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The No BS Guide to Setting Healthy Boundaries in Real Life

Become a boundary-setting boss

How to draw your lines with confidence.

  • Be assertive. Assertive language is clear and non-negotiable, without blaming or threatening the receiver. Be assertive using "I statements."
  • Learn to say no. You can say no without an explanation and without providing any emotional labor to the person you’re saying it to.
  • Safeguard your spaces. For example, use the Do Not Disturb feature on your phone and other devices.

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The No BS Guide to Setting Healthy Boundaries in Real Life

The No BS Guide to Setting Healthy Boundaries in Real Life

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/set-boundaries

healthline.com

6

Key Ideas

Defining Boundaries

The word “boundary” can leave the impression of separation.

But boundaries are actually connecting points since they provide healthy rules for navigating relationships, intimate or professional.

The benefits of boundaries

  • Boundaries improve our relationships and self-esteem. They protect relationships from becoming unsafe.
  • Boundaries can be flexible. It’s good to think about them occasionally and reassess them.
  • Boundaries allow us to conserve our emotional energy. Without them, self-esteem and identity can be affected, and you can build resentment toward others.
  • Boundaries give us space to grow and be vulnerable. 

Determine your borders

Our boundaries are shaped by

  • our heritage or culture
  • the region we live in or come from
  • whether we’re introverted, extroverted, or somewhere in between
  • our life experiences
  • our family dynamics
Boundaries are a deeply personal choice and vary from person to person. You can investigate and define your boundaries with self-reflection.

Examine your rights and needs

  • Once you identify your rights and choose to believe in them, you’ll find honoring them easier. For example, I have a right to be treated with respect. 
  • Check-in with your body (heart rate, sweating, tightness in the chest, clenched fists) to understand what you can handle and where the boundary should be drawn.
  • Identify 10 important values. Then narrow that list to three. To understand if you have strong and healthy boundaries, reflect on how often those 3 are challenged.

Become a boundary-setting boss

How to draw your lines with confidence.

  • Be assertive. Assertive language is clear and non-negotiable, without blaming or threatening the receiver. Be assertive using "I statements."
  • Learn to say no. You can say no without an explanation and without providing any emotional labor to the person you’re saying it to.
  • Safeguard your spaces. For example, use the Do Not Disturb feature on your phone and other devices.

Other people’s boundaries

  • Watch for cues. Possible hints someone might want more space: avoiding eye contact, limited conversation response, turning away or sideways.
  • Be inclusive of neurodiverse behaviors. These are people who live with autism, are on the spectrum, or who have other developmental disabilities. Their social cues may be different from the norm.
  • Ask. You can inquire if a hug is OK or if you can ask a personal question.

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You Have A Boundary Issue If…
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Personal Boundaries

Having healthy personal boundaries means taking responsibility for your own actions and emotions, while NOT blaming others.

People with high self-esteem have strong personal boundaries. And practicing strong personal boundaries is one way to build self-esteem.

Poor Boundaries 

People who blame others for their own emotions and actions do so because they believe that if they constantly paint themselves as a victim, eventually someone will come to save them.

People who take the blame for other people’s emotions and actions are always looking to save someone.

Predictably, these two types of people are drawn strongly to one another, yet completely fail to meet each other's true need to feel loved. The real solution would be for both to take responsibility for their own problems.

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Learning to set healthy personal boundaries
  • Know that you have a right to personal boundaries.
  • Recognize that other people's needs and feelings are not more important than your own.
  • Learn to say no.
  • I...
Name your limits

You can’t set good boundaries if you’re unsure of where your limits are.

Identify what you can permit and accept and what makes you feel uncomfortable or stressed.

Tune into your feelings

There are two key feelings that are red flags that you are letting go of your boundaries.

  • Discomfort. Ask yourself what is causing the discomfort.
  • Resentment. Resentment usually comes from being taken advantage of or not appreciated.
Be direct

With some people, maintaining healthy boundaries doesn’t require a direct and clear-cut dialogue.

There are other times you might need to be frank, such as with those who have a different personality or cultural background.

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