Setting Healthy Boundaries

Katie LairdPsychotherapy

Many of us have a hard time setting boundaries with others. We want to help those around us, feel a need to please, or don’t realize that we have a right to set boundaries. Personal boundaries are essential in order to protect ourselves and have healthy relationships.

Healthy boundaries are “guidelines, rules, or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe, and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them.”

What are signs that you need to set a boundary?

  • Listen to your body; you may have a physical reaction such as increased heart rate, sweating, tightness in your chest, stomach or throat.
  • Tune into your feelings; you may feel resentful, uncomfortable, hurt, annoyed, or angry.
  • You’re burned out.

Remind yourself of your rights with others and yourself. Some examples include:

  • I have a right to say no without feeling guilty.
  • I have a right to be treated with respect.
  • I have a right to make my needs as important as others.
  • I have a right to be accepting of my mistakes and failures.
  • I have a right not to meet others’ unreasonable expectations of me.

How to be Assertive & Use “I” Statements

I feel  __________ when ____________ because _____________. What I need is ______________.

“If someone sets boundaries with assertiveness, it feels firm but kind to others,” says Jenn Kennedy, a licensed marriage and family therapist.

“Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s okay. It’s not their journey. It’s yours. Embrace your freedom.” – Kristen Butler