In order to protect their property, homeowners put up fences. This often discourages intruders from entering or destroying the land and home. Since this practice is seen in all cultures and histories, fencing your property is a great way to ensure that people don’t damage or intrude on your home.
If you are willing to protect your physical property by putting up fences, why are you not willing to put up boundaries to protect yourself? Boundaries are invisible fences for your emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing. If you do not set up boundaries, people can easily infringe on your rights and make you feel disrespected.
Unfortunately, many people are clueless about how to set up boundaries and feel that setting boundaries makes them a bad person. This could not be further from the truth. In contrast, setting boundaries allows you to be better respected and creates healthier and happier relationships with those around you.
In this guide, we’re going to look at the key factors for setting healthy boundaries. We begin by defining boundaries and learning how to set them. Then, we look at boundaries within your dating life, family, work, and yourself. After that, we address people who resist your boundaries and learn how to measure the success of your boundaries.
Let’s get started.
Boundaries are imaginary lines that separate your physical space, feelings, needs, and responsibilities from others. These boundaries let other people know your expectations for how they should treat you. Without boundaries, people may take advantage of you or make you feel badly or uncomfortably.
Many people find setting boundaries to be difficult. The reason for this is that for the boundary to work, you must be willing to tell someone who has crossed a boundary that they are in the wrong. In other words, you must be able to stand up for yourself and confront another person.
Boundaries are imperative to having healthy relationships that are beneficial to both you and the other person. If you do not set and enforce your own boundaries, people may not know how to treat you. This is no fault of their own. If you do not tell others your boundaries, they will not be able to respect them. So, it is your responsibility to set and enforce your boundaries.
Boundaries are key to having happy and successful relationships with other people. There are several reasons why you need boundaries. Here are the most important:
- Boundaries allow you to be your most authentic self
When you create and enforce boundaries, you draw an invisible line between you and another person. As a result, you become a unique individual who is separate from everyone else. This allows you to have your
own feelings, make your own decisions, and know what you need without trying to please others, allowing you to be your most authentic self.
- Boundaries are self-care
One of the most important aspects of self-care is valuing and respecting your own needs and feelings. Creating boundaries means that you put your needs and emotions above the needs and emotions of someone else healthily and respectfully.
As a result, you focus on your needs instead of worrying about what someone else wants from you. This acts as a form of self-care because it allows you to cherish yourself by doing what you need and want.
- Boundaries set realistic expectations with clear directions
Whenever you set a boundary, you and the other party involved become explicitly aware of what is expected of each other. As a result, the relationship’s expectations become realistic and come with clear directions. Normally, people behave correctly when they know what is expected of them. So, setting boundaries and providing clear directions creates realistic expectations that all parties can respect.
- Boundaries protect you emotionally and physically
One of the most important reasons that you should set boundaries is that they protect you emotionally and physically. The reason for this is that boundaries tell you how you should be treated. If someone repeatedly breaks your boundaries, whether they be emotional or physical, you immediately know that that person does not care about you and your feelings.
As a result, you become keenly aware of who you should let into your life and who you should avoid. This allows you to protect yourself from uncomfortable or hurtful situations.
Whenever you are starting to set your own boundaries, it is important to keep in mind the six general areas where boundaries apply. These different areas interact with different parts of your life and wellbeing. Here are the 6 types of boundaries:
material boundaries relate to physical objects such as money, clothes, books, a hairbrush, or anything else that is a physical object that you own. Material boundaries are expectations of how you and the other party should act whenever material objects are borrowed, sold, or jointly shared. It is important to set material boundaries so that friendships and relationships are not ruined over material objects.
Physical boundaries relate to your personal space, privacy, and body. They set rules for how you and another party should interact on a physical relationship. These physical boundaries can range from appropriate settings to give a handshake versus a hug, when you expect a borrowed item to be returned, or how loud your roommate plays their music. Physical boundaries are different from sexual boundaries, which will be discussed later.
Mental boundaries relate to your thoughts, values, and opinions. In other words, they relate to what you believe and think. Mental boundaries can relate to how gullible you are, what you believe, and listening to other people’s opinions. Often, mental boundaries are boundaries with yourself in that they determine how you let other people affect your thoughts and beliefs. For example, they are what help you not get too angry when someone disagrees with you.
