The Be Project: Empowering Youth to be part of the solution to end relationship violence

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Understand-don’t criticize or judge- the people around you.



Boundaries mark a limit of an area. For relationships, boundaries allow us to identify and communicate what we are and are not comfortable with.  Boundaries are not solid walls. They are meant to let the good in and help us keep the bad out.


  • Why are boundaries important?
    • They help us feel safe and secure.
    • They help ensure that our relationships are mutually respectful, supportive, and caring.
  • Common myths about boundaries:
    • Myth: If I set boundaries, I’m being selfish. I should feel guilty about setting boundaries.
    • Fact: If we do not take care of ourselves, we have little energy or care to offer to others. Setting boundaries is actually a kind thing to do, as it helps keep our relationships safe, supportive, and caring. Our relationships are healthier when we set boundaries and respect the boundaries of others.
    • Myth: If I start setting boundaries, I will hurt other people’s feelings. Or, if I start setting boundaries I might get hurt by others.
    • Fact: Boundaries help protect our feelings and the feelings of others. They keep us safe in relationships.
    • Myth: When other people set boundaries, it hurts me.
    • Fact: Boundaries are not there to hurt, they are there to help. Though your feelings may initially be hurt when someone sets a boundary with you, in the long run those boundaries can help keep your relationship with that person healthy.
    • Myth: Boundaries are permanent.
    • Fact: As we grow and change, so do our boundaries. It is normal for our boundaries to change over time, and it is okay to tell others when your boundaries have changed. Just because you have set a boundary with a someone in the past does not mean that it has to stay the same forever.

We all have the right to set our own boundaries and the responsibility to respect the boundaries of other people. Be kind to yourself by standing up for your right to set your boundaries and be kind to others by respecting their rights and boundaries.


Your Rights

  • You have the right to trust yourself.
  • When you feel uncomfortable, you have the right to say “no” or “yes” without feeling guilty.
  • You have the right to stand up for yourself.
  • You have the right to protect yourself in the best way that you can.
  • You have the right to ask for help, both from adults and from your friends.
  • You have the right to be listened to and to be taken seriously.
  • You have the right to decide what is important to you.
  • You have the right to feel safe and comfortable in any situation.

Your Responsibilities

  • You have the responsibility not to make other people feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
  • You have the responsibility to listen when other people say “no” or refuse.
  • You have the responsibility not to talk others into doing something that makes them feel uncomfortable or scared.
  • You have the responsibility to allow others to decide what is important to them.
  • You have the responsibility to ask if someone is comfortable with what is happening.
  • You have the responsibility to do something if you see abuse happening. For example, tell the person to stop, support the victim, and/or tell someone who can make the person stop.
  • You have the responsibility to challenge discrimination and put-downs.











Setting a Boundary

  • Name it—Tell the person what it is you do not like.
    • “I feel (emotion) when (problem happens)” → “I feel very uncomfortable when you stand so close to me”.
  • Direct it—Tell the person what you need them to do in order for you to feel comfortable and respected.
    • “I need you to (action that will help you feel safe)” → “I need you to stand a little farther away and give me more space”.
  • Repeat it—Tell them again. Let them know that you are serious about your need for them to respect the boundary you are setting.
    • “I’m serious. I really need you to (action to help you feel safe) → “I’m serious. I really need you to back away from me and give me more space”.
  • End it—You can only control yourself. If the other person is choosing not to respect the boundary you are trying to set with them, remove yourself from the problem and seek out a trusted adult.




What is empathy and why is it important?


Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and feel with them. It allows us to see the world from the perspectives of other people and gain a deeper understanding of how our actions impact others.


Empathy is important because it is an essential skill for building and maintaining healthy relationships. Empathy and kindness go hand-in-hand—when we are able to feel with others, we become better able to help them.


To learn more about empathy, check out Brene Brown’s empathy video.