What Are Personal Boundaries And Why It’s Important

Setting personal boundaries for yourself and with others is necessary. They allow you to establish guidelines for each interaction and build healthy relationships. A lack of personal boundaries is the culprit in many interpersonal conflict, stress and unhappiness in relationships. Whether it be your relationship with yourself or with others.

“According to some counselors, personal boundaries help to define an individual by outlining likes and dislikes, and setting the distances one allows others to approach. … They include physical, mental, psychological and spiritual boundaries, involving beliefs, emotions, intuitions and self-esteem.”


Setting boundaries with yourself

Before you set personal boundaries with others it is best to set them with yourself first. These boundaries act as a directive telling you how you will treat yourself. It gives you a framework for how you live your life. It can dictate the hours you spend scrolling on social media, how you speak to yourself, the way you care for your body, and how much time you invest in your self-care and personal growth. It tells you, this is the line I will not cross. These are the things that are important to and good for me, and these are not.

Examples of boundaries to set with yourself

  • Taking weekends off for learning and self-care
  • Turning off devices at least an hour before bed
  • Stopping work at least 2 hours before bed
  • Sticking to your budget
  • Drinking 1.5 L of water daily
  • Working out a minimum of 3 days a week for 20 minutes
  • Eat vegetables with at least one meal every day
  • Eating one fruit a day
  • Only buying items on your shopping list
  • Taking 2 days before pressing the check out button or purchasing an item that is not on your shopping list
  • Drinking a maximum of 2 cups of coffee a day and stopping 10 hours before bed time
  • Avoiding energy-draining persons
  • Not engaging in gossips or trash-talking someone behind their back
  • Sticking to the same bedtime and wake time every day
  • Doing laundry every Saturday morning

These may seem simple and ordinary but setting clear boundaries for yourself is good for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Personal boundaries in relationships

Establishing boundaries between yourself and others is important to protect yourself. You need to define a clear line between what is you and what is not you. If not, you open yourself up to being heavily influenced by another. Someone else can walk through your life and dictate your thoughts, feelings, actions and needs. Therefore, it is necessary to set clear guidelines on behaviours that are acceptable to you and what is not.

Important Boundaries To Set

Physical boundaries

Physical boundaries are the ones we are most familiar with and include your privacy, personal space and touch. These boundaries vary from person to person depending on the type of relationship it is. Examples of physical boundaries are

  • How close you want someone to be when interacting with you, i.e personal space
  • Where and how someone can touch you, i.e. do we hug, kiss or shake hands when greeting
  • Are you comfortable with public displays of affection?

Emotional boundaries

Emotional boundaries focus on your feelings and how comfortable you are with persons knowing about your life. Examples include

  • Understanding how you feel about persons being in your space, i.e. knowing where you live or visiting
  • Taking responsibility for your happiness
  • Not allowing another’s feeling to dictate your own
  • Telling your partner how to respond when you are upset

Intellectual boundaries

Intellectual boundaries govern our thoughts, beliefs and ideas. Examples include:

  • Being respectful of other people’s opinions
  • Not dismissing someone ideas without hearing it out
  • Not pushing your own beliefs onto others

Time boundaries

Time boundaries are about how you spend your time and where your attention and energy goes. Your time should reflect your values. Examples of this are:

  • Making time to spend with family if that is something important to you
  • Learning to say no to things that do not align with your goals
  • Limiting interaction with persons that drain your energy and do not bring value to your time

Relational boundaries

Relational boundaries refer to how you interact with others. This varies greatly on the type of relationships. The way you express yourself with family, co-workers or friends are dictated by your relational boundaries. Examples:

  • Expressing raw and unfiltered emotions to your partner
  • Only discussing work related or superficial topics with your colleagues
  • Talking about your hopes and dreams with close friends

Sexual boundaries

Sexual boundaries determine what behaviours are allowed around physical intimacy or sexual activity. Examples include:

  • How often you have sex
  • What types of sexual acts you are comfortable with
  • Are you open to more than one sexual partner at a time, i.e monogamy or polygamy or exclusive or causal
  • What types of comments or sex talk is allowed before, during or after sex

Financial boundaries

Financial boundaries help establish guidelines around money and your financial health and future. Examples include:

  • Do we have separate accounts, joint accounts or both?
  • How much money do we each save?
  • What type of investments do we make?
  • What’s our buffer budget?
  • How much are we entitled to spend on ourselves?

These are some of the major boundaries that we can establish in our relationships. As you can see personal boundaries are important rules in relationships. They allow us to take care of ourselves, provides structure in relationships and help us understand persons likes and dislikes. A great way to maintain your boundaries is by writing a personal mission statement to govern your interactions.

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Thank you for reading.


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