Emotional boundaries relate to your feelings and emotions; they separate your feelings and emotions from someone else’s feelings and emotions. Having good emotional boundaries allow you to not only feel your own emotions, but they also allow you to take responsibility for your emotions. Like mental boundaries, emotional boundaries are often boundaries with yourself because they require you to know your emotions and take responsibility for them.
Sexual boundaries have to do with your comfort level relating to sexual touch and activity. They can help you to determine what, where, when, and with whom you are comfortable having sexual interactions. Sexual boundaries should always be implemented and respected in sexual or flirtatious settings.
Spiritual boundaries relate to your belief and experiences with God or some other higher power. These boundaries often only relate to yourself and the higher power, but they can also relate to how you interact with people who have different spiritual ideas than you.
Though setting boundaries are necessary for your health and wellbeing in relation to other people, they can be extremely difficult to set and implement. People with codependent tendencies especially find setting boundaries difficult. Here’s why:
- Boundaries require you to put yourself first
When you set boundaries, you put your needs and wants above another party’s needs and wants. This can be difficult if you are a people-pleaser or are desperate for love because it may cause the other person to become angry or irritated with you.
- Boundaries require you to know yourself
Another thing that makes setting boundaries so difficult is that they require a keen knowledge of yourself. You must know what you like and what you expect from yourself and others. If your perception of yourself is clouded or unclear, it will be extremely difficult to set and implement effective boundaries that reflect your needs and wants.
- Boundaries require you to feel like you have rights
Setting boundaries means that you feel that you have the right to be treated a certain way. For people who are insecure or want a certain relationship, feeling that you have the right to be treated a certain way does not come naturally. As a result, setting boundaries can be difficult because you feel as though you are not entitled to the treatment that you want and need.
- Fear that boundaries jeopardize the relationship
Many people feel as though setting boundaries will destroy relationships. As a result, enforcing boundaries will be difficult out of fear of losing someone that you love or admire. Of course, it is important to remember that losing someone who refuses to respect your boundaries is not a loss.
- Boundaries take practice
Just like anything else, setting boundaries requires practice. If you have never set boundaries before, setting them for the first time can be very difficult, but it gets easier with time.
Boundaries are imaginary lines that separate your needs from someone else’s needs. There are many types of boundaries, and each one of them is indicative of having healthy and happy relationships with those around you. Though boundaries can be difficult to set and enforce, it is important to do the hard work so that you have a healthier relationship with yourself and others.
If you have never set boundaries before, you may find setting and implementing them difficult. Just like anything else in life, creating boundaries takes practice. So, you must get in the habit of creating and implementing appropriate boundaries. If boundaries are not created and implemented in an appropriate way, your boundaries may be ineffective.
Here’s how to set healthy boundaries in your life:
The first step to setting good boundaries is having a firm foundation. This foundation should be made from a healthy and appropriate mentality about boundaries. In short, your goal for boundaries should be to better respect yourself and help other people respect you; boundaries are meant to keep you and your relationships happy and healthy.
Setting boundaries is not about controlling or nagging the other person. If you view boundaries in this way, your boundaries will not be helpful to those around you. Instead, they will probably be harmful and infringe on other people’s personal boundaries. Never create a boundary with the intention of controlling or constraining those around you.
In contrast, create boundaries with the intention of creating healthy relationships. It is important to have this motivation for your boundaries because it ensures that your boundaries are healthy and efficient. Whenever you set a boundary, make sure that it relates back to the overall purpose of respecting yourself and others.
Once you have a firm understanding of the motivation of boundaries, it is time to actually decide on the nuts and bolts of the boundaries. This means defining your boundaries so that you can express them to other people.
You can begin to find your boundaries by asking yourself about your rights. Here are basic rights that you should factor into your boundaries:
- You have a right to say no without guilt.
- You have a right to be treated respectfully.
- You have a right to put your needs on par with someone else’s.
- You have a right to accept your mistakes and flaws.
- You have a right to reject other people’s unreasonable expectations.
You can also add your own rights that are unique to yourself and your experiences. It is important to identify your rights and choose why you believe in them. This will allow you to honor your emotions and needs more truthfully. As a result, you will stop wasting time trying to please others and focus on yourself instead.
