“Boundaries” is a popular buzzword these days, but what exactly does that mean?
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The simple answer that a personal boundary is where your responsibility ends and another person’s begins. However, it is difficult to determine beyond that as boundaries can vary from person to person.
It may be easier to understand what it looks like when you don’t have good personal boundaries, says Nakpangi Thomas, a licensed professional counselor, author, and adjunct faculty at Southern New Hampshire University.
She suggests asking serious questions.
- Do you take pride in always going the extra mile for others?
- Do you find yourself overexerting on many fronts?
- Are you tired more days than others?
- Do you ever feel guilty for not doing more things?
- Are you angry at others because they are so needy?
- Are you able to say no when asked?
The last question is perhaps the most telling, as “setting a boundary” almost always involves saying “no” to someone or something.
But while setting boundaries can feel scary, frustrating, or overwhelming, they’re absolutely necessary for your health and well-being, Thomas says.
If you don’t have good boundaries, it is possible to feel compelled to please everyone.
To set healthy boundaries, you must first give yourself permission.
These boundary quotes will help you find the inspiration and courage you need to be strong for yourself and those you love.
“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” —Brene Brown, researcher, author, motivational speaker
People don’t like being told “no,” and if you are a people pleaser, this can feel especially difficult.
It’s OK to disappoint people sometimes. If you’re a people pleaser, know that you are not responsible for other people’s feelings.
YouHeard me for the first time
“No is a complete sentence.” —Anne Lamont, author
Do not try to justify or explain your boundaries. ThatThis gives people something to debate with you.
Practice the art of saying “no” (and “no more”).
Don’t be a martyr
“You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep others warm.” —Unknown
If your loved ones truly love you then they won’t want you to destroy yourself in service of them. If they do want you to fully self-sacrifice for their sake, then they shouldn’t consider themselves your loved ones.
“If you really loved me you would…” is a common phrase used in gaslighting—a form of emotional abuse.
YouYou can define your success
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“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” —Warren Buffet, billionaire businessman
To be successful, you must know your worth and communicate it to others.
Are you looking for some ideas? These boundary-setting phrases will help you think of ideas.
Set realistic expectations
“Whatever you are willing to put up with is exactly what you will get.” —Unknown
People are often willing to take everything you will give them, so it’s up to you to set realistic expectations and healthy boundaries so neither one of you feels taken advantage of.
Refusing to establish boundaries can lead you to be passive-aggressive.
Actions speak louder that words
“The only people who get upset about you setting boundaries are the ones who were benefiting from you having none.” —Unknown
Refusing to make or accept boundaries is a major red flag that you’re in a toxic relationship.
You need to be aware of these signs and how you can deal with them.
Boundaries protect everyone
“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated.” —Brene Brown
Sometimes, a lack of boundaries leads to deep-rooted resentment.
YouIt is possible to believe that if people truly cared about you they would be able to understand your needs without you telling them. But your loved ones aren’t mind readers, and they want to know your boundaries.
Be your own advocate
“Givers need to set limits because takers rarely do.” —Rachel Wolchin, author and artist
Is it possible to be giving and loving in your relationships, while taking from your loved ones?
This is a very common pattern and a sign you might be in a relationship that is codependent, with poor boundaries.
It’s about respect
“When someone oversteps your boundaries, they’re letting you know that what you want doesn’t matter.” —Phil Good, musician
Sometimes people overstep your boundaries because they’re unaware, but if you’ve told them what you need and they ignore it, that’s a clear sign of how little they value you.
YouYou can begin by being kind to yourself. These quotes about self-love will remind you that you are worth it.
You’re not responsible for other people’s reactions
“I set boundaries not to offend you but to respect myself.” —Unknown
Fear of offending another person is a major obstacle to setting boundaries. However, boundaries are not about what you want. They have nothing to do the other person.
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You’re not responsible for how they feel about your boundaries.
Energy and time are scarce resources.
“When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you’re not saying ‘no’ to yourself.” —Paul Coelho, novelist and poet
You can only do so much in one day, unless you have a time travel device. You have to divide that between things you do for yourself—work, self-care, hobbies, and the like—and the things you do for others. Say “yes” to everyone’s requests, and you may not have time for your needs.
You could also tire quickly.
YouThere is a limit to how much you can give. If you try to help everyone, you could feel neglected, used and even heartbroken.
Setting boundaries allows you to be helpful now in some capacity and continue to be helpful in the future because you won’t be burned out. You can avoid caregiver burnout.
It’s your responsibility
“Stop asking why they keep doing it and start asking why you keep allowing it.” —Unknown
It’s up to you to set your boundaries and to hold people accountable when they violate them. This is your responsibility.
High-functioning anxiety is when you are unable to manage boundaries.
“Walls keep everybody out. Boundaries teach them where the door is.” —Mark Groves, human connection specialist
Boundaries are often viewed as something negative or mean. However, they can be an opportunity to strengthen your relationships through better understanding one another.
Here’s how to build trust in a relationship.
“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. You have the power to use your time and energy in a way that is best for you. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.” —Anna Taylor, writer
“You teach people how to treat you” isn’t victim-blaming; it’s empowering.
Don’t give up control of your own life because someone else thinks they can run it better than you.
These are some tips to help you end a conflict.
Do you have proof?
“If someone gets mad at you for creating a boundary, consider that a good sign that the boundary was necessary.” —Jenna Korf, author
Healthy people desire boundaries. Borderline personality disorder is characterized by anger at people who set or enforce personal boundaries.
It is important to consider your needs.
“Boundary setting helps you prioritize your needs over other people’s wants.” —Lauren Kenson, health coach
Our society values selflessness and sacrifice. However, it is possible to take this too far and be taken advantage of.
Are you feeling the same? Do you feel like this is you?