Boundaries are often psychological or emotional, but can also be physical, and can range from being loose to rigid, with healthy boundaries often falling somewhere in between. Healthy boundaries can serve to establish our identity by helping us define our individuality and indicating what we will and will not hold ourselves responsible for. Although personal and professional boundaries may differ, healthy boundaries within both contexts are important to our self-care, mental health, and wellbeing, as poor boundaries in any relationship can ultimately lead to anger, resentment, and even burnout, among other unpleasant feelings. Learning to show ourselves kindness and compassion is crucial in setting healthy boundaries, as this can be a challenging and uncomfortable task to initiate, however, with time this process becomes organic, and I’ve recommended a book at the end of this piece to help provide you insight on where to go from here should you be wondering about your own boundary-setting (Selvin, 2022; Tawwab, 2021).
If you are wondering about boundary-setting, there are a few basic steps you should know about approaching personal boundary-setting. First, you must define and identify boundaries, which means exploring what boundaries already exist or are lacking in your life. Next, you must communicate your boundaries and tell others what you need. Within boundary communication, it is important to stay simple and not overexplain, as we all have the right to determine what we do and what we do not want to do. It is also important to keep boundaries about yourself when communicating, as it is always better received this way. Finally, you must set consequences and explicitly communicate why your boundaries are important. It is important to only set consequences you are willing to follow through on, otherwise, your boundary-setting may not ultimately be effective. A key in boundary-setting is figuring out what you want from your relationships, and based on these desires, setting boundaries and being clear with both yourself and others. Not only is it important for us to have our own boundaries, but to respect others’ boundaries as well (Selvin, 2022; Tawwab, 2021).
Keep in mind, psychotherapy is a great place to explore and work on boundaries. Check out Nedra Glover Tawwab’s “Set Boundaries, Find Peace” book, which provides readers insight into all things boundary-setting. Visit the link below for Amazon purchase (on sale right now).
-Amanda Thomas, RP(Q)
Selvin, J. (2022). How to Set Healthy Boundaries: 10 examples + PDF Worksheets. PositivePsychology.com. Retrieved July 28, 2022, from https://positivepsychology.com/great-self-care-setting-healthy-boundaries/
Tawwab, N. G. (2021). Set boundaries, find peace. Penguin.