In addition to your rights, it is important to identify your 10 most important values in life. If you do not know what your values are, you will not be able to act in a way that is respectful to yourself and others. If you need to, you can narrow the 10 most important values down into a smaller batch made of 5 or 3 values.
As you think about your values in life, also think about how and when they are challenged or provoked in any way. Does a close friend or family member do something that makes you feel uncomfortable regarding your values? If so, it is likely that you need to create a boundary about that value specifically.
As you start developing your list of rights and values, begin to pay attention to how you feel when you interact with other people. Are there certain scenarios that make you feel uncomfortable? Does a certain person make you feel bad on a regular basis? Do you feel stressed in certain social scenarios? Paying attention to these instances will inform you of what areas you need to set boundaries in.
From there, you can start setting your own boundaries. It is important to keep in mind that boundaries do not have to be rigid. You may learn through trial and error that certain boundaries are unrealistic or not relevant to your true values and needs. In that case, adjust your boundaries accordingly.
Once your boundaries are set within yourself, it is time to extend your boundaries to the people in your life. You can begin by enforcing your boundaries by verbally expressing them to other people.
When you express your boundaries, make sure that you are assertive but kind. You do not need to be aggressive or harsh, but you need to use assertive language so that way it is clear that your boundaries cannot be ignored. You can be more assertive by using “I” statements. “I” statements are when you focus on how you feel instead of the other party. It makes the statement more assertive and less passive.
For example, say “I feel overwhelmed when…” instead of “You make me feel overwhelmed when you…” This sentence structure puts the focus on you in a clearer and more confident way. At the same time, it takes the blame off the other party, which makes them less likely to get defensive.
Additionally, you can consider telling the other party of the consequences of violating your boundaries. This lets them know that the boundary is serious and that their actions come with consequences. If you choose to state potential consequences, make sure that you can follow through. Never say a consequence that you are not willing to enforce.
Another healthy part of enforcing your boundaries is being able to say no. Whenever someone asks you to do something that you are uncomfortable with or that you do not have enough time to complete, say no. You do not have to give an explanation or apology. Just say no.
Make sure that you point out whenever someone does not respect your boundaries. If someone is repeatedly and consciously ignoring your boundaries, you need to confront the person and see what the problem is.
If the person refuses to respect the boundaries you have set, then you should probably cut them out of your life if possible.
In order for boundaries to be effective, it is important to set them in a way that is respectful and efficient. Remember that boundaries are meant to create healthy relationships, not control another person. From there, you can begin setting boundaries based on your needs and values. Once your boundaries are set, make sure to enforce them in an assertive but kind manner. If people disrespect your boundaries, let them know.
The modern dating world can be confusing and exciting. Everyone is looking for love, but not everyone has the same expectations. As a result, it is important to set boundaries in your dating life so that you and the other person are on the same page and have healthy dynamics.
The goal of boundaries in dating is to create healthy limits and interactions in the romantic relationship. They allow you and the other party to have your own needs, space, individuality, and health. They also allow you to know when a person is a good romantic partner.
Here’s how to set good boundaries while dating:
Before you start dating someone, it is important to have a list of nonnegotiables beforehand. These non-negotiables are things that you absolutely need for a relationship to work.
It is important that non-negotiables are expressed at the beginning of any relationship so that both parties are on the same page and capable of respecting one another properly. If the non-negotiables are breached or not respected by the other person, you should immediately cut them off.
Think about things that you absolutely need in a relationship. What do you need in order to feel emotionally and physically safe with another person? Are there things that you will never be okay with if they are done by your partner? How do you expect the other person to behave in the presence of other men and women? Questions such as these will allow you to pinpoint your non-negotiables.
Once you have your non-negotiables, it is important to express them clearly and explicitly with your partner. If they are unaware of the non-negotiables, they may accidentally break your boundary and your trust without ever knowing that they did anything wrong. So, it is important to let them know about your non-negotiables at the beginning.
If the person you are dating is not okay with your non-negotiables, be prepared to walk. Do not make exceptions for your non-negotiables. That is why they are called non-negotiables.
Any person that is not willing to respect your non-negotiables is not someone you should be dating. If the person agrees to your nonnegotiables but then breaks them, break up with them. They do not respect your needs and wants. Only date people willing to abide by your nonnegotiables.
