How to Establish Healthy Boundaries
“Daring to set boundaries is about having to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others” - Brene Brown.
Interactions with others are so important because they shape the way we see the world.
Positive experiences lead to an increased likelihood of having a positive view of yourself and others, while negative experiences increase the chance of having low self-esteem and a negative view of others.
Having healthy boundaries is a wonderful way of increasing the positive interactions we have.
They create trust, allow us to build healthy connections, and build self-esteem.
Rigid boundaries, though, create distrust and disconnection. This while porous boundaries may result in being walked on, and putting your own needs on the back burner.
These porous boundaries are also especially vulnerable to being violated.
Clarity and consistency with yourself and others about what your boundaries are are so important.
And, those who don’t respect your personal boundaries may not be people you want in your life.
Having a healthy boundary doesn’t mean that you aren't willing to compromise or make changes either, though. But it does mean that you will not engage in interactions or behaviors that go against your values.
But to establish healthy boundaries, it’s first important to know what your personal boundaries even are.
Personal boundaries can be physical, intellectual, emotional, time, sexual, finanical, or material.
You can also have different boundaries with different people. For example, you may have more porous boundaries with your close friends and more rigid boundaries with your parents.
No matter who you are interacting with, it is best to create healthy personal boundaries. But what makes a boundary healthy?
People who hold healthy boundaries tend to be selective with who they let in and keep out of their lives. They pay attention to and are discerning of red flag behaviors from others.
They also take time to build trust with others. Sometimes we feel an instant connection with someone, but realize it’s beneficial to not overshare, taking more time to see that person’s behavior before trusting them with intimate information.
People that set effective, healthy boundaries tend to support others without overextending themselves to the point they are at risk.
They understand their personal values and stand by them, accepting that others may not share the same values.
In setting healthy boundaries, it is always good to do some self-reflection around whether you maintain porous, rigid or healthy boundaries with others.
Take some time to yourself and think about what clearly defined boundaries look like for you.
Start looking at what boundaries you would like to establish and with whom. Then identify what boundaries are non-negotiable to you, despite your openness to compromise.
After that, it’s time to start rehearsing. You want to practice healthy boundary setting by rehearsing how you will establish the boundary.
Once you’ve done that, it is time to actually set them! Clearly state your boundaries to the appropriate people.
It can be uncomfortable at first, so make sure you take plenty of time afterwards to engage in self-care. It is important to be prepared to walk away when someone is not wanting to honor your boundaries.
Once you’ve set your boundaries, be ready to create new relationships and repair and maintain relationships that have been damaged in the past.
Therapistaid.com is a great resource for more psychoeducation on boundaries and below is a resource to learn how to make healthy boundary statemen