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The art of establishing boundaries

Don't be afraid to assert your non-negotiables

Did you know that we can choose how people will treat us? In fact, establishing boundaries is essential to healthy relationships.

Non-negotiables are standards we set in many areas, not just with a partner or spouse. They can apply to what we will not allow another to do to us, what we need from others and how we will treat ourselves. They aren’t about building walls or being unnecessarily difficult, quite the opposite. They allow you to reclaim your power and stand in it with strength.

They usually start off sounding something like, “I don’t do …,” or, “I do not allow someone to ….”


First, determine where you need boundaries. For many, it’s in intimate relationships with a partner or children. You may ask yourself:

  • How do I want to be treated?
  • What am I willing to accept in my relationships?
  • What am I not willing to accept under any circumstances?
  • What is something I must have in a relationship?
  • How do I want to feel in a relationship?

Ask yourself, “How do people treat me in ways I do not like, and who is doing this?” When someone does something that doesn’t feel good emotionally, mentally or physically, take note. These belong on your list.

Some responses or affirmations may include:

  • “I don’t allow anyone to yell at me.”
  • “I don’t allow anyone to degrade me.”
  • “I don’t allow anyone to minimize my needs.”
  • “I don’t allow anyone to verbally or physically assault me.”

Once you have set your bare minimums, then ask yourself: How do I want to feel in my relationships?

Consider some of these…

  • I want to feel valued.
  • I want to feel heard.
  • I want to feel noticed.
  • I want to feel safe.
  • I want to feel understood.

If you aren’t used to asking for what you need, then all this may be challenging — but don’t give up. It may take some time to allow yourself the freedom to form your non-negotiables. Be patient with yourself. The more you define them, in writing, the more you will feel and be empowered. Writing down what you desire is a powerful tool in putting anything into motion.

Remember, non-negotiables are not about being difficult or building walls, but rather about creating boundaries to preserve your integrity and to support you in living your healthiest, happiest life. Don’t you deserve that?

Written by Heidi Sexton

Heidi Sexton is a certified health coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute, a six-year Juice Plus affiliate and founder of the wellness blog and newsletter Reach her at

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