When you first start dating someone, it is easy to want to spend all your time with them. It is fun and exciting and completely normal to be infatuated with your new person. For the sake of your and the other person’s health though, it is important to take time apart from one another.
Taking time apart will allow you and the other person to decide what is important and how you all feel about each other and the relationship. If you never take time apart, you can become so encompassed by the other person that you do not actually know how you are feeling about the situation.
Additionally, taking time apart ensures that you keep your hobbies and friends. If you spend all your free time with the other person, you may lose touch with other people in your life or hobbies. So, it is important to keep time available for those purposes.
For example, perhaps set one day a week where you hang out with your friends or loved ones without the person you are dating. This ensures that you do not accidentally cut off the other people who are important in your life while infatuated with someone else.
Additionally, it is important to know how and where to express yourself and your boundaries with your partner. Since boundaries are meant to help you and the other party have a healthy relationship, you never want to have difficult or emotional conversations in a way or place that makes the other person feel uncomfortable or attacked.
For intimate discussions, it may be best to go to a private place so that other people do not overhear the conversation. Perhaps consider a park or somewhere else that is secluded. If you are comfortable, you could have serious and private conversations at one of your homes.
For many conversations though, it is important to pick a neutral location so that neither individual feels as though they have a home advantage. Places like coffee shops, parks, or restaurants are good neutral places to have civil conversations.
Additionally, it is best to have serious conversations at an agreed-upon time. This ensures that both parties are fully levelheaded and prepared for the conversation. Do not just call up the other person and start ranting about your feelings. This will immediately set the other party on the defense, especially if they are busy or with other people.
Dating involves more than just you. As a result, your partner has boundaries and needs as well. It is important that your partner feels heard and respected for the relationship to last. Make sure to listen and respect their boundaries as well. It important that both parties feel heard and set their boundaries.
If you find that you and your partner’s boundaries are similar and work well together, then that is great. At some point though, you may find that your boundaries conflict. If this is the case, do not immediately panic. As we previously said, boundaries can be flexible. See if there are ways for your boundaries to be flexible and negotiate with the other person. The only boundaries that should not be flexible are the non-negotiable boundaries.
The dating world can be fun and exciting, but it is important to set healthy boundaries so that you and the other person respect one another and are on the same page. Make sure to come with, express, and enforce nonnegotiables early on in a relationship. Once you have been dating for a bit, make sure to have boundaries relating to time apart and expressing yourself. Additionally, listen to your other partner’s needs since dating involves more than one person.
For many people, dating is no longer a part of their life. Instead, they are married and have children. Boundaries are equally as important within the family though. So, it is imperative to set boundaries within your family relationships. These boundaries should be set with your spouse and children.
Marriage can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding relationships with another person. As a result, it is imperative to have healthy boundaries so that you and your spouse both feel appreciated and respected.
When setting boundaries in your marriage, it is important to have boundaries that preserve each other’s individuality. When you are living with someone, it is easy to lose yourself and feel like another part of that person. To prevent this from happening, set boundaries that relate to time apart, and use that time with other people or doing hobbies that you love by yourself.
Do you have a passion or hobby that you often do not have enough time for? If so, set a boundary that says that you need a certain day and time off from the family so that you can pursue your own passions and hobbies. Additionally, allow your partner to have the same type of boundaries so that both spouses feel individually fulfilled.
Additionally, it is important to set emotional boundaries in your marriage. Though it may sound counterintuitive, setting emotional boundaries often leads to more emotional connectivity between partners. The reason for this
is that it allows the spouses to really understand each other in terms of their emotions and needs.
Emotional boundaries in marriages can include how and where to talk about feelings, how to fight, and actions that make you feel unappreciated. Make sure to express your emotional boundaries to your spouse so that they know what they need to respect. Also, allow your spouse to state their emotional boundaries so you can respect them as well.
Another important part of boundaries in marriage is physical boundaries. When you are living with someone, it is very easy to feel like your personal space, body, and items are infringed upon. It is important to set boundaries with your spouse so that they know how to treat you and your things.
As far as physical boundaries in marriage are concerned, you can set boundaries relating to alone time, shared spaces, and shared chores. It is important in physical boundaries that you focus on working together so that both parties feel happy, safe, and comfortable in their home.
