Drawing The Line: What personal boundaries are and why you need to set them


Wed, 13 Oct 2021 - 03:20 GMT

By definition, a ‘boundary’ is a line or anything that sets the border or limits of an area. In life and practice, boundaries mark the edge on what is acceptable from people whether colleagues, family members, or a partner. In other words, your boundaries are your limits.
In order to understand the importance of setting personal boundaries and how to set them, first you need to know how personal boundaries can improve your relationships with others and make you feel better, and less prone to holding grudges.
Personal Boundaries are like a manual or guidelines that define how we would like to be treated by people around us and how to react when these boundaries are violated. The way we build these boundaries stems from our core values, beliefs, opinions, and past experiences. Personal boundaries define what we like and dislike, and set the allowed distance for others around us to approach.
There are 6 types of personal boundaries
  1. Emotional Boundaries. They refer to you respecting your feelings, emotional state, and how much you feel comfortable sharing or opening up about.
  2. Physical Boundaries. These boundaries concern your need for personal space, how comfortable are you with touching, public display of affection, and your need for rest
  3.  Sexual Boundaries. They refer to your boundaries in intimacy, consent, agreement, as well as respecting and understating preferences and desires.
  4.  Intellectual Boundaries. These boundaries refer to your thoughts and beliefs and how they should be respected despite disagreement.
  5. Time Boundaries. They concern how you draw importance on your time and its value, how you utilize it, and how you set aside time for yourself and your needs before those of others.
  6. Material Boundaries. They refer to your financials and your possessions and how much you allow others to share them. 
Why are personal boundaries important?
Personal boundaries are an important element of self-care. Lack of these boundaries can make us feel taken for granted, taken advantage of, walked over, and not respected enough. On the contrary, setting healthy boundaries help us build a good relationship with others, care for ourselves and those we love. Without setting clear boundaries, we end up hurt and resentful which will eventually lead to social withdrawal and shutting ourselves down from people. 
What is it like to lack personal boundaries?
  • You allow others to make decisions on your behalf.
  • You say ‘yes’ when you want to say ‘no’.
  • You justify how you feel by how others treat you.
  • You don’t stand up in situations that make you uncomfortable
If you notice that the way people treat you makes you uncomfortable, hurt, or even angry, then maybe you have not set or need to reset your personal boundaries. But bear in mind that setting boundaries is not always an easy thing to do, people may dislike those new boundaries, test your limits, or push beyond your limits to see how serious you are about those boundaries. This doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong or that you are offensive, you will just need to be consistent till people adjust to the new boundaries you have set.
How to set personal boundaries?
  1. Self-reflect to know your triggers or the things you’d like people to stop doing such as criticism, rudeness, being ignored 
  2. Communicate clearly and assertively.
  3. Stand your ground and avoid being lenient when your boundaries are violated.
  4. Commit to those boundaries even if they are not taken seriously at the beginning.
  5. Always believe that you are entitled to your feelings, thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and how you lead your own life.
How will setting personal boundaries help you?
  1. An empowered and defined individuality.
  2. A higher sense of self-esteem and self-respect.
  3. Less future conflicts.
  4. Ability to make healthier choices that serve you better.
  5. Improved relationships with those around you.



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