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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