Iris Mini: Setting Boundaries

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” - Brene Brown

Why are we talking about setting boundaries when coping with cancer? Cancer can feel like an intrusion into your life and your body. Contemplating what kind of physical or emotional space you need from another person (a boundary) can be an important consideration in self-care.

  • Accept that boundaries may change. Try to help others understand this is normal. Some days you feel up for sharing about how you are coping and other days you may not want to talk about cancer.

  • Attempt to communicate your needs and boundaries clearly, which is something that can be hard to do. These phrases can help:

    • This is hard for me to say. I need…..

    • I wish it was different, but right now I need….

    • I am trying to take care of myself and right now I need.... 

  • Know that your boundary or limit might not be understood by the person receiving it. While you are responsible for expressing the boundary clearly and compassionately, you are not responsible for the other person’s feelings.

  • Consider flexible solutions. You may find that there are many ways to draw the “limit line." You can be flexible about how you draw it, but not about what you need.