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Setting healthy relationship boundaries is a radical act of self-care.

^^^ Read that again.

We live in a culture that likes to ignore boundaries. From the time we’re a kid, forced to hug a relative without our consent, through challenging dynamics with authority figures, social and romantic relationships—we’re taught that setting boundaries is a selfish act; one that damages relationships.

The opposite is true. Boundaries are the foundation of healthy relationships. They’re essential. They help us identify who we are, what we stand for and what we are and aren’t willing to tolerate. 

By setting boundaries, we can protect our energy, honor our needs and show up authentically in all our relationships.

But here’s the problem: Setting healthy boundaries is REALLY @#$% HARD. Especially for those of us—and there are a lot of us—who are chronic people-pleasers and peacekeepers with a strong desire to maintain harmony.

If that sounds like you, then press play on today’s episode of Dear Gabby. 

setting healthy relationship boundaries can be scary

It can be scary to speak up and assert your needs, especially if you’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings or being rejected. 

It can be scary to prioritize your boundaries when you’re a caregiver, or when you’re in a relationship that has elements of uncertainty.

When we don’t set boundaries, we let other people’s priorities become our own.


I’m so excited about today’s bonus episode with my dear friend and bestselling author of Setting Boundaries Will Set You Free, Nancy Levin. Nancy and I share our personal experiences with boundaries (you really have to hear some of these stories!), and we also offer super practical tips and tools that you can start using right away.

Make time for this episode. For real.

in this episode you’ll learn:
  • How to set boundaries in relationships
  • Practical tips to set boundaries with anyone
  • How to develop self-love
  • How to create an authentic sense of self

Seriously, who can’t benefit from that? I know this conversation was huge for me.

Boundaries mean you know your worth. They mean you know what you want, what you will stand for and what you will not tolerate.

Setting boundaries is an act of love for yourself and for others. Boundaries aren’t about keeping other people out; they’re about deciding what you let in. 

Is that selfish? I don’t think so. But even if it were, that’s entirely appropriate. As Nancy says, “Selfish and self-care and self-love are three sisters whose job it is to support us.” So good!

And here’s your Gabby kick-in-the-ass truth bomb: >>> It is not anyone else’s job to uphold or respect or honor your boundaries. It’s up to you. 

So if your boundaries are being crossed, it’s you who is crossing them. This isn’t to shame or blame. It’s to get you to take action on your own behalf, because you deserve it.  Listen now

what about vulnerability?

As an author, spiritual teacher and podcast host, being vulnerable is part of my daily existence. I share deep, intimate, raw details of my life and my struggles with millions of people. But I want to be clear on something … because I’ve talked to a lot of people who struggle with vulnerability and think that means ignoring their boundaries.

Being vulnerable and having boundaries are not mutually exclusive.

Just because you’ve opened up in one area of your life doesn’t mean you need to in others.

Just because you’ve opened up once doesn’t mean you need to again.

Just because you’ve opened up to some audiences doesn’t mean you need to with others.

Just because you’ve opened up partway doesn’t mean you need to open up further.

You know who’d back me up on that? My guest, Nancy. This remarkable person once served as an artist model at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Yes, that means she willingly took her clothes off in front of strangers and let them stare at her and create artistic renderings of her body. Vulnerable? Absolutely. But does that mean she didn’t have boundaries? NOPE. She just knew exactly where her boundaries were, and she lived those boundaries unapologetically. And when her boundaries changed, she changed with them. 

You have the right to set and enforce healthy boundaries, with anyone, at any time, for any reason. Again, I know that’s easier said than done, and that’s why I can’t wait to share this episode with you.

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  • Nancy Levin is a master coach, podcast host and bestselling author of several books. Formerly the event director at Hay House for more than a decade, Nancy is the founder of Levin Life Coach Academy, offering in-depth coaching, training and certification programs designed to support students to vividly live at center stage of their own life. In her book Setting Boundaries Will Set You Free: The Ultimate Guide to Telling the Truth, Creating Connection, and Finding Freedom, Nancy will help you establish clear and healthy boundaries. She includes exercises and practical tools to help even the most conflict-averse, people-pleasing readers learn new habits. You’ll learn how to recognize and take inventory of your boundaries, view your boundaries differently by creating a Boundary Pyramid, learn how to say “no” effectively, and set your Bottom-Line Boundary.

This podcast is intended to educate, inspire, and support you on your personal journey towards inner peace. I am not a psychologist or a medical doctor and do not offer any professional health or medical advice. If you are suffering from any psychological or medical conditions, please seek help from a qualified health professional.

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