What are Boundaries?
By Stephanie Barbee | Jan 2, 2023
The word ‘boundaries’ was easily one of the buzzwords of 2022. Many people believe boundaries are about building walls to keep people out. That’s not the most helpful way to look at it. It’s also important to note there are many reasons why individuals don’t understand or enforce boundaries, including not having the ability due to safety reasons and feeling incapable of dealing with the response to boundaries. Today, we’re going to look at what boundaries are to help you be successful at setting (and maintaining) boundaries.
Healthy boundaries help protect important parts of yourself. This can be your self-esteem, your privacy, or your choices. Boundaries can also be about protecting your emotions or beliefs. Boundaries are expressed through honoring your needs without judging other people’s choices or behaviors. They are intended to help you stay more focused on your happiness and be able to live with a greater sense of control.
Having healthy boundaries means not allowing others to define you. It means making self-care a priority and having high levels of self-respect and self-worth. Having healthy boundaries means having an understanding that while you can’t change people, you can change how you deal with people. Do your boundaries meet these needs currently?
How do you know if you are ready to be effective at setting boundaries? Consider this:
· Can you define where you end, and others begin?
· Can you separate your needs and feelings from others?
· Are you able to respect other people’s boundaries and needs?
· Are you able to take responsibility for how you allow others to treat you?
If you have trouble with these questions, consider them further or discuss them with your therapist or trusted support system. Once you have a clearer understanding of what boundaries are (and are not), you can be more successful at creating boundaries that last and help you achieve your goals for yourself and your life.
Boundaries are not a bad thing, and they don’t have to be harsh or separate us from the things and people we love. If you grew up without models, boundaries can be silly, difficult, or seem unnecessary. Some people are fine with that. For those who aren’t, I hope this article helped you gain some clarity. If you’d like more on processes for setting boundaries, let us know in the comments.
About The Author
Stephanie Barbee is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Missouri. She serves primarily Black Queer people who seek to understand their identities, overcome traumatic experiences, or explore how to move through a world that sees them as invisible. She is also a speaker, trainer, and consultant. Link: https://www.cliniciansofcolor.org/clinicians/spectrum-of-healing-llc/