Why We Need Boundaries
A personal boundary is a limit that you can place on various behaviors that you find acceptable. These limits can include your own physical space and emotional well-being.
Boundaries will depend on different factors, such as our beliefs and relationships with others.
There are numerous reasons why we need to set boundaries in every relationship, whether at work, with family, or with a romantic partner.
The word ‘boundary’ sounds like we want to be separate from the rest of the world or that we expect others to follow our “rules.”
But setting boundaries will actually allow us to connect with other people better, as these limits that we place help us foster more healthy and mutually beneficial relationships.
One reason why boundaries are necessary for relationships is that they can help us build our self-esteem and establish our own identity.
They also allow us to conserve emotional energy preventing burnout and reduces potential conflict. It also allows us to focus on the more positive aspects of our relationships so we can enjoy them rather than resent them.
Lastly, we need boundaries to give us space to grow.
Why is it Hard To Set Boundaries?
Not everyone is capable of setting personal boundaries and communicating them with others.
Often, the people who don’t set limits in their relationships value the other person more than they value themselves, making them overlook the fact that they may be being taken advantage of by the other person.
Another possible reason why setting boundaries is challenging is how we’ve been programmed to be kind, respectful, and understand others.
While these values are good to practice, without borders, other people could easily abuse them.
Our fear of disappointing our boss, our parents, or our partner can also lead to us saying yes to all their demands without realizing that in doing so we are sacrificing our own needs.
Being a perfectionist, especially in our work, could lead us to exceed reasonable limits by attempting to deliver a flawless outcome. We may also experience the fear of missing out.
Our desire to always be in the loop fuels our desire to impress others to make us feel good. But ultimately, it could also lead to others taking advantage of us.
Not to sound paranoid! But just to illustrate that boundaries are there to protect what’s important to you and it allows everyone to know where they stand and more importantly how to treat you.
6 Types of Personal Boundaries
Setting personal boundaries is an essential component of having healthy relationships. By setting boundaries and effectively communicating them, we feel safer and more comfortable.
There are different types of personal boundaries that we all need to have. These boundaries that will not only protect us, but they can also help us thrive in the various roles and relationships we have.
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#1 Physical Boundaries
Our physical boundaries are the limits we set regarding our bodies, including our personal space.
Physical boundaries are meant to protect our right to have our physical needs met (such as eating and resting), not be touched inappropriately, and a right to privacy.
Taking a break when we are tired, having a meal when we are hungry, letting others know that we don’t not want to be touched or that we need some time alone are just examples of healthy physical boundaries.
Everyone has a perception of their own personal space. You can test this out by standing closer to someone than you usually would and see them take a step back. It’s a natural reaction when someone gets in our space to move away.
In relationships this can be taken personally but I see it as being respectful.
#2 Emotional Boundaries
Emotional boundaries refer to our right to have our feelings and thoughts and have them respected if not validated by others. Our emotional boundaries make us accountable for our feelings and not for others’ feelings.
When our they are respected, we can safely share our emotions with others without being judged or criticized.
We feel safe and respected enough to open up to the people who value us. Emotional boundaries also protect our right to share personal information only with those we feel comfortable sharing it with.
When we are criticized for our emotions, asked to justify our feelings, or are asked inappropriate personal questions that we may be uncomfortable sharing, it’s a clear violation of our emotional boundaries.
As we all know, time is gold and it’s the one thing we cannot renew. It’s a valuable resource that we need to maximize. We all have things to accomplish within the day.
Having time boundaries is essential, especially at work, to ensure a healthy work-life balance.
If you don’t have anything in place to protect your time it may result in overcommitting to tasks and neglecting other areas in our life. Setting time boundaries means that we know our priorities.
It also means being comfortable enough with the idea of saying no to tasks and appointments when they don’t fit our schedule.
Helpful Resource: The Goals & Productivity Planner
#4 Sexual Boundaries
Sexual boundaries are limits you set to protect your right to consent and safely ask for what you like sexually.
It also includes being honest about your and your partner’s sexual history. Your sexual boundaries will define the level of intimacy another person will share with you.
Having a clear and open discussion with your partner about where you draw the line in the bedroom is vital to ensure that each person’s needs are addressed and no one feel violated.
You want to ensure that you’re not putting up walls and blocking intimacy because that is not going to enhance your relationship.
#5 Intellectual Boundaries
We have the right to have our thoughts, ideas, and opinions heard and respected by others. Our intellectual boundaries protect our ideas from being shut down, dismissed, or belittled.
Having healthy intellectual boundaries means we can safely communicate our thoughts with others while also being open to having civil conversations with people whose opinions differ from ours.
Our intellectual boundaries will also consider the proper place and time to have a healthy discussion with another person. We don’t need to agree with everyone but we can at least respect a persons right to speak and be heard.
The money that we earn, as well as our possessions, are rightly ours. We have to ensure that we set limits to how others have access to them.
Setting material and financial limits is essential to ensure that our money, property and possessions are not used and taken advantage of without our permission.
It’s necessary to communicate our material and financial limitations to others, especially those close to us, to prevent resentment over time.
When a person has destroyed, stolen, or frequently borrowed from us, these are clear violations of our material and financial boundaries.
In relationships, it is normal for couples to have joint accounts and be aware of what each person earns but it is also normal for couples to have separate accounts too. Sharing finances does not make or break a relationship. Respecting money goals and having joint input to where and what happens to the money is the key.
Personal Growth Resources
Conclusion on Setting Boundaries
Setting boundaries is not a way to keep others out, but a way to have healthy relationships. it means that you respect yourself and others.
Being transparent and communicating your limitations with others will ensure that you’re protected and your relationships are set on an honest foundation.
If you need help setting boundaries click here to make an appointment and I can help you in person or over Skype/Zoom.