Guidelines for Setting Healthy Boundaries

Updated: Feb 1

Healthy boundaries are one of the most effective ways to balance social relationships and improve your happiness.

Boundaries are a set of social rules that you create and enforce for yourself and the people in your life. While society sets a baseline of social rules for the group, there is a lot of variation between individuals within that group.


You and only you decide where to draw the line in your relationships.


It is up to you to set and enforce boundaries in your relationships that protect your happiness.


Healthy Boundaries are a Sign of Emotionally Healthy People

Asserting yourself and correcting someone else’s behavior might feel like you are being mean. The negative reaction from the receiving individual might even reinforce that thought. But the truth is in the intention (and a little bit in the delivery). Correcting someone’s behavior to shame them is mean. Correcting someone's behavior to establish or reinforce a boundary is healthy.


Healthy Boundaries are a Sign of Generosity Not Selfishness

When we say no to things, it often feels like we are being selfish with our time. Modern society likes to push the idea that giving your time to your community is your civic duty. And, while it is important to give when you can, the most generous thing that you can do set boundaries for when and how you give your time to others so that you do not spread yourself too thin.


Boundaries Help Others Grow, Too.

Healthy boundaries do a lot of good for you, but they are sneaky good for others too. By drawing awareness to certain behaviors, you allow others the opportunity to learn and grow from their behavior patterns.



Encourage More Positivity In Your Life

You might think that setting boundaries are all about getting rid of the bad behaviors in your life. But healthy boundaries can be about encouraging good behaviors also. Think of it as you telling others around you how you want to be treated so that you receive more of the good and less of the bad.


Become More Productive By Doing Less

Setting healthy boundaries and saying no more often will make you a more effective and productive person. With less static in your life you will be able to focus more clearly on the things that you choose to do. There is also a level of empowerment that comes from being the one choosing what you are doing that will serve as additional motivation.


Practice Setting Boundaries and Stick With It

Setting and enforcing boundaries can be quite awkward for someone who is not comfortable with it. Do it anyway. With practice, you will become more confident in what boundaries you want to enforce and that confidence will make it easier to assert yourself to others.


Benefits of Healthy Boundaries

Setting healthy boundaries serves your essential need for safety and stability by protecting you from the bad behavior of others in your circle. Boundaries protect your mental and physical well-being by letting everyone around you know what you will and will not accept.


In addition to happiness from fulfilling your sense of safety, boundaries will:

  • Lower stress and anxiety levels.

  • Give you a sense of contributing to others well being.

  • Gain respect from others.

  • Encourage communication.

  • Promote honesty in your relationships.

  • Increase your self-esteem and confidence.


The Takeaway on Setting and Enforcing Healthy Boundaries

Setting and enforcing boundaries can be awkward and uncomfortable. Many of us are naturally inclined to avoid confrontation and as a result, tend to avoid exercising our right to set and enforce boundaries with others in our lives. This is a mistake. As we allow others to overstep, it undermines our self-esteem and leads to unhappiness by taking our power away.

Healthy boundaries are a necessary component of securing our physical and emotional safety and are therefore essential to our happiness.


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