Finally, boundaries in marriage should relate to sexual boundaries. Though this is rarely talked about, sexual assault occurs frequently in marriage. It is important that you and your spouse still respect each other’s sexual preferences and needs. Have open conversations and be truthful with one another.
As parents, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to deal with your children.
You may feel that you have lost your individuality and control of your home. If this is the case, it is almost guaranteed that you need to set boundaries with your children. Setting boundaries with your children will let them know that you are in charge.
One boundary to set is “no-go zones.” These zones are behaviors that you will absolutely not tolerate from your children. They can include how they speak to you, how they treat their siblings, going into your bedroom, etc. It is important to set these zones so that your children know their behavior boundaries.
Additionally, set boundaries that create structure in your and your children’s day. Things like bedtimes and bath times are great ways to create a structured routine that you and your child can depend on. Bedtimes are especially helpful because they will give you and your spouse a time to connect.
When you set boundaries for your children, it is important to be firm and consistent. Make sure that they know you are being serious. Then, stick to the boundaries. If you are not consistent, your child will probably not respect them.
If your child breaks a boundary, make sure to have proper and fair consequences in place. Let the child know these consequences beforehand and enforce them if you have to. This will teach your child to respect the boundaries.
At the same time, you should expect your child to break the boundaries some, especially at first. Part of childhood is learning how and where to push the bounds. Your child is not going to respect your boundaries at first. So, be patient with them, and be ready to enforce consequences.
It is very important to set boundaries within the home. For your marriage, set boundaries that relate to time away, emotional intimacy, and physical space. Additionally, set boundaries with your children that relate to no-go zone and structure. Both of these boundaries will result in a happier and healthier life for you and your family.
Your workplace is one of the most important places to set clear and healthy boundaries. According to the United States Department of Labor, the average full-time worker works 8.5 hours a day, or 44 hours a week. Since the average American works so much, it is important to set boundaries in your workplace to have a healthier life.
Professional boundaries are one of the best ways to ensure that you stay fulfilled at your work. Those without good professional boundaries are more likely to experience burnout and feel unfulfilled in their workplace. To prevent this from happening, it is important to set professional boundaries.
Boundaries in the workplace will prevent you from pushing your physical, emotional, and mental limits. As a result, it protects you from overcommitting, being manipulated, or behaving unethically in the workplace. This will allow you to preserve your personal energy and be more functional in and out of the workplace.
To many people, setting professional boundaries is even more difficult than setting boundaries in their personal lives. The reason for this is that people do not want to do anything that would jeopardize their income and career.
Though setting unreasonable or disrespectful boundaries may cost you your career, setting healthy and reasonable boundaries are more likely to help you fulfill your professional goals. So, it is important to set boundaries that are conducive to a more productive, happier, and healthier you.
It is important to draw the line between a healthy boundary and a controlling boundary. If you set up controlling boundaries that are inflexible and inconsiderate of other people, you are likely to be demoted, fired, or disliked.
To prevent this from happening, it is important to establish healthy and flexible boundaries that are beneficial to both you and your place of work. Though expressing these boundaries may be awkward at first, most employers and partners will not have an issue respecting your boundaries.
To create professional boundaries, reflect on how you feel during the day. Are there any people or actions that make you feel extremely anxious, overwhelmed, or upset? If so, you should probably set boundaries relating to those actions.
Additionally, consider how much work you have committed to currently. Do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you have? Do you feel stressed even when you are at home? If so, you need to set boundaries relating to your job load and work to life ratio.
Whenever you come up with the boundaries that you think you need, it is important to express the boundaries to your boss and coworkers. If you do not express your boundaries clearly and professionally, your coworkers and boss will have no idea that they are even breaking your boundaries. So, it is important to communicate clearly.
Boundaries are not meant to punish, but they are instead meant to make relationships healthier and more productive. For professional boundaries, it is best to approach your boss and coworkers as though the conversation was a negotiation. Express the problem using assertive language and “I” statements.
Then, submit the proposed solution, which in this case is the boundaries. From there, explore and explicitly list what your boundaries entail. Give your boss or coworkers a chance to ask questions and fully understand the boundaries.
