Grief Recovery Specialist, Writer + Blogger

Boundaries for Empaths: A Primer

leaf boundaries for empaths how and why
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Without a doubt, one of the most critical life skills and lessons is BOUNDARIES. Duh, duh, duh in ominous tones. Lol. In fact, those who sign up on my website here (via the pop up or at bottom of most pages) get a free gift, an e-book on how boundaries and energy clearing is the number one life essential for empaths and highly sensitive people (and they really benefit everyone).

Boundaries are truly one of the most important life keys! Discernment is everything. We all have a lot to give in this world, and we’re here to do that. But while energy can be replenished, there’s only so much available at a given time. As an empath, your energy is sensitive and requires careful tending. 

NO is a complete sentence. And it can be said with love. People who respect you (and have done the inner work) won’t have a problem with boundaries. Keep in mind that those who benefit from you having no or lacking boundaries will likely protest, in subtle or outright ways. In general, you must prepare yourself for this. Your wellbeing should be your priority, not martyring yourself to others’ needs, desires, or preferences. Many of us struggle with people pleasing, which is just another way to say the same thing (pleasing others above yourself). Saying yes when you mean no depletes your life force and is a betrayal of self. It’s also not authentic and we will ultimately resent the other person as well as ourselves without even realizing it at times.

How and Why to Set Boundaries as an Empath

Setting boundaries really isn’t about the other person, even though it often feels that way. It’s not to get anything or change them, which won’t work anyway and is manipulation. Boundaries are for YOU. Sometimes we need or want to verbally express our truth, but just as often it’s more of an internal process of getting clear and then acting in alignment with that. I have a practice that helps you do exactly this, located here.

If you, like most of us humans, have trauma in your past or are sensitive, setting boundaries can feel terrifying and like abandonment. This is especially true if you grew up in a family where there weren’t boundaries (codependency or enmeshment), or the message or perception was that having any meant a loss of acceptance, love, or belonging. Which, by the way, is how most every human grows up, through no conscious fault of parents (outright abuse is a different category of course).

Beginning to set boundaries and limits in relationships can thus bring up feelings of shame and guilt. The work is to feel the fear and do it anyway, bit by bit, while staying present in the body (the here and now). Breathe and allow the emotions and stuck energies to come up and out, liberating you in the process. Most of us need a guide or support person to help with this, which I do with my clients (I needed a lot of help in the past too). You might consider which triggers to address as well.

Others’ experiences and reactions to your boundaries are valid but not your burden to bear, they are their responsibility (just like yours are yours). We get our energy, power, and life force back when we set them, plus self-respect, which we may not even realize had been chipped away over time. It ALSO puts us in a new energy frequency to attract healthier connections and circumstances that reflect this self-honoring.

Looking for some support in this process? Email me at to set up a free 30 minute discovery call!

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