Setting Boundaries is Important

, ,

By Hannah Smith-Quirey, MSW, LCSW – April 10, 2024 –

Boundaries. They are a necessary part of any relationship. Boundaries enhance our well-being in so many ways. So why do we have so many feelings around setting healthy and effective boundaries? And how do you go about setting the boundaries you need or want in your life?

There are so many benefits to putting boundaries in place. It clearly communicates to others what we need and want. Setting boundaries decreases our stress level and prevents us from experiencing burnout. Boundaries enhance our relationships, both personally and professionally. They are important for self-care and improve our emotional health.

There are many reasons people don’t set boundaries. Society sends a message that politeness is important and that somehow creating boundaries is rude. People don’t want to disappoint others or not have their acceptance. Many are scared to set boundaries and may feel like they don’t have the right or don’t deserve to protect themselves.

The idea of creating and identifying what boundaries you want to set may feel overwhelming at times. First, you must determine what your values are and what matters to you. You need to be able to identify what your limitations are. You must begin to understand that the word “no” is a complete sentence. Boundaries should be stated assertively and directly. You also think about and practice how you would respond to boundary violations.

What is the difference between setting healthy boundaries versus being controlling? Setting healthy boundaries involves our own behavior, choices, and actions, while being controlling seeks to change the behavior, choices, or actions of others.

It is important to realize that your voice, needs, and wants matter. Boundaries are unique and specific to each person. It is also important to remember that boundaries are flexible. We can adjust and change them as we go.

A big part of setting healthy boundaries involves making sure you are consistent when you respond to violations of your boundaries. Remember, other people do not have to like or agree with your boundaries. Eventually, you will start to feel less guilty or not feel guilty at all when setting a boundary. You will stop letting others take advantage of you and find that you are not feeling responsible for other people. Setting healthy boundaries also includes not feeling offended by the boundaries that others choose to set.

Boundaries are necessary for your well-being. You will have to know who you are and what you value in order to set effective boundaries. Even though you may have difficulty or struggle to set them, you should still work to make sure you put them in place. We all have different needs and wants, and that is okay. 

Make sure you are indeed setting boundaries and not trying to control others around you. Boundaries aren’t easy but will, in the end, benefit you and those around you.