What Are Boundaries? (Why Are They Important For Self-Care)

Four pairs of feet stand on a line showing it is a boundary

Boundary setting has become somewhat of a buzzword phrase lately. However, setting healthy boundaries is a very important part of our social self-care.

We need boundaries in order to have positive relationships not only with other people but with ourselves.

But in order to understand how to set appropriate boundaries, we need to review exactly what are boundaries?

Boundaries can be different for everyone depending on personality, upbringing, mental health status, culture, and environment. For example, a boundary that you set with your partner might not be an appropriate boundary that your best friend would set with their partner.

Below we are going to review what are boundaries, how to set a boundary, why boundaries are important, what the benefits of boundaries are, and some examples of healthy boundaries.

Also, at the bottom, there is the option to download our free How to discover your own boundaries worksheet.

What Are Boundaries?

The dictionary defines the word boundary as something that indicates a limit.

Everyone was their different levels of limits, as well as different areas where they set limits in their lives.

Our limits are constantly changing based on social context, relationships, personality and culture.

While we might be fine with a close co-worker using our office when we are not there for the day, we might not feel the same way when it comes to a co-worker that we don’t know as well.

When we set a boundary, we are communicating our own limits.

How To Set Boundaries

Setting strong boundaries is an important part of our own happiness, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Here are steps

1) Discover what your boundaries are

First, we need to understand what our boundaries even are. To do this, we need to use our self-awareness and truly know ourselves to know what boundaries are even necessary.

This may take some self-reflection and soul-searching to discover our needs.

If you need help with this step you can check out the free boundary-setting worksheets at the bottom to help!

2) Communicate those boundaries to those they affect

Setting strong boundaries requires you to be able to communicate effectively. This can be hard if you have problems with saying no, people-pleasing, or relationship issues.

For many people, the thought of having to say no to someone can make them feel uncomfortable.

It can also be uncomfortable for those that aren’t used to openly discussing their feelings or for asking for things from others.

It is important to express your feelings respectfully, but honestly. You don’t have to be rude, or forceful. In fact, that will probably make the situation worse.

But you need to be clear, calm and straightforward. State what you want or expect going forward, and then leave it at that.

3) Prepare yourself for any reaction

Some people might not take you setting a boundary well if they are not used to you setting boundaries in the past, however, it is not your responsibility to make sure they are happy with your boundary.

It is your responsibility to protect yourself with that boundary.

It might take you removing yourself from the situation to give that person some space and time to digest what you are asking for, and that is completely okay.

Why Is It Important To Set Healthy Boundaries?

Boundaries are a very important part of social self-care. They help to keep you safe, respected, and cared for when it comes to your relationships with other people.

Your interactions and communications with other people become about your needs and what makes you feel comfortable and safe.

Personal boundaries are like a set of rules for other people so they know how to treat you, and what kind of treatment you will accept from other people.

Some people may think this sounds selfish, but caring about yourself is not selfish or rude. It is about understanding your self-worth and demanding respect from other people.

Without boundaries, it can be extremely difficult to be happy, and healthy, and to make all of your dreams come true.

You also can’t help others and have amazing relationships if you don’t feel safe, strong, and confident–and all of this comes from having strong boundaries.

What Are The Benefits Of Healthy Boundaries?

  • You are respecting yourself by standing your ground
  • They create trust with other people
  • They help you build healthy relationships
  • You will stop being taken for granted by family, friends, or employers
  • You will learn who truly cares about you and respects you
  • They reduce further conflict
  • They help your mental health
  • They increase your self-worth and confidence
  • They help you avoid burnout

Where Can You Set Boundaries?

Boundaries can be set anywhere that you go.

You can set them at home, at work, when you are spending time with friends, with family, and even with strangers.

Whenever you are interacting with someone else, you can set boundaries.

What Are Some Examples Of Healthy Boundaries?

Everyone’s boundaries are different because everyone has different needs and situations. However, here are some examples of healthy boundaries that some people might set.

Remember, what is right for someone else might not be right for you.

  • Not letting a friend or family member speak down to you
  • Not letting a partner call you names or yell at you
  • Not lending money to family members
  • Not doing anything you don’t want to do
  • Not staying somewhere if someone is late without notice or explanation
  • Not hugging strangers
  • Not having sex without a condom
  • Not arguing with someone if you disagree
  • Not lending out your personal belongings

Why Are Boundaries Important For Self-Care

Boundaries are important for self-care because they enable us to have healthy and happy relationships with others, while being able to ensure that our own needs are being met.

When we create boundaries, it is like we are standing up for ourselves and ensuring that other people treat us with the respect that we deserve which is great for our mental healthy and our wellbeing.

Final thoughts…

Setting healthy boundaries is an important social self-care practice. Healthy boundaries help to improve our lives and our relationships.

While setting boundaries can feel uncomfortable when we are not used to them, they are important for our health and happiness.

What we consider a healthy boundary, might not be a healthy boundary for someone else and that is okay.

But it is still important to respect the boundaries of other people just as we would want them to respect our own.

Don’t forget to download your free worksheet for How To Discover Your Own Boundaries below.

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