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How to Set Boundaries in Your Personal Life

Kathleen is a professional freelance writer and blogger with over a decade of experience writing professionally.

Boundaries help you pave your own path.

Boundaries help you pave your own path.

What Are Boundaries?

Pause a moment. Stand on the earth and sense the spiral of your life. You have not come to this place by chance. All your choices have brought you here.

You created this life by the people you chose to let in and the people you chose to shut out. You created this life by giving your time to the quests that matter and by letting hours trickle toward lesser goals. You created your life through the pursuits to which you gave your energy and by the pressures to which you gave heed.

Every choice you have ever made brought you to this place. One step after the other, you created the boundaries—or defenses—that protect you from external threats.

What exactly are boundaries?

Boundaries are limits that promote your personal integrity. At the most elemental level, your skin is the boundary for your internal organs. When you get scratched or cut, the integrity of your physical body is compromised. This is the same case with internal boundaries we set for ourselves.

Create healthy boundaries in your life.

Create healthy boundaries in your life.

How Do Boundaries Help?

Boundaries are limits. They are invisible fences that protect you from the outside world. By the limits you set, you protect your integrity, your security, and your self-esteem. Each day is shaped by your choices. When you let others, or even yourself, violate your boundaries you compromise your happiness and sacrifice your control.

Boundaries provide a clear moral compass. They keep us on track. They protect the important, tender parts of ourselves.

We all make decisions about how to use every minute of our day. We make decisions whether or not to say yes or no to the requests of others. It is these little actions that can either support us or sabotage us.

You are the only one who can change your life.

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Learning How to Set Boundaries

Boundaries give you safety without making you miss out on the good things in life. With boundaries we need not unilaterally shut out people or possibilities. Setting boundaries gives us the option of letting in the people who are meaningful to us.

With boundaries you can protect yourself in specific and mindful ways instead of walking around armed to the hilt. You can limit your exposure to uncaring people and nourish contacts with the people who have the potential to become dear.

So how do we set our boundaries?

  • We learn when to say no and we don't feel guilty about it
  • We learn to say yes and accept help when we need it
  • We let go of guilt
  • We learn to express ourselves
  • We learn to respect ourselves
  • We learn to accept ourselves
About setting boundaries.

About setting boundaries.

When Others Violate Your Boundaries

A boundary is like a line drawn around us that says "This is the limit—go no further."

When someone crosses our boundaries we feel threatened and violated. Occasionally someone may cross one of our boundaries by accident, other times people cross our boundaries on purpose in order to try to take advantage of us or hurt us.

The longer we say in a violating situation, the more traumatic the situation becomes. Any time someone in a position of greater power than you violates your boundaries, the violation automatically becomes more serious and more threatening. If we don't act on our own behalf, we will lose spirit, resourcefulness, energy, health, perspective, and resilience.

If someone is violating your boundaries, you need to introduce consequences—either by bringing up the boundary violation or by leaving the situation.

Five Ways to Learn and Set Boundaries in Your Personal Life

How We Violate Our Own Boundaries

We can violate our own boundaries when we neglect to take care of ourselves or don't stand up for ourselves. When we stay in harmful relationships, we are losing chunks of our life. If someone doesn't respect your boundaries, then they don't respect you, and keeping them in your life is a way of violating your own boundaries. Understand and accept the fact that it is okay to have limits, it is okay to say no, and it is okay to walk away from relationships that don't feel healthy. All of this is part of caring for yourself and establishing your own boundaries.

Once you realize you are a worthwhile person, you will have no trouble setting the boundaries you need to set.

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