Are There Healthy Boundaries?

By: Elizabeth Clements

We often feel guilty or rude when we cannot meet others’ demands and end up saying yes even though we know the added situation or event will cause us more stress. Sometimes we take other peoples’ feelings as priority over our own because we do not want to be a reason the other person is struggling. These are examples of operating without personal boundaries. The word boundary sounds negative, like a wall or barrier a person must break though, however, establishing limits for yourself is healthy.  

Boundaries support positive mental growth. Allowing yourself to say no is a healthy boundary. Life can be hectic and not biting off more than we can chew helps reduce stress and anxiety. If you are a person who always says yes to others, this may be a difficult task to achieve, however, operating within our limits allows us to establish an understanding of what we are capable of and when that boundary gets pushed too far. It is healthy to maintain emotional and physical boundaries. For example, if there is a person in your life that drains you emotionally, try limiting the amount of time you spend with them, or be sure that you have alone time to be able to recharge after the encounter. One boundary I safeguard is my bedtime. Sleep is important to me so those who are present in my life know that after a certain time in the evening, I am unavailable. This would be an example of a physical boundary as my bedtime helps improve my physical and psychological well-being.  

Setting healthy boundaries is about paying attention to your needs. This might sound selfish; however, you cannot pour from an empty glass. Each person is unique, so not everyone will share the same values that they shape their boundaries around. If boundary setting is an area in your life that you would like to explore, please reach out to Samaritan Counseling, Michigan City Indiana (219.879.3283), and connect with a professional.