Healthy Boundaries are Important, Here’s How You Create Them

Maybe you feel like the people in your life don’t respect your time or generosity. Perhaps your boss or coworkers have been asking you to take on responsibilities outside of your job description. Or maybe you’ve realized that you don’t stand up for yourself when someone puts you down.

If any of these scenarios sound relatable, it’s time to work on setting boundaries. But how do you actually go about setting boundaries? What if you’re questioning whether or not you really deserve to have strong boundaries? And what can you do if someone else seems upset about your new boundaries?

Let’s explore when it’s appropriate to set boundaries and learn about what healthy boundaries look like in action.

When to Set Boundaries

It’s a good idea to set boundaries whenever you feel like your time or resources are being stretched thin. Maybe that’s because others keep demanding more than you can realistically give. Or maybe it’s because you find it hard to turn down requests for help or put pressure on yourself to continuously do more. Alternatively, setting boundaries is essential for healthy relationships. If you’ve noticed that you are frequently setting your own needs aside for your friends and relatives, but they would be unlikely to do the same for you, it’s time to think about boundaries.

What Boundaries Look Like

For you, setting a boundary might mean saying “No” when somebody asks you to pick up their slack at work. And in the context of romantic relationships, it might involve making fairer decisions about chores with your partner or telling someone that you don’t want a second date, even if you feel bad for turning them down.

It may mean telling a friend that you need some time to yourself this weekend instead of going to a social gathering. Perhaps you’ll need to tell a friend or relative that certain behavior is no longer acceptable around you. Or it might mean putting your phone on silent so that you don’t feel the pressure to be available to everyone at all times!

Yes, You Deserve Boundaries

When you set a clear boundary for the first time, you might feel a little uncomfortable. You may even catch yourself asking if you really deserve the right to set that boundary. But everyone deserves to set boundaries and define what is and isn’t acceptable in their lives. Just because you have made allowances for certain things before does not mean you have to continue doing so.

Putting Boundaries Into Practice

You’re in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable. You know that it’s time to speak up and put your boundary into practice. Or maybe someone is asking you to do something that you don’t have the time or energy to take on. You’re trying to work up the courage to say no, but for some reason, you feel guilty.

The truth is that getting used to setting boundaries will take time. It’s okay to sit with that discomfort for a bit. The key is to continue to maintain your boundaries until you feel confident doing so.

What if Someone Disrespects Your Boundaries?

As you consider the boundaries you want to set in your life, you may worry that people will get angry with you for setting boundaries. Unfortunately, it may be true that people who were disrespectful towards you previously will get upset when you put your foot down and set a boundary. Just keep in mind that the people who truly care about you will have no issue with your boundaries.