At the same time, ask your boss or coworkers their side of the story. Do not look at this as a one-sided negotiation. Hear how they look at the situation and gain from their perspective. Be prepared to adjust your boundary in order to compromise with the other coworker. Once again, this is a negotiation. So, work with their perspectives so that both parties feel respected.
In most scenarios, your boss or coworker will be willing to work with your boundaries. The reason for this is that they are also human and understand the pressures of work and life. Unfortunately, there may be instances where your boss or coworkers may not be willing to hear your boundaries. Here’s what you should do if you experience pushback:
- Reiterate the boundary and why its set
Begin by reiterating your boundary and explaining why you need it. Doing this may clarify any misunderstandings about the boundary, which may be the root of the pushback. If the misunderstanding is resolved, then your boss might not push back anymore. Be sure to listen to the other person’s thoughts and worries as well as express your own thoughts and worries.
- See if you can come to a compromise
If all misunderstandings are resolved but you are still experiencing pushback, see if you and the other person can compromise. Boundaries, especially those in the workplace, are about being flexible so that both parties feel respected and heard. Coming up with a compromise may be a great way to respect your needs while respecting the company or other coworker’s needs.
- Do not budge
If the other person is still resistant to the boundary and is unwilling to compromise, do not budge. You are just as important as the other person in the company. So, do not allow another person to bully you out of your boundary. Respectfully but firmly say that you will not change your boundary unless they are willing to compromise as well.
It is highly imperative to have boundaries in the workplace so that way you can be the most professional and proficient worker possible. Make sure to set professional boundaries that are respectful and flexible to your other coworkers, and make sure to express the boundaries clearly and assertively. You may want to approach the discussion as though it were a negotiation. If you experience pushback, reiterate the boundary, and try to come to a compromise, but do not budge.
One of the most important relationships you can have during your life is your relationship with yourself. Whenever you set a boundary with yourself, you set expectations for how you treat yourself and your life. It is important to set boundaries for yourself because you love and respect yourself.
Boundaries with yourself can be more difficult to implement because there is nothing holding you accountable. No one will know if you break your boundary with yourself. For this reason, self boundaries can be some of the most difficult to resist breaking.
Everyone’s boundaries are different, especially those relating to how you treat yourself. It is important that you tailor your self boundaries so that you can be as happy and healthy as possible. Here are some boundaries that you may want to set for yourself:
One of the best ways to set a boundary with yourself is by setting financial boundaries. These financial boundaries will be how you hold yourself accountable for achieving your financial goals, saving money, paying your bills, and having extra spending money.
A financial boundary to set with yourself is to stick to your budget. It is super easy to create a budget and then never follow through with it. Instead of letting yourself go willy-nilly with your finances, make a commitment to yourself that you will stick to your budget.
Another financial boundary you can set with yourself is by only buying what you need. This means sticking to your shopping list and having no impulse buys. This can be difficult, but it will save you money.
Limiting how often you eat out is another financial boundary you can set. Eating out is way more expensive than cooking at home. So, set a number of days in which you are allowed to eat out, and then do not eat out any more than those days.
Another area to consider when setting boundaries for yourself is your health. Health boundaries can relate to your physical, emotional, or mental health. It is important that you focus on all three facets of your health in order to be the best version of yourself possible.
One way that you can commit to your health through boundaries is by creating a workout schedule or dieting. Though it is easy to slack on some days, hold yourself accountable for committing to your boundary of working out and eating healthily.
Additionally, you can set health boundaries relating to your personal care. Whether your boundary is a bath, skincare regimen, or journaling session, connect to these times of personal care and treat them as though they are a boundary with yourself. Do not let other people or your laziness cause you to ignore these boundaries.
In the ever digitalizing age, social media and media consumption is increasing by the day. One way to set boundaries with yourself is to limit your social media and media intake. These sorts of boundaries may be easy for some people and difficult for others. It really just depends on you as the individual.
If you watch a lot of TV, consider limiting your TV intake to only one or two hours per day. Then, be accountable to yourself to ensure that you do not go over this watch count. You could even consider taking screens out of your bedroom so that you do not watch TV before bed.
You can also set time limits on social media use. This boundary is actually easy to implement because smartphones have app time limitations. All you need to do is go into your settings and change the setting for how much screen time you are allowed on each app. Then, have enough self-control that you do not click “ignore” every time you have reached your maximum app allotment.
