Setting Boundaries

Sarah Vance


Boundaries are my favorite thing to bring to parties, and I bet they will be yours too.

Creating boundaries is one of the highest forms of self-care you can do. They are an expression of your value system, an extension of who you are, and a way people know what you will and will not allow to exist in your shared space. They are a form of self-protection through limit setting with other people. Basically, they are how you can deal with any body shaming rhetoric that is trying to be thrown at you at the dinner table.

Before we talk about boundaries, we need to be prepared. What boundaries do you think you may need? Who do you think might say something that will make you feel less than? What will it be about? It could be about food, body, clothes, your beliefs… you get to decide.

Now that you have an idea of what you may have to deal with, how do you want to handle it? What are some go-to phrases that you can have in your back pocket? Some of my favorites:

“Keep your eyes on your own plate.”

“My body isn’t a topic of conversation here.”

Or you can just change the subject, or walk away. This is an act of caring for your mental, emotional, and even physical well-being.

Even if you put a boundary down, it may not work. Sometimes people will not respect your boundary. This is when you need to have some ways of caring for yourself. If that means leaving the party, taking a moment for yourself in the bathroom, or even deciding not to go in the first place – do it. You are important, and if you know that an event is going to be emotionally damaging to you, it is okay not to go. Find people who respect you and will honor your boundaries.

Remember that you are a priority, and worth advocating for. And lastly, remember to care for yourself to the best of your ability. Sometimes these conversations are hard, and gatherings can be difficult at times. What do you need to fill yourself back up?

And ALWAYS remember it is okay to say NO.


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