Setting boundaries are difficult and uncomfortable. It is no walk in the park for most of us, but setting boundaries helps us establish healthy relationships. It also allows us to build a strong sense of self-worth. Boundaries are essential for thriving relationships and overall healthy life.
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What does it mean to set boundaries?
By definition, boundaries are a “psychological demarcation that protects an individual’s integrity that helps a person set realistic limits on participation in a relationship or activity.”
Setting boundaries in a relationship or with someone are guidelines, rules, or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe, and permissive ways for others to behave towards them. It shows others what we find acceptable and unacceptable in their behavior towards us. The purpose is to protect and take care of yourself.
Setting boundaries isn’t selfish or mean
As aforementioned, establishing and maintaining boundaries with friends or partners can be challenging because we often think about what others may say or how they would react. We also worry about how they would feel or relate to us after we set these limits. To save face, we put on a happy face even though our energy is being drained on the inside.
Do not feel that having boundaries is selfish or mean; it is the opposite. Creating boundaries means honoring ourselves as a separate individual with needs and wants that differs from others. Without healthy boundaries, we allow others to invalidate our feelings and desires. Setting these limits is an integral part of establishing one’s identity and is a crucial aspect of our mental health overall well-being.
The word “boundary” can be misleading and interpreted the wrong way because it is perceived as wanting to keep to yourself. But boundaries help to provide healthy rules for navigating relationships, intimate, platonic, or professional.
Boundaries to set within yourself
The ability to know and set your boundaries generally comes from a healthy sense of self-worth and self-value. It is not based on people and the feelings they have towards you. Instead, you are saying to yourself, “This is okay me, and this is what I am not okay with. I will not cross this line.” If self-worth is something you struggle with, learning to set boundaries will help you find the value in who you are.
Here are some boundaries you can set:
- Set a routine to have “Me” time.
- Detox from social media periodically.
- Try to avoid people who hurt you, cause stress, frustration, and negativity.
- Understand that you cannot be everything and anything for everyone.
- Refrain from doing work after work hours.
- Try to keep a regular sleep and wake routine.
- Say “no” and be okay with it.
- Work on managing your time to avoid ‘burn-out.’
Can you think of other boundaries you can set for yourself?
Benefits of having boundaries
Everyone is unique and has different values, opinions, and beliefs. Therefore everyone’s boundaries will be unique. The boundaries you create and set for yourself will emulate your needs and priorities and ultimately positively impact your life.
So let’s get into these benefits, shall we?
It conserves your energy
When you are always on the go for others, you leave little to no time for yourself. Your energy is the power and ability to be physically and mentally active and healthy. With boundaries, you are setting a limit with others that will help you preserve enough energy to care for yourself after. Boundaries you set with others will vary depending on the situation or a person, but creating boundaries will protect you from draining your energy before using it on others. This will give your life the potency, power, and capacity to possess qualities like determination, passion, tranquility, dedication, patience, and persistence.
It helps you maintain your individuality
Your identity may easily get lost when you are in a relationship (professional, intimate, platonic). Your interests and goals may start to change and reflect that of the other person. Setting boundaries helps you to maintain your identity in any relationship. If you are not setting clear boundaries, the lines can become blurred, and your individuality will get lost.
Its shows growth and maturity
When you set clear boundaries and decide which situations you are comfortable with and which ones you are not, you learn more about your wants and needs, and how you can better take of you. This brings growth and maturity, and as a result, you will then be able to make decisions with confidence and turn your energy towards things that add value to your life.
You learn to put yourself first
Taking time out of your busy schedule to take care of you is not often easy. Life can get very demanding and overwhelming at times. Saying “no” isn’t easy, but it is necessary from time to time. Creating boundaries helps you to take care of yourself first. It shows that you value your feelings and needs and are not responsible for how others feel or behave. With boundaries, you keep yourself from overextending yourself.
It creates a safety net
As emotional beings, we can easily be hurt and disappointed by people and things in life. Having limits helps to creates an emotional safety net between you and others by keeping out what makes you feel uncomfortable and hurt.
It creates realistic expectations and limit resentment
Communicating clear boundaries can be challenging to do. But with practice comes permanence. When people know what to expect and what you are not comfortable with, it leaves little room for resentment and anger to grow. Boundaries are not set in stone, they are flexible, but once you are consistent in communicating clear boundaries, the easier it will become.