You can also set boundaries by yourself by creating and sticking to a daily schedule. Daily schedules are a great way to keep you happy and healthy so that your day feels predictable and stress-free. Although it may be easy to ignore your schedule on days that you are feeling lazy or busy, treat your schedule as a boundary so that you stick to it consistently.
Two of the most important scheduling boundaries are your wake time and sleep time. Sleep is one of the most important factors for feeling good and staying healthy long-term. One way to commit to your sleep is to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Treat these bedtimes and wake times as boundaries that you should not break frequently.
It is important to set boundaries with yourself so that way you are accountable for your wellness and happiness. Setting financial, health, social media, and scheduling boundaries are some of the best ways to gain control of your life and become as happy and healthy as possible.
Whenever you set boundaries, you can expect to experience resistance at some point, whether it be from another person or yourself. It is important to know how to handle these instances of resistance so that you can confidently respect your boundaries without being rude or disrespectful to the other party.
The first step to dealing with people who resist your boundaries is to be prepared. It is important to know common tactics that people do in order to resist boundaries. This will allow you to recognize when a person is being disrespectful to your boundaries and needs. Here are the most common forms of boundary resistance:
- The Controller
One way that people might resist your boundary is by trying to control you or the situation. This type of person is called the Controller. The Controller might resist your boundary by physically challenging you, changing other people’s opinion of you, or anything else that results in controlling you or the situation.
On occasion, the Controller may become angry and resort to yelling or fighting. This is a very extreme reaction that can be dangerous to your physical health and safety. If you find yourself in this situation, remove yourself immediately. It is not worth risking your safety for this person.
- The Intimidator
Another way that people resist boundaries is by intimidating you. These people are called Intimidators. The goal of the Intimidator is to intimidate you until you feel as though you are the one being unreasonable and change your boundary. This person may gaslight you, argue with you, or do something else to make you feel as though your boundaries are not worth being respected.
- The Guilt Trip
People also resist boundaries by attempting to guilt-trip the person setting the boundaries. The goal of the Guilt Trip is to convince you that you are being selfish for setting a boundary. The Guilt Trip is probably the most frequent boundary resistant tactic.
When you meet these sorts of people, it is important to keep a couple of things in mind so that you stick to your boundary and do not let them bully you from the respect you deserve. Here are some things to keep in mind when you experience resistance to your boundaries:
- The angry person is the one with the problem, not you. You are not responsible for their anger, and you should not let their anger cause you to become angry or upset.
- You do not need to feel guilty for putting your needs and wants on par with someone else. You are just as important as the other person. So, your boundaries deserve respect, and you should not feel guilty for setting boundaries.
- Guilt is just anger and insecurity in disguise. If someone is trying to guilt you, they are probably just angry and manipulative. On the other hand, if you feel guilty for setting boundaries, you are probably insecure and need to deal with that accordingly.
Whenever you meet someone who is resistant to your boundaries, it is important to be diligent in your reactions so that you do not let them walk over you. Even if you feel uncomfortable standing up to the person resisting your boundaries, it is important to stand your ground and act accordingly.
Begin by reiterating your boundary and why it is in place. This gives the other person the opportunity to ask any questions or better understand your boundary. Sometimes, this first step solves the problem because it alleviates any misunderstandings.
If the person is continuing to resist your boundaries, keep the three previous points in mind. The angry person is the one with the problem, not you; do not feel guilty for respecting your needs and once; guilt is just anger and insecurity in disguise. Use these three points to keep you focused on your boundary and goals, not the other person’s resistance.
Do not give in to the resistor simply out of laziness or convenience. Your boundaries demand to be respected, and you should not let the resistor bully you into forgetting them. Do not budge, no matter who the resistor is. Stay confident, assertive, and kind.
If the resistor is resisting for legitimate concerns, try talking with him or her about those concerns. You all might be able to come to a compromise that is great for both parties. Boundaries do not have to be inflexible. So, you can compromise in order to make all parties involved happy.
Whenever you set boundaries, expect to experience resistance at some point. You should expect to see someone use controlling, intimidating, or guilting tactics in order to bully you from enforcing your boundaries. When you find yourself in this position, reiterate your boundary and try to find a neutral ground, but do not back down. Your feelings are just as important as the resistor’s feelings.
