8 Important Reasons Why You Need To Set Boundaries With Yourself And Others

It’s safe to say that many of us have been in a situation or two throughout our lives where we didn’t have appropriately firm boundaries in place. We’ve all experienced circumstances in which boundaries were too lax, too rigid, or completely non-existent.

What are boundaries?

Depending on the situation, boundaries are invisible or physical barriers we set in place to protect ourselves and others.

This includes boundaries we establish in conversations, relationships, and physical and emotional interactions.

If you are attempting to safeguard yourself against an emotional conversation with someone, you may put a time limit on the conversation as a boundary.

If you find yourself in a situation where someone is touching you when you don’t want to be touched, you may have to confront them and inform them that they can no longer give you hugs or show you physical affection, in order to put you more at ease.

These are both examples of boundaries that could be set in order to afford comfort for yourself in a given situation.

There are several different types of boundaries, including physical boundaries, mental boundaries, emotional boundaries, and sexual boundaries. Boundaries need to be set accordingly, based on each respective situation.

Why is it difficult to set boundaries?

Boundaries are imperative to any and all relationships, but they’re often uncomfortable to put in place.

Setting boundaries can be difficult for some individuals because it can create discomfort for other people when limitations and barriers are placed on certain things.

When faced with possible controversy and discourse, it’s difficult to follow through with constructing boundaries because you don’t want to disgruntle the people around you.

However, this should not be a point of contention for you.

When contemplating your boundaries, deciding whether or not to set them, and figuring how to go about putting them in place, you must consider your own best interest above all else.

Being respectful of others and their needs is important; there is no question that you must respect the boundaries others put in place. However, when setting your own boundaries, you should be less concerned with how your boundaries will affect others and more concerned with how they will improve your wellbeing.

Why do we need to set boundaries?

There is a multitude of reasons why we need to set boundaries, and they vary depending on the situation and circumstance. However, there are a couple of prominent reasons why boundaries are necessary.

We set boundaries in order to protect ourselves and others, cultivate an atmosphere of respect and tolerance, and inform others of how to properly treat us.

Boundaries can often be difficult to establish, but they are absolutely imperative.

Here are 8 important reasons why you need to set boundaries with yourself and others. 

1. You need to take care of your needs

Looking out for yourself is something that is in your hands; it is highly unlikely that other people will go out of their way to protect you.

Setting boundaries in place is a way of caring for yourself and showing yourself that your needs matter. If you’re in a situation that unfolds and it becomes clear that you need to set boundaries, listen to yourself and do it.

If you need to limit your time on social media for your mental health, do it. If you need to distance yourself from an old friend because they’ve become toxic, do it. Look at what it is you need and implement boundaries that are aligned with those needs.

2. You need to protect your time

Without boundaries, your time can be taken advantage of. Your time is your own; you decide how it should be spent. Without boundaries in place, this gives others the opportunity to dominate your time when it should be in your control.

We all know that person who talks and talks, not picking up hints that the conversation should be coming to a close. Boundaries often need to be set with this person to limit conversations, keeping them concise and to the point to respect your time.

In a situation like this, the other person may perceive this as hurtful, but you have to hold strong to the boundaries you set because they’re in place for your own best interest. Your time is valuable and should be treated as such.

3. You could end up in a situation you don’t want to be in

Without appropriate boundaries in place, you could easily find yourself in a situation that you don’t want to be in.

If you have a friend you no longer want to spend time with and they invite you to lunch, without proper boundaries, you could find yourself sitting in a restaurant with the friend wondering how you got roped into doing something you didn’t want to do.

You must establish boundaries in order to prevent uncomfortable situations like this. Boundaries allow you to decide how often and for how long you interact with people, where you spend your time, and how you spend your time, affording you more control over your situations.

4. Others will take advantage of you

Healthy boundaries give you more control over the interactions you have with other people, the way you choose to spend your time, and the situations you find yourself in.

Without boundaries, this opens the door for other people to take advantage of you, finding ways to get you to do things for them you don’t necessarily want to do, give them something you don’t want to give them, and spend time with people you don’t want to spend time with.

Boundaries give you the opportunity to say “no.” They are barriers built up to protect you from the intentions of others that may be less than pure, even if their intentions aren’t necessarily bad.

Boundaries make you stronger and more certain of your response to others when you tell them you don’t want to do something. Give yourself the confidence to say no by building strong boundaries.

5. Boundaries are healthy

While there is such thing as boundaries that are too strict and rigid, boundaries are healthy and necessary for the most part.

You need to protect yourself in all areas of your life, emotionally, mentally, physically, and sexually, and boundaries allow you to do just that.

They allow you to live your life with less discomfort, less stress, less fear, and less anxiety. They are physical or imagined walls that limit interactions, prevent unwanted touching, and securely protect your mental wellbeing.

6. Boundaries keep you safe

Physical boundaries literally keep you safe and protect you from people and things you don’t want to engage with.

If you tell someone you’re dating you want to hold off on having sex, this safeguards your body and heart. If you inform a friend that you don’t feel comfortable with hugs, this allows you to safely interact with the friend without fear of being touched. If you don’t allow yourself to be around people with explosive anger, this keeps you out of the crossfire.

Boundaries are measures that protect you from danger and allow you to live your life with a feeling of safety and security. They must be implemented in order to keep you safe.

7. Boundaries protect other people

Not only do boundaries protect you, but they also protect other people.

If you know you are highly emotional but don’t want to make someone else uncomfortable by sharing your feelings, you don’t have to have a conversation with them at that moment, shielding them from any emotions you don’t want to convey.

If you know you’re not the best driver or have high driving anxiety, preventing other people from riding in the car with you keeps them safe from any unforeseen accidents or panic that could arise.

Healthy boundaries are respectful of other people’s wellbeing just as much as your own, and you must be willing to protect other people as well by putting boundaries in place.

8. You are your number one priority 

Above all else, you must look out for yourself. You are your number one priority, and while boundaries can be set to protect other people, that must come second to implementing boundaries that protect your own best interests.

You must look out for yourself. You must put boundaries in place that will protect you, keep you safe, and leave you feeling secure and content.

Always take care of yourself first. We all know the oxygen mask rule on an airplane; put your mask on before assisting someone else. Construct your own boundaries before implementing some for other people.

With these 8 imperative reasons, we now know the importance of building and implementing boundaries in order to protect ourselves and others. Find what works for you, try it out, and adjust as necessary.

Healthy boundaries will not only improve your quality of life, but they will also support a strong mental and physical wellbeing. Take care of yourself and construct some boundaries today.

boundary line sign
Photo by Erin Larson on Unsplash
Eden is a 26-year-old Aries who loves learning and exploring mental health, self-love, self-care, and eating disorder recovery.

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