Personal boundaries can be difficult to determine and navigate. You can’t see them and nor can anyone else. Setting boundaries, that is, knowing where to draw the line, is not easy and nor is it always cut and dry. Often we assume others know what we are thinking and feeling or we imagine they know our limits. We might think, for example, that our spouse should already know what is or is not acceptable.

The bottom line is that all healthy relationships need boundaries that are clearly communicated and consistently enforced.

There are positive benefits to having healthy boundaries. Here are 5 ways that having boundaries will enhance your life.

1. Boundaries Will Improve Your Relationships

No healthy relationship can thrive without clear boundaries.  These fence posts provide more stability and better communication in a relationship. Boundaries are, according to Dr. Howes PhD clinical psychologist, the place where “I end and you begin.”
Without clear boundaries, relationships function according to assumptions, misunderstandings and miscommunication and often fall into conflict. 

Some examples of healthy boundaries

  • Asking permission
  • Showing gratitude
  • respecting differing opinions, feelings

Unhealthy boundaries are:

  • Absent
  • controlling
  • vague

We can not automatically assume that the other person is aware of what our boundaries are. We need to communicate them and follow through with them to ensure that they are known and honoured. And having boundaries does not mean that we do not love the other person. In fact, having boundaries is a sign that we care enough about ourselves and the other person to let them know where we end and the other person begins.


2. Boundaries Give You Greater Control

When you are clear and assertive about what your boundaries are and reinforce them with assertive  statements such as saying “no”, you gain freedom to live life on your own terms and not those of others.

Setting limits also allows you to have control over your own emotional responses such as anger and resentment. Establishing clear boundaries and communicating them allows you to not fall into the trap of trying to meet the expectations of others or emotional manipulation.  Instead, you set the standards for yourself and refuse entrance without permission. Essentially, you are freeing up time and emotional energy to do what is important to you.

When you no longer feel the need to live up to the expectations and unnecessary obligations of others, you can be free to do things that you actually want to do and enjoy doing.

Let’s be clear – life without boundaries can be emotionally, mentally and physically draining.

3. Boundaries Give You Greater Peace of Mind 

Who doesn’t want to have more peace of mind? Who doesn’t want to feel free of other people”s expectations of how we should live our lives?

We spend a lot of our time meeting the needs and expectations of others, being both compliant and people pleasing and all too often, we don’t protect or take care of our own needs.  We end up feeling drained and resentful.

Peace of mind comes from being in control of what we can control and letting go of what we can’t control. It also comes from letting go of what does not belong to us.

When we stop allowing other people to control us, to determine how we should think, what we should do or how we should act we can begin to have more peace. Setting up and enforcing our fences of what is acceptable and what is not, what we will allow and what we will not prevents people from abusing us, protects us, defines who we are, and gives us a safe space to be ourselves.

It is truly freeing to know that other people no longer have any power over you

4. Boundaries Give You Greater Self Confidence

Setting healthy personal boundaries is the single best thing you can do to build your own self-confidence. Boundaries protect our minds, our emotions and our bodies – all of who we are. They prevent us form being controlled or manipulated by others.

A lack of personal boundaries or boundaries that are weak can leave you feeling vulnerable, fearful helpless to change your situation.

If you find yourself saying “Yes” far too much, going against your values, taking on too much responsibility, accommodating or making excuses for others or just not standing up for yourself, then you may to examine your own personal boundaries.

When you begin to set up boundaries for yourself, other people will begin to stand up and take notice. You will earn more respect and not less. Setting personal boundaries shows that you care for yourself enough to protect your dignity and integrity. Self confidence comes from knowing that you are true to yourself, that you are taking action to protect who you are and that you are in charge of you.

5. Setting Boundaries Will Help You to Be a Better Communicator

Two things are important when it comes to boundaries: identification and communication. Most of the time boundary infringement occurs because communication was either not present or it was ineffective / confusing. Identification of our needs and boundaries is the first step. the second step is communicating them. We need to be very clear and concise in the way that we communicate what we expect. We need to “I” statements to refer to what concerns us rather than “You”statements which can come across as aggressive.

When we become effective at stating our needs and limits assertively (not aggressively), clarifying follow through and consequences as well as our standards for accountability, people ultimately know where they stand with us and will respect us for this.

A good communicator is:

  • clear
  • concise
  • on topic
  • transparent
  • firm
  • consistent

When we practice stating, asserting, following through on our limits and expectations , we naturally will come across as someone who communicates well with others.

Tips for Healthy Boundaries

  1. Communicate thoughts and feelings honestly and respectfully

  2. Don’t assume the other person can guess what you are thinking or feeling.

  3. Take responsibility for your actions (don’t be quick to blame)

  4. Follow through with what you say. (no empty promises)

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Check out this blog post: 5 Common Sense Tips to Be Truly Confident