Healthy Boundaries

Do you know your personal boundaries? Are you aware of your limits and how you’ll react should someone overstep your limits or not honor your boundaries?

Boundaries are the rules, limits and guidelines we create to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards us and how we will respond when someone crosses those limits. Boundaries are not rules we impose on others as a way to control their behavior or manipulate. They aren’t judgements about others choices or decisions. They are simply what works for us and makes us feel safe and secure in our world.

Setting healthy boundaries can serve to establish your own sense of identity. They can allow you to get a better understanding of who you are, what matters to you and why and they can provide clarity on what you and will not tolerate or stand for. Specifically, healthy boundaries can help people define their individuality and can help people indicate what they will and will not hold themselves responsible for. Healthy boundaries can be quite empowering and allow for deeper understanding of our own values. They can also have a powerful and meaningful impact on our relationships and connections.

“Our boundaries might be rigid, loose, somewhere in between, or even nonexistent. A complete lack of boundaries may indicate that we don’t have a strong identity or are enmeshed with someone else”

(Cleantis, 2017).

Learning to set healthy boundaries is crucial in our development and is an integral to effective and loving self-care. There are many benefits to setting healthy boundaries, including helping you make decisions based on what is best you, not just the people around you. This autonomy is an important part of self-care.

So…how do we set healthy boundaries you ask? Well…here are a few things to consider when setting healthy and effective boundaries:

⚡Name your limits. Write them down and be specific.

⚡Become mindful of your emotions and the feelings that come up in your body when you think your limits are being passed.

⚡Practice self care daily. A few ideas include meditation, taking a bath, reading a good book or listening to music. Whatever you choose to do, make it a sanctuary just for you.

⚡Advocate for your needs. Be direct with others about your needs in a kind and respectful way.

⚡Seek support. This can include talking with close friends or hiring a therapist or a life coach.

Rather than fostering resentment, one can instead try to set and communicate their boundaries.

Joaquín Selva, Bc.S., Psychologist

Some examples of healthy boundaries include asking your partner for a one night alone per week, as opposed to spending all your time together or asking your partner for more help around the house with chores or with the kids so you can have more time to yourself. Another example might be letting others know you’re uncomfortable being touched and would prefer to not have any physical contact. Or maybe you feel overwhelmed from having to stay in touch with everyone so you might let the people close to you know that you’re taking a social media break or a texting break for awhile and will get back to them when you’re ready. All of these are completely valid and reasonable boundaries to set for yourself. If you’re new to setting boundaries, remember this is a skill that requires practice so try to be kind to yourself as you learn to work with this new tool.

In conclusion, establishing clear and healthy boundaries can go a long way to promoting a life filled with relationships that are mutually respectful, appropriate and deeply caring and meaningful.

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