Boundaries - Why They are Important & Tips for Setting Them
Updated: Jun 30, 2021
Why It’s Important to Set Boundaries
[Personal boundaries are limits & rules we set for ourselves within relationships. A person with healthy boundaries can say "no" when they want to but are also able to open themselves up to close relationships.]
When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. -Brené Brown
Personal boundaries are important to maintain mentally stability and to have healthy relationships. Having boundaries in place helps us to communicate our needs clearly and to reduce fears of consequences. Boundaries also aid in setting limits with others so we don’t get taken advantage of. They are a form of practicing self-care and self-respect.
When we have unhealthy boundaries, we end up compromising our personal values and, in turn, we lose self-respect. When we lose sight of our boundaries, we tend to give too much of ourselves to others and that often leads to feeling ignored and undervalued.
An example of an unhealthy boundary is expecting others to fill your needs. It’s important to remember that other people are not responsible for our happiness and we are the only ones in control of our emotions. We do not want to give other people this kind of power over us.
If you find that setting boundaries can be really difficult, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! It is something I know I personally struggle with and have been working on lately.
Setting boundaries can be so hard because of our innate want to please other people. When we have such a strong desire to be liked and to avoid perceived conflict, we tend to put other people's needs above our own. We also may fear that setting a boundary will hurt our relationships, therefore, we aren't assertive with our needs and by doing this we compromise our values. This behavior does not help anyone and is, most likely, impacting our mental health negatively!
Setting boundaries is not selfish, it’s self-care!
Tips for Healthy Boundaries
If you are anything like me and have difficulty setting boundaries, here are some tips:
Know your limits: before becoming involved in a situation, know what is acceptable to you & what is not. Doing so helps to avoid being pulled into the trap of giving a little bit more until you've given too much.
Know your values: reflect on your personal values in order to determine your boundaries. A person’s limits are often determined by their personal values. For example, if you value family over everything you may set a boundary around the time you leave from work. You will say "no" to staying late in order to get home to your family.
Have self-respect: ask yourself if you are showing as much respect to yourself as you show to others. Boundaries that are too loose may be due to attempts to be liked & putting other peoples needs above your own. Remember compromising your boundaries for the sake of others will not help anyone.
Have respect for others: make sure your actions are not self-serving at the expense of others. Interactions should not be about taking as much as possible. While boundaries are important, you need to be mindful of other people's feelings.
Listen to your emotions: if you notice feelings of discomfort of resentment, don't ignore them. Try to understand what your emotions are telling you. Trust your intuition and explore what it is trying to tell you.
Be assertive: when it comes time to set a boundary, try not to be shy. Say "no" respectively but without ambiguity. If you can make a compromise while still respecting your boundaries, try it. This is a good way of showing respect to everyone involved.
Consider the long view: some days you will give more than you take & other days you will take more than you give. Be willing to take a longer view of relationships, when appropriate. But if you're always the one giving & not taking, there might be a problem.
Remember, at the end of the day, you are responsible for your own happiness. If you continuously compromise your boundaries, you will be left feeling drained and mentally exhausted.
If you are feeling the effects of unhealthy boundaries, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Call or email me today for support in setting boundaries: