Personal boundaries are like invisible “no crossing” signs that help you create your emotional and mental space. These healthy boundaries are essential to our safety and health.
So what is this personal limit?
Psychologist Joaquín Selva says setting boundaries is integral to establishing one’s identity and critical for mental health. A limit is a personal and helpful limit that defines and protects you. This determines how much others can come into your life and how much you expand your self-awareness regarding relationships.
Every relationship needs a personal space that allows you to be yourself and maintain your integrity. But sometimes, some people can violate this unique space and push our boundaries. Such people believe they have a right to it and that their needs are far more important than yours. “Boundaries are your values, expectations, principles, or lines you create to feel physically, emotionally, and mentally safe.” Setting healthy boundaries means allowing yourself to be you. It lets other people know what values you hold, what you are willing to do, and what you would never do.
Healthy boundaries help us define our personal beliefs and values. These limits inform the other party about how they can treat you and how close they can get. It is an invisible boundary that other people cannot intrude on and allows us to be unaffected by the actions and behavior of others.
12 signs that you have healthy boundaries:
1. You say “no” without feeling guilty.
2. You demand something you want or need without hesitation.
3. You take care of yourself; you take care of yourself.
4. You say “yes” because you want to, not because of necessity or to please someone else.
5. You expect your relationships to be mutual.
6. You feel safe expressing the challenging feelings you feel.
7. You feel supported as you move towards your goal.
8. You will be treated equally.
9. You take responsibility for your happiness, sorrows, successes, or mistakes.
10. You are in tune with your emotions and respect them.
11. You know who you are, your beliefs, and your wants and needs.
12. Do not compromise your beliefs, values, or integrity to gain attention or avoid rejection.
We can set our limits for the following situations in life:
- Our personal space
- our thoughts
- our feelings
- Our sexuality
- our property
- Our time, energy, and effort
- Our ethnic, cultural, political, and religious beliefs
Setting healthy boundaries does not mean building a wall!
Setting your boundaries does not mean you will isolate yourself from everyone and keep everyone away. When boundaries are too flexible or rigid, some problems can arise. Limits should not build a wall that prevents you from intimacy with someone. But it shouldn’t be too loose, either. Finding the perfect balance is essential when setting a healthy boundary. Setting healthy boundaries is asking others to respect your personal space, beliefs, values, and limitations as you include them in your life. Taking a very giving approach to a relationship can lead to relationship imbalance and abuse.
“Boundaries show where you end, and someone else begins.” of course, a stranger or a new friend may not know these personal limits, just as you don’t know theirs. In this situation, healthy communication about your beliefs and values is critical in establishing these boundaries.”
What is the secret to setting healthy boundaries?
Learn to say no. If you want to set healthy boundaries and have others respect those boundaries, then you need to learn to say “no” to people. Saying “no” is often not easy, especially if the people you need to say it to are your family members or your boss at work. But in such cases, you must simultaneously know how to be assertive and respectable. You must also realize that you cannot save or help everyone around you.
Psychiatrist Abigail Brenner says trying to fix others is another way to get attention, love, or approval. But it’s just a waste of time and energy because they have no intention of being anyone but who they are. Everyone is responsible for himself. It is not your job to save others or solve their problems. Let them fail; this may be their only way to learn.
If you have trouble saying “no”, you will also have trouble setting your boundaries. It’s not your responsibility to make people happy. You are solely responsible for treating others with respect, kindness, and love. “You’re saying no may make others uneasy, but you should feel comfortable. Saying ‘no’ to others often means ‘yes’ to yourself. So this word is your limit, and uses it wisely.”
Five steps to set healthy boundaries
1. Know your rights
Psychotherapist Judith Belmont says knowing fundamental human rights is vital in setting boundaries. “When you know your rights, you will realize that saying ‘no’ is not a crime.” When setting boundaries, your rights should be considered first.
2. Listen to yourself
Listen to your mind, body, heart, and soul. Speak up and act accordingly if someone is usurping your rights and personal space. If you don’t always feel safe in certain situations and around certain people, try to get yourself out of that area safely.
3. Understand your values
Having some personal values will make it easier to set your limits. Your bargains will determine which behavior is acceptable and which is not.
4. Identify what you need to change
After defining your rights and values, identify the changes you need to protect your boundaries. Identify boundaries that have been violated and take steps to communicate with the other person what you think needs to be changed. You can ask them to respect your boundaries.
5. Talk about these limits
When you enter a new relationship, whether personal or professional, it’s essential to discuss these healthy boundaries from the beginning. So talk to the other person about these boundaries politely and respectfully.
Setting boundaries is an act of self-love.
Healthy boundaries create healthy relationships. Boundaries not only strengthen our relationships, but they also protect us from abuse and toxic behavior. That’s why setting boundaries is a step towards self-love.