Setting boundaries is an important life skill.

We all need boundaries because they help protect us, but they help out the other people in our life too.  A boundary marks a limit and we all have limits. Boundaries come in many forms in our lives and it’s important to know what your boundary is, so you know when you are over your own limit.

We have to let people know what is and is not okay to do. It’s not fair to always expect someone else to do something all of the time. It’s healthy to set expectations and know the limit.  For example, A parent might set the expectation of a curfew going past the boundary means there is a consequence.

Boundaries can be

Material:

things you lend or buy

Physical:

how you want to be touched or not touched, personal space

Mental:

thoughts, values, opinions (including expectations)

Emotional:

how you feel about something, identity, choices

Time:

what you want to spend your time or energy on

Social:

who you want to spend time with

Sometimes when we do not set these boundaries, it can leave us open to feel taken advantage of. If we continue to do everything for other people in our lives without them doing the same for us, it can create resentment, frustration, and create enabling behaviors.

It’s not fair for one parent, friend, person, self to take 100% of the responsibility of a situation. When we also give people the chance to solve their own problem at times, we give them the opportunity to use their own critical thinking skills. If we continue to do the things other people in our life do not want to do, then how will they learn that skill set?

Here are some of the boundaries I have set for myself:

  • I will not bring work home with me on an emotional level
  • I will take time for myself every day
  • I will not pick up the phone when I am with my friends or with my partner
  • I will not buy something from someone whose values I disagree with.
  • What are some of your boundaries? Or what boundaries can you do better with?

Side note: I saw this on social media and thought it was fantastic and true.

What do boundaries feel like:

  • It is not my job to fix others
  • It’s okay if others get upset
  • It’s okay to say no
  • It is not my job to take responsibility for others
  • I don’t have to anticipate the needs of everyone
  • My responsibility is to make me happy
  • Nobody has to agree with me all of the time
  • I have a right to my own feelings
  • I am enough

About the Author

Fariha Newaz

Fariha Newaz, LCPC, CADC is a therapist at our Edison Park location. Fariha works with adolescents, young adults, adults, and couples. Fariha’s specialties include depression, anxiety, substance use, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, multicultural concerns, and South Asians specific concerns. If you are interested in working with Fariha, send an email today!