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The Importance of Boundaries

No matter the Challenge

The Sun will rise.
  • July 2023
  • /
  • Abby Kalainikas

The Importance of Boundaries

Setting boundaries seems to be a bit of a buzzword these days. We’re encouraged to set boundaries, at home, at work, in our relationships, basically in every area of our lives, and yet it still seems to be such a struggle for so many people. Before we can figure out how to set boundaries, and why it’s actually important, it’s helpful to first understand what a boundary is. Boundaries are like an invisible barrier that marks where you end and where others begin. Boundaries can be mental, emotional, physical, and sometimes even digital. They help you to establish and communicate your personal limits on what you find acceptable, how you use your time, and what you’re willing to accept from other people. In order to set your boundary, you need to first recognize your own needs and learn how to communicate them effectively with those around you. Take a look below to learn about why and how boundaries are healthy, and why boundaries can sometimes feel so hard to enforce.

Enhanced Positivity and Focus:

It’s hard to pour from an empty cup, and without boundaries you almost guarantee that your cup will empty. Setting boundaries in your life allows you the time and space to refill your cup and engage in daily activities and friendships in ways that feel fulfilling and not entirely draining. Boundaries are essential for ensuring that you can maintain focus and productivity. By setting boundaries around how you use your time and setting limits on what you devote to work and obligation, you work to ensure that the time devoted to work is actually productive and meaningful. Sure, you can attempt to work consistent overtime, without taking vacations, and without making time for self-care, but at some point your body is going to push back. And when it does, you’ll find that no matter how hard you try, your work is likely subpar. By setting specific work hours and setting boundaries around distractions while doing so, you work to create an environment that is most conducive to productivity and concentration.

Respect in Relationships:

Boundaries are incredibly important in relationships barr none: friendships, workplace relationships, romantic relationships, familial relationships– you get the point. Healthy relationships thrive on communication, mutual understanding and respect of personal boundaries. Setting boundaries in relationships is a way to communicate your needs and expectations of the other person. When you are able to effectively communicate your limits, you allow other people to better understand how to interact with you in ways that feel fulfilling for all involved. Boundaries in relationships are not a way to keep people out, rather they are a way of allowing people in, yet in a way that feels most uplifting, fulfilling and empowering.

Boundaries and Empowerment:

In order to set appropriate boundaries, you must first understand your self-worth, personal needs and values. The more you understand yourself and the more often you are able to set boundaries that reinforce a life that feels fulfilling, the stronger your self-esteem becomes. Setting boundaries requires you to acknowledge that you are an individual who is deserving of respect and consideration– and you reinforce this message every time you set and maintain a healthy boundary.

Protecting Your Well-being:

As stated before, boundaries require an acknowledgement that you are deserving of healthy love, respect, understanding and consideration. In this way, boundaries can act as your own personal shield to protect your happiness and general wellbeing. Establishing limits, with both yourself and people around you, helps to shield you from burnout and over-exhaustion. Saying “no” when you’re approaching your limit– whether it’s to taking on a new project at work, spending time with friends, or doing a favor for someone else– helps you to ensure that you are functioning at your strongest capacity. Making time to regularly attend to your own needs helps to reinforce maintaining a healthy balance between personal responsibility and personal needs.

Setting Boundaries: Conquering the Fear and Guilt:

Many people logically know that setting boundaries is important, and yet still it can feel like such an emotional battle to allow ourselves to do so. One of the most common emotions reported around setting boundaries is the sense of guilt or fear of disappointing other people. One of my favorite ways to describe how a boundary works is to say that “a boundary is the point at which I can love myself and you simultaneously”. We often confuse setting a boundary with rejecting someone or something. Though there is perhaps an element of rejection, a boundary is also an invitation. It’s reinforcing what you feel capable of doing given everything else in your life that needs attending to. It can be helpful to remind ourselves that setting boundaries allows us to safeguard our mental health, nurture positive relationships, and empower ourselves to live the life that best aligns with our principles, values, and goals. It is an absolute necessity in order to lead balanced, fulfilling lives in an ever-changing world.

Remember, you are not responsible for how others respond to your boundaries!