Boundaries are a vital part of a loving and healthy relationship BUT…. so many people struggle to understand how they work AND how to set them.

What are healthy boundaries? They are like the fence around a house, they help us to clearly define ourselves to other people. They outline our likes and dislikes, beliefs and values. They assist our partner, kids, families, friends, work colleagues and acquaintances to understand what we are willing to tolerate and what we are not.

Learning to set healthy boundaries in relationships involves you knowing and understanding what your own limits are and being able to let others know what they are too.

Boundary types

Generally speaking there are only a few ways of having a boundary and they are ….

Rigid boundaries: these are the boundaries that are impenetrable – they keep people out, and us in. They stop us from really connecting to others and can prevent us from asking for help when we really need it.

People with rigid boundaries literally shut everyone out. Sadly they can also keep us really stuck too.

Loose boundaries: this style of boundary can be so very painful. We can become too connected to others way too quickly, and can be overly familiar. We might end up getting preoccupied with someone new and think about them all of the time.

It can also mean that other peoples thoughts and feelings become so important to us that we need constant reassurance from important people that they think we are ok. And sadly we can end up saying yes to people and things when we really want to say no and that can leave us feeling resentful and life can feel chaotic. Loose boundaries look like a house with no fence, no doors or locks.

Healthy boundaries are firm but flexible. They help others to respect us. They communicate what our feelings, needs, opinions and rights are. They are assertive and respectful of the rights of others. Bottom line they make life much easier and they make relationship more in flow.

Setting Boundaries

Lots of people really struggle with setting boundaries but learning to set healthy boundaries helps you to enjoy healthy interactions with the people who you care about or who you have to spend time with each day.

Here are some important tips to help you have healthy boundaries

1. Know what is important to you
You can’t set a boundary if you don’t know what you are willing to accept and what you are not. Think through the things that are important to you, emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual and identify where your limits are.

2. Think about what you are feeling
If you are starting to feel resentment or discomfort around other people’s behaviour toward you then it might mean you need to establish or re-establish a boundary with them.

3. Practice, practice, practice
When you start out setting boundaries it can be quite challenging so start off with smaller boundaries that you feel more comfortable sharing and work your way up to some of the bigger ones. Once you have discussed a few with people it gets much easier.

4. Let the other person know what you need
Setting boundaries is just the start, letting people know if they have crossed a boundary is very important. Have a respectful conversation with the person involved and let them know what is troubling you and discuss how it might be addressed.

5. Be courageous and let others know what your boundaries are
It is common to worry about how other people will react to your boundaries, to feel guilty or feel like you are letting people down but boundaries help us to have healthy relationships and increase our feeling of self-respect and self-worth.

If you need some help when it comes to setting boundaries check out my downloadable short courses >> HERE

If you’ve found this blog helpful but need additional support, join my upcoming free online workshop, “Heartbreak to Healing.” Access these valuable resources HERE

I am Debbi Carberry, a relationship expert with over two decades of experience in helping women love themselves and cultivate healthy, fulfilling relationships. As a mother of four grown children and a survivor of two major relationship breakups, I understand the challenges you may face. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. There is support and guidance available to help you navigate the complexities of relationships.

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Until next time …