Once you set boundaries and get everyone on board, you need to measure the success of your boundaries. Are they working? Are they making your life easier? Are they adding stress to your life? Depending on the answers to these questions, you may find that your boundaries are successful or unsuccessful.
Since the success of boundaries is often addressed by looking at your emotions and feelings throughout the day, it is important to track your moods, emotions, and feelings. Tracking these items will allow you to see how you feel before starting your boundary versus how you feel with the boundary implemented.
One way that you can track your moods, emotions, and feelings is by using a mood tracker. With your mood tracker, you should write down every night how you felt during the day. You can either get a mood tracking app on your phone, or you can put it in a journal and write it down physically.
For some of the more measurable boundaries, such as financial boundaries, keep a detailed record of your progress as well. Whether it be in the form of a bank statement, productivity list on your phone, or journal, make sure that you are tracking your relationship with the boundary.
If you are new to setting boundaries, you may want to consider getting a journal purely for recording your thoughts, actions, and feelings regarding the boundaries. In that journal, write down all of your drafting, making, and ideas relating to the boundaries. Then, update the status of your boundary to measure its effectiveness in your life.
If you are not seeing any progress within a few months, you should go back to your journal and continue drafting boundary ideas. Try to see why your old boundaries aren’t working and tailor your new boundaries to make them more successful.
Successful boundaries should make you feel more balanced, respected, and happy. You know boundaries are successful and helpful for your life when everything goes great until someone breaks the boundary. This tells you that this boundary is healthy in your life and reflects your values, rights, and needs.
You can measure the success of your boundaries based on how you feel on a day to day basis. The easiest boundary category to measure is your professional boundaries.
If you set boundaries at work because you feel overworked and overwhelmed, you should feel like you have a healthier life to work ratio, and you should not feel burnt out. If you feel much better than you did before, the boundary is successful.
Unsuccessful boundaries can either result in no change or add stress to your life. Both scenarios are not ideal and show that you need to make some adjustment to your boundaries.
If you still feel as badly as you did when you set the boundary, that means that the boundary does not actually address the issue. Continue to reflect on the situation until you find a boundary that best addresses the issue in the violation to your needs, emotion, or rights.
Some boundaries can add stress to your life. These boundaries are often unrealistic and not natural. If you find yourself stressing about the boundary itself, consider lessening the boundary or making it more flexible so that way it fits more naturally into your life. If it is still stressful after that, then you should probably forgo the boundary entirely.
If you find that one or more boundaries are unsuccessful, you should adjust them. As we have said at several points, boundaries should be flexible and adjust to your life. There is nothing wrong or embarrassing about tailoring an unsuccessful boundary to make it more applicable.
In order to see if your boundaries are effective, it is important to track them to measure their success. You can track their success by monitoring your moods, feelings, and progress. Successful boundaries should make your life easier, happier, and healthier, which will be reflected in your mood tracking or progress reports.
On the other hand, unsuccessful boundaries may result in no change or cause even more stress in your life. If your boundaries are not successful, tailor them so that they better fit your needs and desires.
As we have seen, it is imperative to set healthy boundaries in order to have healthy and respectful relationships with yourself and those around you. If you do not set boundaries for yourself and others, you may feel worn down and disrespected by those in your life.
Whenever you are setting boundaries, it is important to remember that the point of boundaries is to respect yourself and have healthier relationships with others. From there, set boundaries according to your needs and feelings, and be willing to enforce your boundaries if someone does not respect them.
Remember to create boundaries that touch every aspect of your life. We specifically recommend setting boundaries within your dating life, family, work, and with yourself. If you set boundaries in all these areas, you are more likely to feel happier, healthier, and more respected in your life.
To make sure that your boundaries are working, track their success by using mood trackers, progress reports, and journaling. These tools will allow you to reflect on your feelings and know when certain boundaries are simply unsuccessful at making your life better.
It is important to remember that people may resist your boundaries by controlling, intimidating, or guilting you. In these scenarios, reiterate your boundaries and compromise when able, but do not back down. Your feelings are just as important as anyone else’s feelings. So, do not let anyone bully you from respecting them.
Though creating your boundaries may take some time and practice, do not get discouraged. If you follow these steps and work diligently and compassionately, you will see the benefits of your boundaries in time.