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  • Abbie Cole Hillis

Setting Intentional Boundaries

Today, I am chatting all things boundaries.

I catch myself day dreaming and thinking back to the memories I had from the high school days or even early college. And I think…”WOW, I have come so far.” I think about the human I was then. I think about how I handle situations then and how I could have handled them better. I think about the friends I have lost, the friends I have made, the boyfriends, the drama. Honestly, I reminiscence on it all. It’s so good to reflect and look back and see how far you come. It’s important to pat yourself on the back, acknowledge the hurdles you have overcome, and identify the hurdles you have in front of you and how your past is going to help you handle the future.

Something I didn’t look back on and acknowledge, until recently, was my lack of boundaries and the STRONG need for them in my life. A boundary is a limit you set. You set it to protect yourself and to protect others. Boundaries are crucial to have for success, self-care, business, relationships, friendships, family, and really everything in life.

Boundaries help define your legacy/mission. They shape the path to accomplish goals. And if not done correctly, boundaries can really be inhibiting to your success.

As you all know, I am a survivor and I do stand up for any and all humans who have experienced sexual assault. But what most people don’t know, is how important I think that boundaries are in order to promote a better healthier culture around sexual assault.

As a sister to four brothers, I lived a life of protection like no other in high school. My brothers had every guy at Round Rock High School terrified to approach me, and let’s be honest, this over-committed gymnast didn’t have time for it. Reflecting back now, I had NO IDEA how much they were protecting me. I just assumed guys respected me. I didn’t understand that my protection came from an external boundary created by someone else.

So college came, and this crazy college girl was ready to pursue new friendships and relationships. My intentions were always good but my boundaries were non-existent. I didn’t know who was. I didn’t set my goals for the year. I didn’t identify who I wanted to be or didn’t want to be. I didn’t establish what I was okay with someone doing to me and what I wasn’t comfortable with, because frankly I had been so protected by my family, I didn’t need them.

After all that I have experienced, I am here to say boundaries give you life. They are important. And they will either set you up for success, or allow unwanted negativity, stress, and anything in between into your life. Boundaries are a struggle for me still to this day. I am a ‘yes woman’ type of gal. I like to please people. And I am loyal as efffff. If you are in my corner, I struggle so much saying no, setting boundaries, taking care of myself and making sure my cup is full before sharing it with others. It’s a part of who I am.

I am also learning that my happiness increases when I set healthy boundaries. Specifically one I am working on is business boundaries. I have struggled at valuing myself and the services me and my team provide. It’s hard to value yourself. I want to just give everyone my services for near to nothing. And that has resulted in a financial struggle. Hillis and I are sitting down trying to figure out how we are going to pay our bills. It’s not fun. BUTTTT I am working on the boundaries I need to set to get out of this.

Another boundary I am working on: mental management. My mind is the most powerful tool I have. And if I don’t spend time on it, I cannot continue down the successful path I am on. I have made it a point to invest in therapy, to meditate multiple times a week, to set my intentions at the beginning of the day, and to provide grace to myself when I fall short. This is a boundary. It’s establishing what you want to let in and what you want to keep out.

What about friends? See boundaries with friends are hard. Because that is a relationship that is full of taking and giving. And in most relationships, the taking and giving fluctuates. I am first to say I will overstep a boundary I have created for a friend, that I know needs me to do so. But I also ask myself when I overstep that boundary I have promised myself, if that friend would also do it for me. And if the answer is yes, I go for it. And if the answer is no, I really sit back and think about the implications of why I set the boundary, and whether or not it is in both that friend and my best interest to overstep it. THIS IS HARD. I struggle with this daily but it has helped me set guidelines on the giving. I love to give myself to everyone. And that just isn’t healthy or sustainable.

The 29 year old me, looks back on the 18 year old me and wishes I knew what boundaries were. But wishing what the past was isn’t going to help, so instead I encourage you all to set boundaries in your own life and help others to do the same. If I could sit down with 16-18 year old’s and tell them one of the strongest tools they can use in life is understanding their mind and using that understanding to set boundaries in their life, I would do that everyday. People need to set boundaries. They need to practice them. And they need to communicate them. Imagine a world in which we all communicated our boundaries and respected each other’s boundaries. MAN, wouldn’t that be amazing?! Just think about it.

And if you are someone who is completely opposite of me, and sets TOO many boundaries, then I challenge you to remove the boundaries you don’t need in order to protect yourself. Work on knocking down some of those boundaries. Find that middle ground. It is soooo important to find.

Today, choose one boundary you realize you haven’t set, and set it. Or identify the one boundary you have created that has been a hindrance to your goals, and break it down. Be intentional about how you are going to sustain it. And practice it. Share it. Find people to hold you accountable. And when you feel like you have a solid stance on that boundary, set another.

Peace. Love. And Boundaries Ya’ll.

PS - If you want to read a good article on how to set better boundaries, check out They have it figured out!


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