Personal boundaries are essential for healthy relationships. These limits are important, because they set the basic guidelines about how we want to be treated. Boundaries are the measure of self-esteem and they set the limits for acceptable behavior from those around us, determining whether they feel able to put us down, make fun, or take advantage of our good nature.
“Boundaries that often fail are those that include the words ‘always,’ ‘never’ or any absolute language,” said Bridget Levy, LCPC, a therapist who works with couples and directs business development at Urban Balance. Those boundaries are usually unrealistic and don’t last, she said. She shared these examples: “You can never” or “You must always.”
At times, we get that feeling often, and then it is time to draw the line and take decisions that will positively affect our life. Weak boundaries and not setting limits, usually leaves us vulnerable, making it easier for others to take us for granted or damage our personality.
A healthy self-respect will produce boundaries that show the people we deserve to be treated well. Also, this will protect us from exploitative relationships and help us to avoid getting too close to persons who don’t have their best interests.
In time, boundaries will update. It happens that the time that we give to others is much more limited because of new relationships and family. Clarifying the boundaries will help us to exchange the belief “I want to please others” to “I value my time and want to keep some for myself.”
We need to accept the fact that the people around us might not be with us along the way, because they were used to our old ways of dealing with things. It is a small price to pay, in my opinion, as relationships that are meant to be will grow stronger in time and will survive.
It’s important to be consistent with the new boundaries, and keep them simple. Staying calm at times is the best answer and we have to be responsible for our reactions, instead of blaming other people.
Strong, clear boundaries will achieve more respect in time. We get the chance to be ourselves to a greater extent asking for what we want and need without fear of judgment, helping us to grow healthy and long-lasting relationships.