A key source of stress comes from being overrun by others’ needs. Having healthy
boundaries can help set parameters for you, those you love, and people who have
influence over you. Setting boundaries prevents stress because they create barriers that
protect your time, emotions, and personal space.
Setting boundaries can feel selfish when others’ needs seem very important. It can feel
wrong to say no to something that might make things harder for someone else. It’s still
important to be able to set firm and consistent boundaries if you want to avoid stress
and keep a joyful spirit.
Key points about setting boundaries.
✔Boundaries should be clear. Whatever boundary you set; it should be very clear.
Sharing what the line in the sand is and sometimes sharing why helps others know
exactly where you stand and what they can expect.
✔Boundaries should be healthy. Your boundaries should come from a healthy place
where your joy and wellbeing are the primary reason for setting limits. Setting a
boundary for passive-aggressive reasons or to cause pain or harm won’t win you any
friends or preserve your own joy.
✔Boundaries should be firm. Your boundaries need to be non-negotiable. Think your
boundaries through beforehand. Make sure they are legal, logical, and ethical. Be
certain they serve your highest interest and stick to them. From time to time, people
may want you to compromise or vacate your boundaries. However, the more you hold
to them, the less likely someone will be to try to manipulate you.
The most important thing about setting boundaries is being consistent. When people are
consistent with their limits, it is clear what is permitted and what is off-limits. Being
wishy-washy about what you allow confuses people and sends the message that
sometimes you will and sometimes you won’t. This might keep people pushing the
limits, frustrating both of you.
There may be times when your boundaries cause you to feel guilty. Be sure to
remember why you have them and that they contribute to your mental health, keep you
from being overwhelmed and overburdened, and allow you to balance all the areas of
your life. Others may not fully know what you need to manage the multiple aspects of
your life. Setting firm, healthy boundaries makes it possible for you to do the best with
the time and resources you have without feeling guilty.