Many people don’t have healthy boundaries in relationships, and it can be both harmful to the other person as well as yourself.
Healthy boundaries are defined by the following:
- Being able to say no when you need to
- Having an understanding of what is okay with others and not okay with them
- Respecting another’s feelings even if they are different than your own
- Taking responsibility for your own actions and reactions in a relationship while also holding others accountable for theirs
It is helpful to your personal mental health to set healthy boundaries. Setting healthy boundaries will help you enjoy all aspects of life without constantly worrying about how someone else might feel or react.
What is a healthy boundary in a relationship?
A healthy boundary is any limit you make for yourself, regardless of how it affects anyone else in the relationship. If you don’t want to do something and someone continues to push you to do it, this person is violating your boundaries.You can set personal boundaries in any situation, whether it be a request to spend time with friends, a decision about moving in together, or even something as simple as the way you choose to get from point A to point B.
What are the benefits of setting healthy boundaries?
The benefits of setting healthy boundaries are: increased self-esteem and confidence, improved mental health and self care, healthy relationships, allowing yourself room for growth outside of relationships so that you don’t get taken advantage of, and allowing yourself the freedom to make new choices and experience new things in life without always looking back at what could have been.
One of the biggest benefits to having healthy boundaries is that you are less emotionally impacted by other people’s actions or feelings. You aren’t envious when others succeed; you can find happiness in the success of others because you are proud of your own accomplishments, your feelings are stable regardless of what is occurring in the emotions of others. You won’t feel guilty when seeing others do something that you don’t want to do, whether it be having a drink with friends or attending a dinner party. You can live your life freely and not worry about anyone else living theirs.
What are some signs that you lack healthy boundaries?
If you have trouble doing or saying the following, chances are that you do not have healthy boundaries in your relationship:
- You feel guilty about being happy whenever a friend gets hurt
- You go out of your way for others even when it is inconvenient for you to do so
- You never disagree with your partner
- You say “yes” to things without knowing how you will actually follow through
- You never say no when someone asks for something from you
- When other people hurt your feelings, you take it personally and feel like the world is out to get you. You bring it upon yourself instead of looking at what might have caused the issue with the other person.
- You don’t have any friends that you can spend time with without your partner being there as well
- You hide things from your partner because they will not approve of it (i.e. a different interest outside the relationship, etc.)
- If you find yourself saying yes to everything, it might be time to take a step back and evaluate your relationship.
Setting healthy boundaries can help your partner develop better boundaries
Having healthy boundaries also means that you are able to help a partner develop their own boundaries. You can show them how to stand up for themselves, and also how to respect your feelings as well as theirs. This is important because it allows the relationship to grow stronger in more ways than one. It also allows both people in the relationship to be happy and fulfilled with each other.
Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Own Boundaries
Step 1: Take an honest look at your current boundaries. Are you 100% comfortable with how they are now? Confident in what you stand for? If not, it’s time to make a change.
Step 2: Set boundaries that are sustainable for the long-term. This means no “shoulding” on yourself. Saying “I should have said no” is just beating yourself down with guilt. Instead, say to yourself “Next time I will say no when the opportunity presents itself” or “This experience taught me that I need to set clearer boundaries in the future.”
Step 3: Make an effort to stand up for your boundaries. You don’t have to fight anyone, but if you’re out with friends and someone puts a drink in front of you without asking about your preferences, borrows something without asking before they take it, or ignores your values and beliefs, it’s okay to kindly set your own boundary.
Step 4: Remember–if someone else reacts negatively when you express your boundary, the relationship must change. If your partner is upset over something you said, encourage them to recognize the difference in your needs and wants, rather than getting defensive. Boundaries don’t have to be considered “wrong” if they are set from an honest place, and you don’t need to apologize for setting them. If this dynamic occurs often in your relationship, you may need to consider seeking out couple’s therapy to help you find a way to communicate with your partner in a more positive way.
Even the healthiest of relationships need to change and adapt. Your partner may not always be able to see how their actions affect you. They can only understand your boundaries if you show them how by speaking up when you need to. It may be difficult in the moment, but you will both reap the rewards later when your partner learns to respect your needs and wants as much as they respect their own.
Boundaries for a Happy Life
Healthy boundaries can help you lead a happy life by protecting yourself from people who cause you pain. If someone is trying to hurt you or control your actions, healthy boundaries will stop them. By asking for what you need and letting others know what doesn’t work for you, you can live a life filled with peace of mind and true happiness.