Setting Healthy Boundaries

We all have boundaries, or limits that we establish for ourselves. Setting boundaries is the way we communicate what is okay and what is not okay in our relationships and friendships.

Knowing what your boundaries are and what you are comfortable with in your life is very important for your safety and your self-respect. If you know what you are okay with, then you know to speak your mind when you don’t want to engage in something or with someone that creates uncertainty.

You can assert your boundaries in a number of different ways. Here are a few examples:

Time –
You only have so much time in a day, and it is important to be mindful about how you spend your time. Assert a boundary with your time by saying "no" to things you don’t want or need to do, or by saying "yes" to things that you want to spend more time on.

Communication –
You have the right to be treated with respect. People in our lives may say or do hurtful things. Assert a boundary with communication by asking others not to use disrespectful language and to speak to you respectfully.

Personal items –
This includes money, clothes, electronic devices, or any property. State a boundary with your personal items by saying "no" when you are uncomfortable with giving or lending. You can also say "yes" when you are comfortable with giving or lending; however, other people should ask for your permission first.

Physical space –
Personal space means the space around you and includes physical touch. You have the right to ask people not to get too close to you. You may say "yes" or "no" to hugs or other forms of contact.

Physical intimacy –
It is important to determine your values when it comes to physical intimacy. You should assert and communicate boundaries in romantic relationships based on your values. You have the right to say "yes" or "no" to things, based on what you are comfortable with.

Personal information –
Especially in a time when information is constantly shared online, you have the right not to share things about yourself online or in person. You can determine if you will or will not answer questions that make you uncomfortable. Remember to be mindful about what you share. 

Social media –
It is your right to determine whether or not you use social media, and how often you use it. If you do use social media, you can assert a boundary about how others communicate with you on the internet. You also can state boundaries about regarding what you post or what others post about you.

Boundaries impact all areas of our lives. It is a personal property line that marks what we are or are not comfortable with. Remember, you have a right to say no. Meeting your needs will help you be effective and healthy in your friendships and relationships.

It is important to note that your boundaries may look different than other peoples' limits, and that is okay. Everyone has his or her own distinct boundaries. Your boundaries are not wrong, and it is up to you to figure out what they are. It is important to set and communicate boundaries with others in order to maintain healthy relationships.