In article about boundaries, illustration of a person setting down a stick as a barrier.

It’s Important To Set Boundaries

Though it can be uncomfortable, establishing limits in your relationships is the best way to protect your peace and build self-confidence. 
February 21, 2023
5 mins read

Boundaries are defined as established personal limits that a person sets to ensure that their needs are met. Everyone should establish boundaries in the various relationships in their lives. Relationships with friends, romantic partners, parents, coworkers and even strangers should all have limits personalized to you and your level of comfort. Tracy Hutchinson, a psychotherapist with over 20 years of clinical experience, stated that, “Setting boundaries can ensure that relationships can be mutually respectful, appropriate, and caring.” Setting boundaries is important because if you don’t, you may find yourself in situations where you feel uncomfortable, uneasy or uninterested.

Everyone has encountered at least one people pleaser in our lives; if you haven’t, look in the mirror. People pleasers fear doing anything that may result in conflict. People pleasers thrive on external validation, but the process of obtaining it is often a huge stressor in their lives. They rarely establish personal boundaries, which creates many issues in their relationships. Though they would rather spend their time doing other things, their inability to say no to those around them often gets the best of them.

Setting boundaries is a learning process for most people. As humans, we often don’t know what will make us feel disrespected until it has already happened. Discovering what behavior is and isn’t okay with you isn’t something that will happen overnight. As people grow and change, they must adjust their boundaries to change with them. A good rule of thumb is to pay close attention to the things that bother you, bring you anxiety or upset you. If one thing sticks out, it is most likely a personal boundary of yours, so take a mental note of it.

When setting your boundaries, realizing that they don’t have to make sense to anyone else but you is important. You do not owe anyone an explanation as to why you feel the way you do. The right people will respect your feelings and your boundaries. Acknowledging your own emotions is a great way to recognize your self-worth. You can boost your self-esteem by repeating positive affirmations in the morning every day, which is proven to better your state of mind over time. Research done by Chris Cascio, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, indicates that “affirmations seem to engage regions of the brain associated with positive valuation and self-processing.”

If you find that you are constantly saying yes, sacrificing your personal needs and taking on the stress of others, it may be time to self-reflect. Is your “yes” motivated by a fear of future rejection and criticism? Or do you agree because you need external validation to affirm your worth? Whatever the reason may be, there’s a way to conquer it.

Healthy boundaries in romantic relationships can help you find a person whose values are compatible with yours, and healthy boundaries in the workplace can help you build lasting interpersonal and professional relationships. Sahar Andrade, an award-winning life coach, makes a great point: “Some people feel the need to please others, often without realizing that by saying ‘yes’ to everything, they are also saying ‘no’ to something else that might be equally important to them. This can have negative effects on both your personal life and your career.”

While there are many positive effects to helping others, make sure you can do so within your own limits. If you are not able to say no for lack of confidence or fear of rejection, other people may take advantage of you. Though some people may not like the boundaries you set, worthwhile people will respect you for standing your ground. With boundaries in place, you are more likely to feel heard and appreciated by others in the long run. You should never allow someone to make you feel like you are asking for too much; your boundaries only have to make sense to you, because they are molded specifically by your wants and needs.

Valentina Palomino, SUNY Old Westbury

Writer Profile

Valentina Palomino

SUNY Old Westbury

Hello, my name is Valentina Palomino. I am a student at SUNY Old Westbury. Some of my greatest passions include writing alongside with reading. Nothing better than snuggling up next to a good book!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Don't Miss