Personal boundaries are the physical, emotional and mental limits we establish to protect ourselves from being manipulated, used, or violated by others. Having healthy boundaries is a direct measure of your level of self-worth. Someone who loves & respects themselves, will have little problem setting and reinforcing healthy boundaries for which the people around them respect. However, many of us can walk through life not realising we have fairly porous boundaries which have lead to disappointments, heart breaks and mistreatment.
It’s never too late to learn about setting boundaries and is something we probably all need a little practise in. Below are five reasons and benefits to investing in creating healthy boundaries for yourself:
1) They help you understand where you end and where another person begins
Someone with weak boundaries will find it difficult to separate their emotions and feelings from someone else’s. The line between where you end and the other person begins becomes blurred and this is when a habit of codependency can develop. Weak boundaries can leave you vulnerable and more likely to be taken for granted by others, so it’s really important to have clearly defined emotional boundaries so that you are able to put yourself and your needs first. They also help you to express your own uniqueness, whilst being able to value and appreciate the same in others.
2) They help you identify people who may not have your best interests at heart
When you are able to identify the types of behaviours that you deem unacceptable from others, you protect yourself from being hurt by someone who is likely to treat you with less respect than you deserve. Your boundaries set the precedent for how others will treat you. They reflect how much you love and value yourself and this is crucial to healthy self-esteem.
Think about that friend who tries way too hard to make plans with you. You’ve probably not made any effort in return have you? That’s because they’ve communicated that they don’t view themselves as worthy enough to allow you to make the effort every once in a while, and therefore you subconsciously think of them as less value to you. So check in with yourself and find out what type of message you’re sending to those around you, and start from there.
3) They communicate to others that you are of high value
Your level of boundaries, or lack thereof, tell those around you whether or not you think of yourself as high value. The first step to achieving and knowing that yes you are of high value, is to realise that you are worthy of setting these personal boundaries in the first place. You not only have the right to this, but it’s also important for you to take responsibility for how others treat you. If you don’t have boundaries that protect and define you, then you are more likely to look to others for validation… and this can be a slippery slope towards low self-esteem.
4) They set the foundation for healthy relationships in all areas of your life
No healthy relationship is possible without good personal boundaries. Your boundaries are a true measure of how much you love yourself and if you don’t love yourself, then you can’t expect anyone else to. Learning to spend healthy amounts of time apart, and taking responsibility for your own emotions without passing the blame on others, are both examples of healthy boundaries.
However, these can only be achieved by communicating your needs effectively and honestly without trying to control the outcome. In fact, setting healthy boundaries only happens when you completely let go of the outcome, otherwise it’s just a form of manipulation.
5) It ultimately leads to a more confident, loving and strong you!
You know what you need best. You know what you expect, need and want in life so don’t give that authority to someone else. Recognise that your feelings and emotions are just as important as anyone else’s, and that it’s ok to say no to things that don’t add to your happiness in some form or another. When you treat yourself with this level of love and compassion, you’ll quickly find everyone around you doing the same.