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5 Important Ways to Set Healthy Boundaries with Others & Stick to Them

By Krista

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Last Updated: March 16, 2022

Are you feeling like someone is stepping on your toes? Or do you feel like you struggle to find a solid line between yourself and others? If you answered “YES” to either of these questions, you likely need to start thinking about setting a few healthy boundaries for yourself.

These boundaries are essential for ensuring you maintain control of your life. Because if you’re not guiding your own life, someone else definitely is — whether it’s intentional or not. 

Brene Brown has said:

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.”

At the end of the day, you have to take care of you. You can’t give to others without looking out for yourself first. And this is exactly where boundaries play a major role. 

Boundaries define where you end and another person begins. And they come in all shapes and sizes. So, let’s look at the main seven types of boundaries, whether or not you actually have poor boundaries, and how to set healthy boundaries, ensuring you create a space where you feel comfortable.

 

What Are the 7 Types of Boundaries?

The seven types of boundaries include:

1. Physical Boundaries

This involves your personal space, body, and physical needs or wants. For example, most roommates have boundaries where they don’t go into each others’ rooms unless invited. Pretty simple!

2. Sexual Boundaries

While potentially a sensitive topic, you and your partner should always have an open line of communication when it comes to boundaries during sex. A common one is consent, which means asking before you do something or asking before you do something new.

3. Financial Boundaries

This involves lending other people your money or assets. Sure, we don’t mind throwing in a bit of money when a friend needs it, but there is a line drawn in the sand. For example, when you go out to dinner with friends, everyone should pay for their share.

4. Intellectual Boundaries

This comes down to navigating differing opinions. For instance, maybe you’d rather not discuss a touchy topic at the dinner table or in front of guests.

5. Emotional Boundaries

When it comes to emotions, care and respect are important. You are allowed to ask for space when you get in your feelings. You are allowed to express your feelings and expect respect. If they aren’t received with respect, you could even have a boundary that you will politely detach from the conversation.

6. Time Boundaries

This might revolve around when you answer your phone or maybe the time you spend on your phone. In today’s world, time boundaries are really important when it comes to separating work from your personal life.

7. Expectation/Non-Negotiable Boundaries

These boundaries revolve around deal-breaker situations for you. For example, maybe you wouldn’t date someone who is an alcoholic or perhaps if your dad doesn’t install the fence around the pool, you’ve decided your children can’t play in the backyard. 

All in all, there are a variety of healthy boundaries in relationships. And at the end of the day, it’s up to you to determine what yours are and what you’re willing and not willing to do.

 

What Are Poor Personal Boundaries?

Poor personal boundaries usually mean you take excessive responsibility for other peoples’ emotions or actions, or you overly expect others to take responsibility for your emotions or actions. If you’re not sure whether this sounds like you or not, keep reading! 

Below, we outline a few questions you can ask yourself to determine if you’ve got unhealthy boundaries in your relationships.

 

Do I Have Poor Boundaries?

To determine whether or not you have poor boundaries, answer the following questions:

  • Do you feel like others take advantage of you?
  • Do you feel like you need to “fix” others?
  • Are you finding yourself getting sucked into meaningless debates or arguments?
  • Are you always stuck in the middle of drama?
  • Do you find you often have to defend yourself for things that weren’t your fault?

If you answered “YES,” this may mean you have unhealthy boundaries.

Whether this means you have unhealthy boundaries in relationships or with yourself, you can fix both. In fact, when you set boundaries with yourself, you also are basically setting them for relationships you have as well. Remember, you can only control yourself and not anyone else.

Related Article: The Most Common Boundaries You Should Know & Set In Your Relationships

 

How Do I Set Healthy Boundaries for Myself?

Your own personal boundaries and self-esteem tend to go hand-in-hand. Not having healthy boundaries can really damper your self-esteem, leaving you lacking confidence and feeling unsure. Did you cause someone to feel that way? How much responsibility should you take in a given situation?

Instead of pondering these questions every time, if you have personal boundaries, you’ll already know the answer. It all starts with you. So, how can you start setting healthy personal boundaries for yourself?

Ask yourself: What do you choose to tolerate or not tolerate? What are okay behaviors and what aren’t? 

Make sure to really define the boundary too. For instance, maybe you won’t tolerate someone showing up 15 minutes late for a meeting. You’ll wait 15 minutes, but after that, you’ll leave (whether that’s a Zoom call or a meet-up). 

Other examples of boundaries for yourself (and others!) include:

  • Sticking with your budget (and defining exactly what that budget is)
  • Limiting your screen time (setting exact times)
  • Not answering work emails after a certain time (again, setting an exact time)
  • Not drinking alcohol on weeknights (this one is already pretty specific!)

Inevitably, there are many more, but hopefully, this gives you some idea to get started.

Related Article: Why You Should Set Boundaries With Yourself

 

5 Ways to Set Healthy Boundaries

Respecting boundaries, your own and other people’s boundaries is an important part of all this. Think of boundaries as healthy rules that you can’t break. And if you’re still struggling, here is a little more help:

  1. Try spending time reflecting about what you want in your life. From there, you can come up with boundaries to define this.
  2. Start with small boundaries. They don’t need to be drastic!
  3. Stay consistent. Again, think of these as healthy rules for yourself to avoid drama or issues in the future (and also to help you live your best life!).
  4. Make sure to communicate your boundaries, especially if you notice someone keeps crossing them. Additionally, you want to do so in a respectful and caring way. Sometimes, boundaries can be upsetting for others. Yet, it’s also important to know that this isn’t technically your fault. 
  5. Recognize the boundaries of others and respect them. In turn, this can encourage others to respect yours too.

 

Set Healthy Boundaries: They Foster Healthy Relationships with Yourself and Others

At the end of the day, protecting your mental health is important.

You should never feel guilty about setting healthy boundaries that are right for you and your life. Sometimes, people will get upset. The truth is you can only control you, and do the best you can at communicating your boundaries in a respectful and honest way. 

Read Next: Do You Say “Yes” When You Want To Say “No”? 5 Tips For Better Boundaries

Photo by Merilin Kirsika Tedder from Pexels

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