It’s not easy being taken advantage of. It is not fun! You feel betrayed and let down after someone you trusted wholly abused the relationship. However, you are responsible for deciding how you spend your time and who you spend it with. Don’t be afraid to set your boundaries; otherwise, if you don’t, you will become resentful to others, which will create an atmosphere of negativity, and it will drain your energy. Set that boundary!
It improves your relationship and helps to weed out toxic ones
Yes, I said it! Boundaries improve your relationship with others. It sounds like it may make the relationships detrimental, but it won’t. Trust me on this. It is paramount to keeping a relationship thriving. It is impossible to please everyone … all the time! There must be a balance. Setting limits helps you maintain your identity (as mentioned earlier) because it encourages you to acknowledge that others have limits. It creates structure, and it gives you time to take a moment to disconnect, reflect, and recharge.
On the other hand, not all relationships are meant to last, and with setting limits, you have to come to terms that not all relationships will survive these boundaries that you make. Guess what? That is okay!
It sounds harsh and cruel, but would you drain all your soul to continuously meet others’ needs that are not adding value to your life? I think not! If you have no boundaries in your life, you may have people around you who are just using you to their advantage. People who like to take advantage of others tend to cling to those with weak or no boundaries. So believe it or not, some of your friends are only with you because you don’t say no and you simply just go with the flow all the time.
You are deserving of a healthy and thriving relationship, so set those boundaries!
How can you go about establishing boundaries?
There is no rulebook on creating boundaries, because they are a deeply personal choice that varies from person to person. Your boundaries are shaped by many factors, such as religion, life experiences, family dynamics, culture, and your temperament. So making boundaries won’t always be comfortable and easy (understandably – we are only humans!), but here are some tips that can help you to start setting clear boundaries.
- Remember that your mental health is important.
- Understand that you have rights too.
- The only person you can control is YOU. You cannot control a person’s thoughts, actions, or feelings.
- Be clear about what you want, what you are comfortable with, and what lines you may not be willing to cross when communicating with others.
- Have a level of self-awareness of your values and beliefs.
- Be direct, be honest, and be transparent. Don’t feel like you have to apologize for your needs.
- Trust your gut. Your instinct can help determine when someone is violating or devaluing you.
- Understand that you cannot please everyone and be okay with that.
- Be assertive and safeguard your space.
- Expect resistance and negative feedback. If this happens, don’t let this break you.
- Setting boundaries is an on-going process that changes and evolves all the time.
That was awesome! Thank you for the suggestions on how to set healthy boundaries. That was quite insightful and very helpful.
Hi Sarah, I am happy you found this information helpful and insightful. Thanks so much for your feedback!
That was an interesting article. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you and you are more than welcome!
This is so important!
It sure is! Especially for our mental health and well-being.
A simple, helpful, and useful article on setting healthy boundaries. Thanks, Rebekah, for sharing!👏
Sara you are more than welcome. So happy you found this article helpful!
Poignant and meaningful. Great post!
Thanks so much!
It is important to set healthy boundaries. Great work
Thanks so much Narado. Yes they are so important to set for our overall well-being.
💯💯💯 it took me a long time to realize this! Awesome post 🖤
Hi Alexis thanks for your feedback. Better late than never right?
Happy you found this post helpful.
Great post! I still have to remind myself that it is not selfish to set boundaries, because I know how important it is.
Tiffany the same with at times, boundaries that we set will evolve from time to time, and every person and situation will vary when it comes to setting boundaries. What’s key it understanding how important it is for our mental health.
Thanks for the feedback!
Rebekah, great article which will help every individual to set boundaries.
This blog post just does not only limited to specifying how to set boundaries it also includes great tips and why you need to set boundaries.
Good read 😍😍
Suresh, Thanks so much for your feedback! I am happy you found this article helpful. My goal with this article was to have as much info needed to help anyone understand boundary setting in its entirety.
Excellent blog post and an excellent blog. I agree that it is very important to set boundaries for yourself, and make them clear for others. We get caught up in trying to please others that we suffer personally, that can exacerbate mental health problems.
Really positive message. Like it.
