truly wonderful experiences and people. If you’re bogged down in trying to understand, explain, justify or figure out certain people who keep violating your boundaries, your energy isn’t free to experience that good stuff. You cannot be free of your ego and participate in this beautiful “oneness” because you’re depleted and in a protection mode that speaks to “I” and “me”.

There are 5 key phrases I go back to time and time again that have nothing to do with being spiritual, angry, selfish or angry at the world. They’ve actually protected me from some pretty awful energies and people who didn’t have my best interests at heart and made me a whole lot happier.

1.) “I can’t accept that.”
This has moved mountains I thought were planted firmly to the earth. It doesn’t call into question your worth or the value of your experiences, it sticks to the facts and leaves no room for your worth or power to be called into question.

Why it works:  It connects to the facts, rather than getting tangled in emotional vampire tactics of trying to get you to explain why you’re valuable enough to want what you want. It keeps your message incredibly clear and makes it impossible for those whose unhealthy actions have no justifications to continue trying to steal your power. It states it clearly and puts a stop to anyone asking why you deserve what you’re asking for; It’s okay to follow up with why you can’t accept a situation or experience where you feel comfortable.

2.) “No.”
Hallelujah! Yes! It is a complete sentence and you have permission to use it as one. I’ve reverted to my two-year old self in that I say yes but I say no as well and rather than worry about whether it makes me a negative person, I’m so focused on the things I can now enjoy because I’m not wasting time and energy on things that don’t matter to me.

Why it works: It’s clear and in a lot of situations we forget that this is all we have to say. Would you like to hear more about our store’s credit card? No thank you. I just signed up for this network marketing company and it has great products. No, I don’t want to join you in it or buy those products, but thank you. It keeps the power in our hands when people see a window and try to climb through it into the temple of our person. I took an Uber home from work the other day and the driver started talking to me about his networking marketing business and as soon as I said no, he moved on to another conversation. Simple as that- boundaries aren’t hard unless you willfully ignore them.

3.) “Thank you for that feedback.”
There are some people who are eager to give us feedback that’s meant to help but there are some who have unsolicited advice and they use it to cut you down a few notches because there’s a power issue they have in that moment. Either they don’t feel empowered from an experience somewhere else or their power over others is how they understand their worth.

Why it works: It doesn’t commit you to taking the feedback and it doesn’t say that they’re right about it either. It simply acknowledges that you’ve heard it and that now you’re moving on in the conversation. If someone has an issue with your boundaries, it will flare up right away and they’ll try many different things to try and disarm you to lower them: mocking you, laughing, demanding you make their feedback a priority, say that you need their advice, etc. It’s a great way to recognize those who are truly giving you constructive feedback vs. the kind that’s meant to dis-empower you; Those with your best interests in mind will respect you if they recognize they may have crossed a boundary.


4.) “I’ll get back to you on that.”
I used to feel like I was put on the spot to answer a question about a situation or experience that required thought and consideration. If the question you’re being asked has you feeling like you can’t answer it right away, don’t feel like you have to.

Why it works: You’re not asking the person you’re talking to for time to consider your options. You’re telling them that you already recognize that this requires thought and that you deserve taking it. If it’s a limited time offer that demands you must make a decision on the spot, is it truly a decision worth making? In a world of limited time offers, there are always ways to ensure that you can make an informed decision. If it’s a product or service you don’t have time to decide the importance of because of the time limit others impose, it’s probably going to drain you or be a waste of money.

5.) “Is any part of this negotiable?”
Yes, it’s totally okay to ask whether or not you can change something you want to see happen or evolve slightly differently. Options are one of my favorite things; We can spend hours talking about why we’re worthy of seeing the change we really want, but the truth is that we explain when we aren’t convinced of our worth. Instead of accepting the possibility that something could be closer to what we want, we have to go on a diatribe describing why something makes emotional sense to us to ask for which takes away from what we’re really trying to say and losing the attention of the person we’re negotiating with. People have probably thought I’m annoying for asking so many questions when I hear something isn’t possible, but I like to make sure that if something is possible, I don’t miss out unnecessarily.

Why it works: It tells the person you’re asking that you’ve already arrived at the conclusion that you’re well within your right to ask for a different outcome than the one you’re seeing. If you get it, great, but if not that’s okay too. You get to stand in your power rather than try and grasp at explaining why you think you deserve something different or look back later, upset at the person you accepted services from because they didn’t tell you something else was possible. If they didn’t know you wanted something different, how could they possibly offer that to you?

The truth is that not everyone’s going to respect however you identify the skin and bones that make you up. We create all parts of our experience and everything is fleeting, but the one thing that can become a rock if we let it, is our awareness of our inherent worth. It may seem like this is about acknowledging lack in the world, but it’s really about recognizing that we live in a truly abundant Universe and that part of that abundance is the love and care with which we treat ourselves.

I used to feel like boundaries weren’t the most spiritual things but now, I realize that there is a tangible cost to not honoring them.When I was really sick and bouncing back from going into cardiac shock, I remember that my chest around my heart, would ache when I was doing something I hated doing. The emotional response to negative situations we put ourselves in is all too real and the longer we ignore this is the longer we put our joy on hold. You may not physically experience what you feel in this present moment but if it goes unchecked, that kind of misery will catch up and wreak havoc.

And for what?

If I had actually lost my life while on that hospital bed when they lost my vital signs for a few seconds all I had to say about it was that I spent an overwhelming amount of time doing things that had little to no value to me and for people who were a gigantic pain in my ass while placing an unreasonable importance on their opinions. Now, if I’m doing something or surrounded by certain people, it’s because I genuinely want them there, not out of obligation or duty.

Remember that these phrases work well but if you’ve already articulated your no and someone still isn’t listening, it’s perfectly reasonable to walk away because it doesn’t matter what you say- that person will only “hear” you when you give them what they want.

Boundaries aren’t about fences and keeping people out.

They’re about allowing the right ones in because your light is precious and that temple disguised as your body is sacred. Make sure that those around you are treating you as hallowed ground worth respecting.

Because you’ve got a light in you that could light up this whole planet and the world needs more of that light.


On The Wings of Miracles,

Cheryl Costello




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