Setting boundaries can be difficult. There’s so much to do, and oftentimes you might find it hard to say no, whether that’s due to fear of missing out or because you don’t want to let people down. But setting boundaries can change your life for the better. Let’s see how boundaries can help you live a healthier and happier life.
- Why is Setting Boundaries Important?
- Reasons for Not Setting Boundaries
- Types of Boundaries and How They’re Beneficial
Why is Setting Boundaries Important?
First, let’s discuss what boundaries are. A boundary is simply defined as a line that marks the limit of an area. You might not see a physical line that marks the edge or limit of something, but it’s often clear when something is off-limits. Whether it’s a security team standing by doors at a concert, or a “No Entry” sign, there are clear indicators in everyday life when we are not permitted in certain areas.
Just as you see boundaries in public spaces, you can create boundaries in your personal life. Personal boundaries are rules, limits, or guidelines that someone creates to ensure that they feel safe. They highlight what behaviors they will or will not accept from others, and how they will respond if someone attempts to push through that boundary. So why is setting boundaries important?
Setting personal healthy boundaries is vital because it shows how you value yourself. It plays a huge role in your self-care. Boundaries create a sense of comfort and safety that gives you the permission to say no and not feel the need to take on everything that comes your way.
Why can it be hard to set boundaries? And what are the different types of boundaries you can set?
Reasons for Not Setting Boundaries
Everyone struggles with setting boundaries, and there are common reasons why. Psychology Today lists a few of these reasons.
Fear of Missing Out
There’s so much to do, and oftentimes you try to do it all and experience all of the good things, even when it isn’t good for us. This can be going to a party even though you’re tired, overbooking yourself for fun and adventure, or spending money on things that aren’t within your budget. Having fun isn’t a bad thing; it’s good to encourage gaining meaningful and fun experiences. But it becomes detrimental when overcommitment leads to stress. If you constantly commit to overextending yourself, you’ll find yourself run down and emotionally drained. One way to help remedy this is by seeing what is a top priority and what can help you long term. Being intentional about your decisions is important because it better sets you up for success. It gives you a moment to trust yourself, practice self-acceptance, and know that you make beneficial decisions.
Perfectionism and Fear of Letting People Down
If you were to ask most people if they like letting people down, most would say no. People like to help each other and do their best to provide support. And sometimes, that means stretching ourselves too thin in order to accommodate others. While the sentiment behind this is thoughtful, it can be unhealthy. You may forget that you also need to take care of yourself. It can also be hard to say no to prove to others that you can handle everything. You may fear that if you say no, you will be viewed as less capable. But the reality is that you will sometimes let people down, but it’s not something to feel guilty about. It’s not your responsibility to worry about how someone will react to your boundaries.
Much of the inability to say no and set boundaries comes from social conditioning and how someone is raised. Women tend to do a lot of the emotional labor due to societal expectations and motherhood. They are seen as being strong and having the capacity to take care of themselves and others’ emotions, too. Traditionally, men are expected to be the providers of the home and to do whatever it takes to give their partners and children financial freedom. These social conditions are harmful and put pressure on individuals to overperform or compensate due to gender, cultural, or religious norms. But saying “no” is okay and healthy. You have to take care of yourself first before taking care of anyone else. If that looks different from the norm or what’s traditional, that’s okay.
Types of Boundaries and How They’re Beneficial
Not everyone’s boundaries look the same. Everyone has boundaries that we need to set, as each person has different needs. Some might need help with how to maintain a healthy relationship and what boundaries they can apply. Others need an understanding of how to have a better work and life balance or stronger financial boundaries.
It might be hard to start, but creating boundaries has great benefits such as having better self-esteem, conserving emotional energy, having more indecency, and boosting your confidence. Setting boundaries helps you enjoy more of your life and allows you to move freely in a comfortable space for yourself.
You deserve to create peace and a healthy lifestyle for yourself. Use your voice and advocate for your needs. Know that boundaries can also be flexible; if you feel that you are having to sacrifice too much, you can take a step back. Not everyone may understand the boundaries that you’ve set in place, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t valid. Those who care about you will respect those boundaries and do their best to understand what you need. Continue respecting your boundaries and the boundaries of those around you.