So Spot on Zac. Setting boundaries as not easy, but once we know how important it is and others know this as well, it makes the process easier for all (but that will not always be the case). We have put our mental health first before looking to please or take care of others.
Thanks so much for your feedback!
It’s really insightful. I liked boundaries to set within yourself, the most. Thank you for sharing such an excellent article.
Nandini, So happy you enjoyed and found this post helpful. Thanks so much for the feedback!
Through article and I feel, that this is very important. Thank you for the share!
You are more than welcome and I am happy you enjoyed!
Such a helpful and insightful post!
Hi Kat, Thanks so much for your feedback! I am happy you enjoyed!
The time “me” is necessary but we never fully do it haha. Awesome tips!
Spot on! It’s definitely necessary but life can get in the way and prevent us from having time to ourselves. But we have to try and that’s what matters.
Thanks for your feedback!
Sometimes it feels selfish to set these boundaries, but they are good for your health and sanity
I agree with you, it sometimes feels selfish and mean, but we have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. In order to take care or be there for others, our mental health must be taken care of first. This mean that some boundaries have to be set. of course, every person and situation will differ with the boundaries that we set, but the key is understanding the importance of it.
Thanks for your feedback!
I think the biggest problem for me is saying no. I always feel bad even if I don’t feel comfortable or if I don’t want to do certain things. I understand the importance of it in terms of boundaries and in terms of myself but I somehow always feel guilty.
Johana, you and I both. This was me a few years ago. I always felt bad/guilty when I say no to someone. But after I realize that I kept putting myself out there for others and it was hardly ever reciprocated, I said to myself that I needed to start taking care of me first before I look to put myself and end up being hurt/disappointed again. So I have come a long away. go at your pace, remember you needs are just as important as others.
Thanks for your feedback!
Setting boundaries is super important! You hit on a lot if important bases. I’m still working on that because before I wouldn’t have too manh boundaries set, so I’m getting out of that. Thank you for sharing this!
Hi Deandra thank you for your feedback and I am happy you found this post helpful. Setting boundaries is not always easy, and sometimes we just don’t do it at all. But taking small steps to help you in setting boundaries will pay off in the long run.
Hey I loved your post, but some more boundaries to set are ,
Including – sex boundaries
Tolerant for the other half
Thanks so much for your feedback and these are excellent boundaries to set when in a relationship. I may touch on this in my next article on relationships.
I love this Rebekah! I think boundaries are really important, especially in a romantic relationship. When my partner and I started dating there were some boundaries laid out right upfront – like we can cuddle, but not while trying to sleep. And I appreciated knowing that right up front,because then I never had to wonder if it meant my partner was mad at me or didn’t love me etc.
Thanks so much for your feedback and I am happy you enjoyed! It’s the same with my husband and I when it came to sleeping lol. But setting boundaries really goes a long way when it is established early on relationships.
Such an important and essential read… you cover it all!!
It’s so easy for some to disappear in a relationship or to overcome the dynamics of interaction in an effort to control them but… the key is to first find our boundaries… run our fingers across their surface, become intimately familiar with them and then maintain them despite all the external (and internal!) attempts to dismantle them.
Integral for our mental health, as you say. Great read!
Hi Hillarie, thanks for your feedback and I am truly happy you enjoy. You make a valid point, that before setting boundaries in a relationship, we have to figure out where we stand as individuals and what we are okay with before bringing it into any relationship.
This is a great post. Boundaries are so important to have. I often feel like having boundaries these days is becoming less and less because we’re so involved in each other’s lives. But it’s important to let others know what is acceptable and what’s not. I feel like it contributes to a healthier relationship when you have them. So as long as they don’t overtake the relationship. I like that you said setting boundaries isn’t selfish or mean. That’s a good way to look at it because too often people may take offense to your boundaries. This was a very good read. Thank you so much for sharing!
Tammy, as always thanks so much for your feedback! Boundaries are always thought of as something negative and we end up letting others take advantage. But when we set boundaries it really helps to nurture us and the relationships we have with others.
You are so right. So often people think boundaries are selfish but they are so necessary.
Absolutely correct Gayle. It seems selfish, but it really isn’t. It’s really about preserving who you are as a person, and you have to set boundaries in order to do so.