Most of us take for granted the importance of setting healthy boundaries, as we tend to consider them whenever there is an issue or the perception of violation of those boundaries. Creating and maintaining healthy personal boundaries is a key requirement for maintaining a positive self-concept, or self-image. By establishing healthy boundaries, we have the opportunity to convey without even speaking how we wish to treated, what we think of ourselves, how much we respect ourselves, self-worth, what we will tolerate, what we won’t tolerate, and will not allow others to define who we are personally.
Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person constructs to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those personal limits. Personal boundaries characterized as the physical, emotional and mental limits we establish to protect ourselves from being taken advantage of, manipulated, used, exploited, or violated by others. Having and maintaining personal boundaries allow us to distinguish and or separate who we are from others.
Creating boundaries in our everyday life can aid us with reducing the level of conflict and confusion typically associated with our personal relationships. By maintaining boundaries in our life, we retain control and direction of our lives rather than simply relying on chance. Setting personal boundaries allows us to take ownership over both successes as well as failures. We all have the right to have and maintain our own individual emotional spacing. Not having personal boundaries usually do not have a strong sense of identity, basing our self-worth on the thoughts and feelings of others. If you don’t have boundaries that protect and define you, as in a strong sense of identity, you tend to derive your sense of worth from others.
Identify and accept you must needs should take priority in your life rather than the needs of others. Many of us have been conditioned to believe in order to be “good people” we must place the needs and desires of others in front of our own needs and desires. Traditionally, women were conditioned to believe the needs of a spouse, children, and elders should take priority over their own needs. This is not only untrue, but it can undermine the healthy functioning of the family dynamic. If a woman is worn out mentally and physically from putting everyone else first, she not only destroys her own health, she in turn deprives her family of being fully engaged in their lives. Some people have to learn how to place “brakes” on a relationship, outlining what is and is not acceptable, what they do not want to do, are not willing to do, are uncomfortable with, etc., In essence, he or she must learn how to say no when it is needed and remain firm in their stance. There is no denying sometimes it is easier to “go along with” the crowd, however, if you concede to something you are uncomfortable with residual feelings of resentment, anger, sadness, and regret may linger.
Helpful Tips That can be Used to Create and Maintain Boundaries:
- Identify behaviors you are not comfortable with or find unacceptable
- Do not place the desires and needs of others ahead of your own
- Maintain your personal boundaries, do not allow yourself to be pressured into doing something you are against or something that makes your feel uncomfortable
- Define who you are, what you will tolerate, and what you will accept from others
- Identify the actions and behaviors that you find unacceptable
- Speak your mind, let others know when they have crossed the line
- Trust in your ability to make healthy decisions without relying on the opinions of others
- Stay calm when conveying needs as well as frustrations
Tips for Identifying Unhealthy Boundaries:
- Considering the needs of others before your own
- Engaging in people pleasing behavior
- Feeling bad or guilty when you say no
- Not speaking up when you are treated poorly
- Letting others define you rather than defining yourself
- Falling apart so someone can take care of you
- Letting others make decisions that can have a significant impact on your life
- Touching a person without asking
- Giving mean or unsolicited advice on the personal life of another person
Setting clear personal boundaries is the key to ensuring relationships are mutually respectful, supportive and caring. Boundaries are a measure of self-esteem, self-worth. They set the limits for acceptable behavior from those around you, determining whether they feel able to put you down, make fun, or take advantage of your good nature.