It’s a great feeling when you can set boundaries and protect yourself and the people you love. Boundaries help us feel safe, give us a sense of control, and allow us to value other people in our lives. But setting boundaries can be hard – probably because those who struggle with it don’t understand exactly why it’s so hard for them. After all, no one wants to be told no. And no one wants their feelings hurt.
Boundaries Are Self-Defined Boundaries
Boundaries are self-defined limits you can set for people, things, situations, and relationships. They’re important to protect you from negative influences that could otherwise rob you of your energy and destroy your health and well-being. Boundaries play an important role in all areas of your life – from how you behave at work to how you interact with family members and friends.
When setting healthy boundaries for yourself, it’s important to remember that there’s no one right way; there’s only what works best for YOU!
If you want to set boundaries for certain things or people in your life (e.g., friends), you should ask yourself if this person/thing/situation makes you feel good or bad? If you feel anxious or stressed when dealing with that person/thing/situation, then you know it’s time to set boundaries for yourself!
It’s also helpful if there’s an issue in your code – moral or ethical – to decide if something should even be considered a clear boundary violation (e.g., going through another person’s things without permission).
Why It’s Difficult to Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries can be challenging because it’s easy to say we want better boundaries, but achieving that can be harder than it sounds.
Setting Boundaries Is One of the Most Important Things We Can Do for Ourselves
It helps us figure out what we need and want in our lives and then communicate those needs to others. But it can be difficult to set boundaries, especially if we’re not used to doing so. Here are some common obstacles that get in our way:
- Fear of rejection or disapproval. This is a big problem. We often don’t set boundaries because we’re afraid of losing the love or approval of others. We don’t want them to hate us or think less of us if we say no, ask for something different, or assert ourselves more than usual.
- Fear of conflict. This can be related to fear of rejection or disapproval. If you expect other people to react negatively if you set boundaries for them, you’ll probably avoid it because you’re afraid they’ll give you hell or even walk out of your life altogether. It’s also possible that you fear being misunderstood or misinterpreted by others who hear your requests and demands – perhaps they think you’re selfish or controlling instead of understanding where you’re coming from.
Setting a Boundary Isn’t About Being Selfish or Controlling
It’s about taking responsibility for ourselves and setting healthy boundaries for what we allow into our lives to live happier, healthier lives with less stress, anxiety, and worry.
We need to be aware of our boundaries and the boundaries of others, as well as our feelings and the feelings of others. To do this, we need to take a step back and look at the situation objectively.
It’s also important to remember that when we set boundaries, we’re not doing so to control the behavior or choices of others but to protect ourselves from negative consequences and hurtful situations.
Boundaries Protect Our Self-Esteem
It’s important that we set boundaries to protect our self-esteem. If we don’t have boundaries, it can feel like others are taking us over or like we’re losing control of our lives. We can feel anxious and insecure because we don’t have clear boundaries for what others around us can and cannot do. This can lead to situations where we feel unsafe or even victimized when someone tries to cross one of the boundaries we’ve deemed taboo.
When you set clear boundaries with yourself and others, you’ll feel more confident and have more control over what happens in your life – and that confidence will show in your interactions with others!
Stand by Your Boundaries
Sometimes we don’t stick to our boundaries because we’re afraid of what might happen if we do – for example:
- What if my boss gets angry?
- What if my friends don’t like me anymore?
- What if I lose my job?
But when we learn to stand by our good boundaries, even when we’re afraid, we take a big step toward greater strength and self-confidence. If you can’t set boundaries, you’ll probably stay in the same cycle and end up having resentment at yourself because deep down, you know you didn’t set the healthy limits you should have, whether it’s with a family member, your loved one, or a difficult person at work.
A good boundary doesn’t have to hurt and doesn’t mean making life difficult for another person, it can simply be silence or delaying something, and it doesn’t have to cause an uncomfortable feeling.
When You Set Strong Boundaries and Stand by Them, You May Find That People Respect Them More and More
A firm boundary can also help you better control your negative feelings toward another person because you’re saying “no” to a hard time that person would cause you if you don’t respect your boundaries.
The Same Is True for Yourself
The more firmly you stand by your boundaries, the more likely you are to respect yourself. And when we respect ourselves, and our choices in life – no matter how small or big those choices may be – we feel empowered!
There Are Different Types of Boundaries
Boundaries are an important part of your relationship with yourself and with others. They help you know where you end and where someone else begins.
- Physical. Physical boundaries are clearly defined. They include your body, your house, your property, and anything else you can physically touch.
- Emotional. Emotional boundaries refer to how you feel about others, including family, friends, and colleagues. It also includes how comfortable you feel with a particular person or situation.
- Temporal boundaries. Temporal boundaries refer to how long something takes to happen – for example, when it starts or ends or how much time we give someone before moving on to something else. For example, if I have a business meeting scheduled at 3 p.m., I might set my boundary at 4 p.m. because I’ve to leave for another appointment.
- Spatial. Spatial boundaries are the physical distance between two people at a given time – whether they’re standing next to or sitting across from each other at a table.
- Mental. Mental boundaries help us keep a clear head by knowing what information is private and what’s shared with other people (e.g., that we don’t share personal information about ourselves with others unless we’ve given permission first).
- Spiritual. Spiritual boundaries allow us to have a healthy relationship with God and others to have peace in our lives (e.g., not allowing others to judge us because of our beliefs about God or religion).
