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6 Benefits of Setting Boundaries

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Setting boundaries is hard work! You may be wondering if they’re really worth the effort.

How are boundaries going to make my life better?

What are the benefits of setting boundaries? 

I can’t promise that setting boundaries will be easy. But I want to share six benefits of setting boundaries. I hope that when you see just how much better your life can be with boundaries, you’ll feel more motivated; you’ll persevere and continue to set and enforce the boundaries you need. 

What are boundaries?

Boundaries are rules or guidelines that tell others how we want to be treated — what’s acceptable and what isn’t. A boundary can be a request for someone to change their behavior (for example, Please don’t yell at me). Or a boundary can be something you do to protect yourself (for example, leaving the room or blocking a phone number).

Relationships work best when we’re clear about our expectations and needs. We can show ourselves and others respect by setting clear, consistent boundaries.

Benefits of Setting Boundaries

6 benefits of setting boundaries are:

1. More compassion.

According to Brene Brown, Ph.D., people with strong boundaries are the most compassionate. Does that surprise you? Often people think that setting boundaries is mean or wrong. You may feel guilty when you set boundaries because you think you don’t have a right to ask for what you want or need. 

Boundaries aren’t mean or wrong. It’s kind and respectful to tell people what’s okay and what’s not okay with you. This sets clear expectations.

Watch this five minute video of Dr. Brown explaining more about the connection between boundaries and compassion.

2. Greater assertiveness.

Boundaries are a way of asserting your needs. In order to set boundaries, you need to pay attention to how you’re feeling and what you need. You can then assertively ask others to treat you in ways that meet your needs. Setting boundaries will help you develop assertiveness skills that will help you in all aspects of your life. 

Learn more in The Assertiveness Guide for Women by Dr. Julie Hanks.

3. Your needs are met.

We all have emotional and physical needs and we all deserve to have our needs met (some we meet ourselves and some are met in relationships). When you speak up and ask for what you need, you’re much more likely to get it!

4. Less anger and resentment. 

Think about what happens without boundaries. We overcommit. We overspend. We do things that conflict with our values. We spend precious time on things that aren’t important to us. We’re mistreated. And as a result, we end up angry and resentful. But when we set limits, speak up for ourselves, and communicate our needs and expectations clearly, we’re less likely to feel angry or resentful.

5. Feeling of peace and safety.

Boundaries protect us. They protect us from physical and emotional harm. This includes physical violence, unwanted touch, verbal abuse, and manipulation.

Boundaries also provide emotional freedom from self-criticism and second-guessing yourself. When I don’t set boundaries, I get stuck in shame and self-doubt. I criticize myself for not asking for respect and allowing others to mistreat me. In contrast, when I set boundaries, I feel empowered and safe.

6. Time and energy to do things that nourish and bring joy to your body, mind, and spirit.

And, finally, when you say “No” to things you don’t want to do and people who drag you down, you can say “Yes” to spending time with people who fill you up emotionally, activities that you’re interested in and enjoy, and to a happier, healthier self.

These six benefits of setting boundaries are just the beginning. Boundaries can improve your life in many other ways. See the image below for more. 

Benefits of Setting Healthy Boundaries by Sharon Martin, LCSW

Read more about setting boundaries

©2016 Sharon Martin. All rights reserved.

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The Better Boundaries Workbook

Your step-by-step guide to setting boundaries in all areas of your life.

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Sharon Martin is a psychotherapist, writer, speaker, and media contributor on emotional health and relationships. She specializes in helping people uncover their inherent worth and learn to accept themselves -- imperfections and all! Sharon writes a popular blog called Conquering Codependency for Psychology Today and is the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism: Evidence-Based Skills to Help You Let Go of Self-Criticism, Build Self-Esteem, and Find Balance and The Better Boundaries Workbook.

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