We all need boundaries to live healthy, fulfilling lives, but some of us have a much harder time setting these limits. I’m sure in your lifetime you’ve met “yes people” — those who seem to never be able to say “no” to anyone. On the flip side, you’ve likely also encountered people who are admirably assertive and able to stand up for themselves and others. Where do you fall?
Benefits of Setting Boundaries
Examining the manner in which you do or do not set boundaries can help you lead a more satisfying life. You CAN tell people “no” in a healthy manner and be respected. You CAN adhere to your personal values and beliefs in the face of adversity. By being aware of the different types of boundaries and their benefits, you can do these things and more. With healthy, established boundaries you are better equipped to maintain strong self-esteem, hold equal partnerships in relationships, recognize your own needs, and feel empowered to stand up for yourself and your feelings.
Signs You Are Not Setting Healthy Boundaries
You may not even be aware that you’re lacking boundaries. Here are some signs:
- Do you hesitate to share your wants and needs?
- Do you feel responsible for the happiness of others?
- Do you worry that saying “no” will jeopardize your relationships?
- Do you ever feel like you’re unsure of your own identity?
- Do you allow others to make decisions for you?
If the answers to many of these questions is “yes,” you may need to examine your boundaries.
Physical boundaries pertain to your body and personal space. You’re setting physical boundaries when you decide who gets a hand shake and who gets a hug.
Mental boundaries are regulated by your values and opinions. Do you hold fast to your beliefs or are you easily steamrolled? Can you be open-minded in the face of differing opinions?
Emotional boundaries define your ability to separate your emotions from someone else’s. Sound emotional boundaries prevent you from being overly affected by others’ words and actions and from letting others dictate your happiness. If you have strong emotional boundaries, you are less likely to feel frequent guilt, to blame others for your life concerns and take so much personally.
Your spiritual boundaries are formed by knowing your own beliefs, yet being able to accept that yours may differ from other people’s.
Tips for Creating Boundaries
It’s hard for some people to establish boundaries, because they are so used to putting others first. Many had childhoods with boundary violations, which affect their ability to feel OK about establishing them later in life. But we ALL have the right to set boundaries and have them respected. Here are some tips and reminders for getting started:
- Be calm and clear when talking about your boundaries.
- Remind yourself that you never have to justify your feeling or apologize for your needs or wishes.
- Remember that you are not responsible for other’s reactions and feelings — these are their concern.
- Remind yourself that self-care is not the same as being selfish and there is no need to feel guilty.
- Create a mantra to repeat often such as “I am worth it,” or “My feelings and needs matter.”
If you need one-on-one help with establishing boundaries, contact me, Karen David. I’m here to help you on your journey to a happier and healthier life.
A nurse for more than 25 years, Karen David is a Certified Wellness Coach and Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist. She brings her passion for well living and calm presence to empower others in health and wellness. Karen is CEO of Live Life Well, LLC.
This article is for informational purposes only. Practices, services or products described are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please speak with a doctor before beginning any new health regimen.