We Need Physical Boundaries
Physical boundaries are important because they help us set boundaries in our relationships so that we’re not hurt or taken advantage of by others. Physical boundaries limit how close people can get to us physically and emotionally. You may have heard the term “personal space.”
Personal space is an imaginary bubble around your body that other people aren’t allowed to enter without your permission.
People with strong physical boundaries like to have some space between themselves and other people when they talk or interact with them. People with low physical boundaries let other people get very close to them when they talk or interact, which means they don’t have much room to move away if they want to.
People with high physical boundaries may seem less friendly than people with low physical boundaries because they don’t want anyone to get too close to them physically or emotionally. But it’s important to know that having high physical boundaries doesn’t mean you don’t like others; it just means you respect your own space.
Emotional Boundaries Keep Us From Being Overwhelmed
Emotional boundaries are about how we feel about ourselves and how we respond to the feelings and issues of others. They also allow us to set proper boundaries because they allow us to care for our own needs without feeling guilty or worrying about hurting others’ feelings.
If You Don’t Set Boundaries, You’ll Feel That Others’ Needs Are More Important Than Your Own
For example, if someone comes to your house, they may expect dinner or a drink, but even if they’re your friend, they shouldn’t demand anything from you in return for their attention.
Intellectual Boundaries Help Us Control What Information and Influences Affect Us
Intellectual boundaries help us decide what information and influences we allow to influence or guide us in our lives.
Many factors determine how many intellectual boundaries you have or need: your life experience, your beliefs, your history, and the people you spend the majority of your time with. There are also things we can do to strengthen our intellectual boundaries when they’re weak or non-existent.
The first step is to know what an intellectual boundary looks like. An intellectual boundary is the decision to limit the amount of information and influences on ourselves by deciding what thoughts we want to allow into our minds. This can be difficult for some people because they’ve to consciously decide who enters our minds, which isn’t always easy when there’s so much going on around us daily!
Time Boundaries Are Necessary
Time boundaries are an important part of protecting our mental health and well-being – especially when it comes to deadlines, interruptions, time commitments, and time-consuming tasks or activities.
For example, if someone asks you to go out with him/her on Saturday night, but it falls during the family’s prime time on Sunday morning, you need to put a time limit on that request. You might say, “I’d love to get together, but we already have plans for Saturday night and Sunday morning.” The person will understand why you can’t make it and move on to someone else who’s free.
In the Workplace, Time Management Plays a Big Role in Productivity
If your boss tells you she needs something by the end of the day even though it’s not due until tomorrow, she’s encroaching on your time without respecting your boundaries. This can cause stress and, over time, lead to burnout.
A time limit is a way to set boundaries and expectations for things you need to do. A time limit is the time you allow yourself to do a certain task.
Time limits help you focus on what’s important, decide how you spend your time, and not lose sight of your goals.
At work, it can help you with:
- Decision-making – When deciding how to spend your time, set a time limit for each activity so you can evaluate whether or not it fits your goals. For example, if you have a meeting with someone at 5 pm and another at 6 pm, you may be tempted to go to both. However, if these meetings aren’t so important that you need to attend, choose one or the other depending on how important they’re (and how much time they take).
- Prioritize – set a time frame for each task so you can decide which tasks are more important than others and schedule them accordingly, so they don’t get pushed back by other tasks that are less important but take more time. If something doesn’t fit into one of these categories, it probably doesn’t need to be done.
Boundaries Can Help Us Build Healthier Relationships
Boundaries are like fences that protect us from others, but they also protect us from ourselves. If we don’t know how to set boundaries, we risk engaging in relationships that aren’t healthy for us.
Setting boundaries is a skill that helps us navigate the world in a way that keeps us safe, healthy, and content. It’s about knowing what we want and need from others and communicating that clearly, so everyone knows where they stand.
When we set clear boundaries with others, we allow them to do the same with us. This can help avoid misunderstandings and conflicts between people who’ve different expectations of their relationships with each other. Boundaries create an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust between people who care about each other – and that’s what healthy relationships are all about.
Boundaries Are Important for Our Mental Health
When we feel overwhelmed, our mental health is at risk. Often, we feel this way because we haven’t set boundaries.
In a world that constantly asks more of us, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Often we feel this way because we haven’t set limits for ourselves.
We all have the same 24 hours daily, and no one can do everything for us. When we don’t set boundaries, it can be easy to get caught up in other people’s lives and lose sight of our needs. This can leave us feeling resentful, stressed, and anxious.
When we don’t have boundaries, we can feel like a leaf in the wind. Other people can push us around, take advantage of us, and treat us badly because they know nothing is stopping them from doing so. They also know that there will be consequences if they go too far – but those consequences may not be worth the risk to them.
Setting boundaries isn’t always easy or fun, but it’s important for our mental health because it helps us stay grounded when others push us too hard and make demands on us.
Everyone Needs Different Boundaries
The hard part about setting boundaries is that everyone responds to them differently. Relationship boundaries can be complex and cause resentment in some people, but self-care is important, and you’ll never please everyone. It’s up to you how you set your boundaries and whether you need a firm or weak boundary.
For example, your boundary setting will be different with a parent and with someone at work because you have a close relationship with your family member and work is work.
By taking an honest look at your life and making a list of boundaries you’d like to set, you can make positive changes that will help you feel happier and more fulfilled.
It’s Important Not to Get Hung Up on the Idea of Perfection – Striving for Perfection Is a Great Way to Feel Overwhelmed or Discouraged
Instead, focus on small steps you can take to set healthy boundaries in your life – and then take those small steps one at a time. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel after you do!