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Boundaries and Your Circle of Control

Boundaries and Your Circle of Control

On your self love journey, it is important to understand the difference between boundaries and your circle of control. Healthy boundaries are a way to ensure that you are communicating your needs with others while you create a safe space to grow. 

To begin understanding this, you must remember that boundaries are not meant to control others. They are a way for you to set limits and honor yourself when it comes to relationships with others. While working through what that looks like for you, think about what is actually within your control.

What CAN Your Boundaries Actually Influence?

First, reflect on your life. You should to examine the situations that you can actually influence. Then, think about circumstances that you have either no control over and need to release. 

One way I do this with my students is to have them create a circle of control, like the one below:

You begin by listing the things that you can influence inside the circle. The things you really have minimal control over go outside the circle. 

Things outside your circle can impact you and cross your lines, but you will have to decide what actions you will take to minimize their affect. The only thing you can do in these situations is take care of yourself.

If you would like a blank copy of this activity click here for the download.

Here is a list of things that can be added to your circle:

 Your past     Your posture     Other people’s reactions     My attitude     My effort     Asking for help     Other people’s opinions     The weather     Aging     The choices I make     My education     My effort     Politics     Social Media     Comments     Death     If people like me     My mood     Traffic     My Productivity     My words     My decisions

Next Steps

After doing the activity above, think about how you can start to set boundaries for things you cannot control.

For Example:

Maybe you realize that you cannot control your friend’s emotions while she is dealing with her child. This child is causing a lot of problems and your friend is hurt, upset, and frustrated. You cannot change your friend’s emotions to happy, but maybe her constant talk about her child is causing you stress because you cannot help. This might be a place where you need to practice a boundary. You can’t control your friend’s emotions, but you can control how often you listen to the problem, or even how you react. 

You might feel like you know what is best for your friend. Sometimes, they might even ask for advice. Ultimately, though, you have to check in with yourself and decide how much you want to be involved and set that boundary with yourself. This is a part of self love and self trust.


Overall, you will have to understand what you can and cannot influence in your life. After this, it is up to you to begin the, sometimes difficult, task of communicating those boundaries to others

When you do this, you will start to understand who can and cannot respect those boundaries and begin to make more decisions for your life from there.

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What Boundary Category Am I In?

What Boundary Category Am I In?

This is a quiz that assesses which category your boundaries fall into. There are three categories: Weak or Exploratory, Rigid Boundaries, or Loving Boundaries. Understand that boundaries in a person can change based on circumstances. Someone with weak boundaries with their children might have rigid boundaries at work and loving boundaries with their spouse. People can have loving boundaries, then go through a trauma and feel they need to use rigid boundaries for a while to protect themselves while they heal. You probably know all the “right” answers to this quiz, but answer as honestly as you can for yourself.


Whatever the results of this quiz, you are always growing and changing. You do not have to agree with the results and you know yourself better than any quiz.

I see boundaries as a way to…

If someone tells me that I have hurt their feelings I…

After I say no to someone…

When I first meet someone…

On a regular basis I feel:

With my boundaries currently…

When it comes to promises…

When it comes to others I…

When I think about others I feel like they…

When I say no to someone…

When it comes to other people…

When I think of a selfless person I think…

If someone doesn’t understand me…

When I think about how I treat others, I feel like I…

If I say no to someone…

When I want something…

When I am in a conversation with others I find myself…

If I change my mind about something…

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Communicate with Self Love 2

Communicate with Self Love

Do you feel like you communicate successfully? When you talk with others do you stay true to your self love journey? Or do you tend to yell, avoid, or shut down?

Your self love journey will involve being able to talk to others while communicating your boundaries, listening to their needs, and finding a common ground. But how do communicate with self love?

Ask Questions

Start conversations by asking questions that are designed to help you truly understand the other person. Questions like:

  1. What happened?
  2. Can you help me understand…?
  3. What made you decide…?
  4. How did you come to this conclusion?
  5. What is your prediction?

These will really help you know what the other person is thinking and you can decide what you would like to do next.

Come to Agreements

As you begin to understand the other person, you can advocate for yourself. To do this, you need to remind them that you just heard what they were saying and ask them if they can hear what you have to say. Then let them know what you hope to get them to agree to so you both can go forward. After you have said your piece, keep talking until you have something that you both can live with. Unless the person in your life is very toxic, this should be manageable. 

Want a Format to Follow?

There are many ways out there that you can research on how to communicate. I like a restorative formate with paraphrasing and probing and have put together a format that I use all there time here:



Dr. Autumn Thomas

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Self Love and Toxic People

Self Love and Toxic People You Love

As a self love educator and coach, my experience is that toxic people are humans, too. I welcome them to begin their self love journey. But, in the meantime, before they are on a self love path, they can be incredibly harmful to your own journey.

So how do you love a toxic person while also loving yourself?

Define Toxic for Yourself

First, the word toxic can be overused, but it is a word that is necessary when you begin your self love journey. A quick Google Search of “signs of toxic people” turns up over 300 million hits. This means there is no lack of information for you to figure out your own definition. 

For the sake of this article, I will use a basic definition based on what the word toxic means, which is poison. This is a person who is constantly poisoning your mind, heart, or spirit, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

Either way, they are not good for you on a regular basis. We all have toxic traits, but can the toxic person in your life go and reflect on themselves when you tell communicate your needs to them?

Assess the Relationship

You have to decide how important this relationship is to you. If this person is blocking your self love journey, why are you allowing it?

Can you take space while you explore yourself?

Are they capable of giving you space?

You have to make a decision. Do you keep them in your life or do you have to let go. People who are solid in their self-love can sometimes keep a relationship within their boundaries while also delving deeper into the healing that comes with self-love.

At the same time, other people will find that their loved ones lash out at them. They find that they cannot keep a toxic person around because the toxic person and the self love journey will not work together.

Working With Your Toxic Relationship

Our hope, always, is that the person we love will join us on a self-love path. Their journey is theirs and yours is yours and sometimes those paths do not align. Nevertheless, here are some ways you can communicate with a person who might be toxic in your life:

  1. Communicate for agreements, this means that you find ways to move forward with something you can agree on.
  2. Explain that you are on a journey and would love them to come.
  3. Tell them your requirements for a continued relationship (like therapy).
  4. Take space and see if they can work through some of their own issues.

Whatever You do Don't Feed The Toxic:

Even though you want to keep these people around, you need to know that there are some people that you are feeding with your attention. This means that you are giving them the energy they need to continue causing chaos in your life. Your self love journey cannot allow for this. 

Boundaries are the way you make sure that you are not feeding these people and those take time. You have to develop your boundaries and you usually have to go through some stages for them to be fully loving boundaries.


In conclusion, there might be a point when you actually have to step away from someone you love very much. Your self love path might need that so you can put yourself as a priority. What you have to realize is that you are not responsible for other people, you are only responsible for you.

Dr. Autumn Thomas

✨✨By starting a self love journey, you are making a powerful statement to yourself and others. Begin by purchasing our program: Techniques for Self Love and Acceptance.✨✨

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