Written by therapist Bria McCalpin
Boundaries are about understanding your limits and they have a lot to do with self-awareness and understanding. Everyone has their own list of boundaries, whether we are conscious of them or not. This could be feeling anxious when someone touches us or invades our space or becoming uncomfortable when a person asks us to do something we may not want to do. Your boundaries can look different depending on the individual, but knowing your boundaries is important for a variety of reasons.
Boundary setting is a form of self-care. When you can understand how to set and maintain your personal boundaries, you are protecting your wellbeing and limiting your stress. You will be in control of what you will or will not accept and honoring yourself by taking the necessary steps to assert this. You can place boundaries with any relationship, no matter if it is family, your significant other, friends, or what have you. Here’s how to get started.
Benefits of Boundary Setting
Setting boundaries is healthy for everyone.By having effective boundaries, you keep relationships strong and thriving. Boundaries should be communicated so one can have good mental and emotional health, developing a sense of identity and autonomy, as well as not developing burnout. The consequences of not setting healthy boundaries can include stress, relationship issues, resentment, and financial burdens to name a few. Having healthy boundaries offer greater wellbeing and maintaining less stress for an individual. Additionally, by setting these boundaries, we are showing up for ourselves, and when we support ourselves, we are teaching others how to support us.
Different Types of Boundaries
It should be noted that boundaries do not consist of one form. There are multiple types of boundaries that can be defined as emotional, physical, intellectual, financial, and sexual. Each refers to a distinctive aspect of boundary setting.
Emotional – understanding emotional boundaries is being mindful of your feelings. Some examples of having emotional boundaries are not letting someone else’s feelings dictate your own, avoiding having to sacrifice your own emotional needs for another, or taking responsibility for your own feelings.
Physical – referring to your body, privacy, or personal space. Some examples of physical boundaries are not wanting to be touched in public, telling someone to not grab you from behind, or informing others you want 15 minutes to decompress before interaction.
Intellectual – respecting your different views and ideas. Some examples of intellectual boundaries are stating when you notice you’re being belittled in conversation, declaring a conversation needs to happen at a different time/place, or recognizing healthy and unhealthy conversation.
Financial (Material) – setting limits on your money and belongings. Some examples of financial boundaries are asserting how much money to give someone, choosing whether or not to lend out a possession, or offering to aid somebody in services rather than money.
Sexual – including your consent and preferences regarding sexuality. Some examples of sexual boundaries are discussing contraception, saying no to things you do not like, or telling your partner when you do not want to engage in sexual activity.
Time – concerning your time. Some examples of time boundaries are understanding your priorities and setting time aside for them, notifying others how much time you can stay for an event, or realizing when you are overcommitting yourself.
To know yourself is to know what expectations you set for others about you. Boundaries reflect our core values. We are more prone to respecting and acknowledging our own boundaries when we connect them to our values. For instance, if you value family, you may assert you cannot make it to an occasion if it conflicts with a family event. Or if you value privacy, you are likely to be cautious of what you choose to share with others. It is significant to inquire about your values. A beneficial method to learning about your values is to search up a list of values. Afterwards, choose your top 10, then review the top 5. By taking this step, setting boundaries can become easier because alongside asserting your boundaries, you are respecting your values.
If you would like to start learning more about exploring your boundaries and recognizing the boundaries of others, set an appointment with one of our therapists today!