Setting a boundary can seem pretty self-explanatory, but drawing clear lines and creating a border in your life that impact your mental health can get tricky. Boundaries are important for self-care and can help you have a more healthy response in tricky situations.
Personal boundaries help you to define yourself and your relationships and should be thought out carefully. Setting a boundary is essential for life and living in healthy relationships. Here are some tips and insights on how boundaries can help shape a healthy life.
What Are Boundaries?
Put in simple terms, a boundary is anything that marks a border. This can mark the edge or the limit of a subject, relationship, rule, or principle. While a boundary may sound harsh, setting them can help individuals to have more healthy relationships, avoid burnout, avoid triggers and lower mental health, and avoid resentment.
Boundaries can be imaginary lines or physical barriers. For example, you may put a time limit on a conversation with a specific person as a boundary. You may also have to set a physical boundary if you feel the contact or touch with a person is too much. Giving hugs or showing physical affection may need to be explicitly discussed in order to put you more at ease.
There are physical, emotional, mental, and sexual boundaries. Each type of boundary will need to be set by the individual and should also be discussed with the other party in order for the boundary to be effective.
Healthy And Unhealthy Boundaries
Setting boundaries can be difficult because you often need to set them with people that you care about. Drawing a line can cause discomfort by being set, but if your comfort level is compromised without a boundary, one needs to be set.
When you look into setting a boundary you will need to ensure that they are healthy. Boundaries can also be set to help you ensure that you are not encroaching on other people’s boundaries as well.
Some examples of unhealthy boundaries include:
- Sharing too much or sharing too soon
- Closing yourself off and not expressing your wants and needs
- Weak sense of your own identity
- You base how you feel about yourself on how others treat you
- You allow others to make decisions for you
- You do not take responsibility for your own life
Working with a therapist or counselor can help you to unlearn these unhealthy methods and feelings. They can help you work through feelings of inadequacy and understand that you are in full control of your situation. Working towards healthy boundaries improves your relationships and self-esteem. Some examples of healthy boundaries include:
- Having higher self-esteem and self-respect
- Sharing personal information gradually in a mutually sharing relationship
- Protect physical and emotional space from intrusion
- Have an equal partnership where responsibility and power are shared
- Be assertive
- Empower yourself to make healthy choices
- Separate your needs, thoughts, feelings, and desires from others
- Recognize your boundaries are different from others
Working to set a boundary with others may come with some pushback. People may try to test your limits, but the sole purpose of boundaries is to help you make changes and feel safe. If you are in a situation where someone is threatening you or dangerous, it may be best to work with a therapist about how to safely set a boundary. Setting boundaries comes with consistency and being clear about your needs to those who you set boundaries with, including yourself.
One of the greatest benefits of setting a boundary is the option to say no to things that don’t serve us. Taking on every project, opportunity, family event, or other draining idea can make you feel drained and unmotivated. Setting clear boundaries helps you to feel less stressed and creates more personal time for yourself.
Don’t Get Taken Advantage Of
Another benefit is avoiding getting taken advantage of. This can be physical, mental, emotional, or sexual. These types of boundaries are extremely important in romantic relationships. This can also help improve your self-worth by knowing what your time and energy are worth. You can not pour from an empty cup, so setting boundaries can help you avoid giving too much when you shouldn’t.
How Do I Set Boundaries?
Now that you know some examples, how do you set clear ones? Some simple way to start is to vocalize your feelings as it happens. For example, if someone is hitting you or wants to give you a hug that you don’t want, you can simply say “I don’t like that,” or “I would prefer not to.” These phrases can be a way to start getting others around you to recognize your boundary, but in order for your boundary to stick, you should communicate to the individual about what your boundary is. If someone is unaware of your boundaries, they will not know when they have crossed the line.
When setting a boundary, do it calmly, respectfully, and firmly, and do not apologize for the boundary you are setting. While you should do this in a calm manner, you are also not responsible for the other party being upset or manipulating you over the boundary you have set. Boundaries keep us safe, if people can not respect your boundaries, they should not have a relationship with you.
You may feel guilty or nervous about setting a boundary, but remember that you have a right to self-care. Setting boundaries takes practice and determination.
Ogden Psychological Services
Helping you feel at ease is our goal here at Ogden Psychological Services. Not only should you feel comfortable in our office, but we help to give you tools that improve the comfort level of all your relationships. Our team has board-certified therapists that create a plan that is specific to you.
We help to treat patients who experience all kinds of symptoms and deal with different mental health issues. Some of these include:
Our team wants to help you on the road to recovery and improve your quality of life. Contact us today to set up an appointment and work towards your goals.