Setting Personal Boundaries To Protect Your Mental Health

What does a healthy boundary look like? 

Personal boundaries can be of three types depending on how strictly it is implemented. What type of boundary you set is highly influenced by the context. 

A person who always keeps others at a distance (whether emotionally, physically, or otherwise) is said to have rigid boundaries. 

Alternatively, someone who tends to get too involved with others has porous boundaries. A healthy boundary is characterized by a balance of both. 

A healthy boundary is: 

  • Valuing one’s own opinions.
  • Not sacrificing one’s own needs and opinions for others.  
  • Sharing personal information in an appropriate way (not over or under sharing personal information).
  • Knowing which personal information to give away and which not to give away.
  • Trusting people at a justified pace; not too soon, not too late. 
  • Having a clear idea about one’s needs, and can assertively communicating them.
  • Accepting when others say “no” to them.
  • Being able to say “no” when something is beyond your capacity. 
  • Not letting other people’s behaviour and words control your reactions.

A healthy boundary helps you to:

  • Have a healthy self esteem and a strong sense of self respect, which would otherwise be depleted if not for a healthy boundary.
  • Gradually build a trusting and mutually understanding relationship with another individual. This ensures that the relationship is based on strong foundations.
  • Protect physical and emotional space from being intruded.
  • Have a shared responsibility and meaningful power division in a relationship.
  • Be assertive by confidently and truthfully saying “yes” or “no” when absolutely necessary and also easily accept a ‘no’ from others.
  • Retain a true sense of self – that you have needs, experiences, thoughts and feelings discrete from others.
  • Not be overwhelmed or affected by the behaviours and words of others.
  • Empower yourself to make healthy choices and take responsibility for yourself.

 

Remember you are never responsible for the reactions you generate from other people for defining your boundaries. You are only responsible for respectfully communicating it to others.

Initially you might have feelings of selfishness, guilt and embarrassment associated with boundary setting. But every individual has the right to self-care and a significant part of it starts with defining a healthy boundary for yourself. 

Setting boundaries take time and practice. Do not let others define our personal boundary. Once you have set the boundary for yourself, be unapologetic about implementing them otherwise you end up sending mixed signals to people. And you do not want that.


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Shreyasi Debnath
An editor and writer keeping keen interest in painting, creative writing and reading. I did my Masters in Clinical and Counselling Psychology and have been a counselling psychologist at a primary school for the past 1 year. I love doing absolutely anything that mends a mind and soothes a soul. Most often than not, I ponder over to come up with poems. A wandering soul in search for meaning.
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