Establishing Healthy Boundaries as an Empath


What a hot word.

Buckle up folks, we’re diving in.

As an empath and highly sensitive person, I am constantly learning and re-learning what it means to set and execute healthy boundaries in all of my different relationships.

And so I want to put a disclaimer on this article: I am deep in process, friends. As much as I wish I had all the answers for you in regards to what boundaries mean, how they should look, and how to maintain them…. I think we both know it doesn’t work like that. This topic is highly personal, and clarity only comes through trial and error. Please read this through your own unique lens, take what serves you, and leave the rest behind.

That being said, I’ll wager we might have some similar questions, and there may even be some universal truths that can guide us and connect us. And so, this article is intended to be a safe space to get messy, ask hard questions, reflect deeply, and connect through the shared experience of being human.

Let's face the tough questions.

Let’s start with questions. Since I have approximately a million and a half questions around boundaries, I’ll offer some that stand out to me in the hopes you will resonate with at least one of them, and we can normalize how confusing this can be. I offer these as a place to start on your own reflective journey.

  1. How do we set boundaries in place when they are not always linked to tangible, external objects or events? In other words, how do we delineate and define something that is often abstract, intangible, and likely to change over time?

  2. How do I harness my empathic, compassionate and generous nature without abandoning myself?

  3. What’s the line between holding a boundary and being defensive or closed off?

  4. How much and what am I willing to give, and how do I measure it?

  5. How much and what am I willing to take and tolerate, and how do I measure it?

  6. How do we communicate our boundaries?

  7. What do we do when someone crosses our boundary?

  8. If the boundaries we set are in our best interest to keep us safe and whole, why is executing them so damn hard?!

Phew. Let’s stop there and take a deep breath.

Can we just honor how messy this all is for a moment?

And that’s just it.

It is messy, it is complicated, and I just don’t think there’s any way around that.