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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.

The Better Boundaries Workbook

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

“The most comprehensive resource available to help people struggling with setting healthy boundaries, people pleasing, and assertive communication.” —Dr. Marni Feuerman

Sharon Martin, DSW, LCSW is a psychotherapist and author specializing in codependency recovery. For the past 25 years, she’s been helping people-pleasers, perfectionists, and adult children overcome self-doubt and shame, embrace their imperfections, and set boundaries. Dr. Martin writes the popular blog Conquering Codependency for Psychology Today and is the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism and The Better Boundaries Workbook.

3 thoughts on “6 Benefits of Setting Boundaries”

  1. Sharon : Great summary on boundaries and points on setting them for the purpose served for the me, myself and I not to be challenged to lose a me , myself and I .

    One point is boundaries set up new barriers from those who are looking to create blame to find a way called : Scapegoat to control others .
    It was a popular word in the 1950s while attending the school system . Times were cruel as many parents returning from WW2 and Korea had their own adjustments to make in many entities returning to normal life . Levelling the word “ Scapegoat “ was fairly common word applied and until many of us left home in the 1960s for college etc. it was great to know nobody so we all started out equal on the first day .

    Returning home at Thanksgiving one now was empowered to tell the entity to “ kiss off “ and it was the new view we took of ourselves as we had made new friends and were settling into new ways of life and living and getting 3 squares in the food hall just meeting new students like ourselves .

    Growing up with the Scapegoat horse collar could have ruined us and we gradually saw a new way to approach life and actually feel good about living and making our 8:00 AM classes.

    Just an observation from an aging senior Sharon.

  2. Thank you for all your advice Sharon.

    I am still not sure if I fell into a codependent roll with my last partner.

    However, I’d like clarity on one thing. They insisted that nobody knew that we were seeing each other and when that meant I felt uncomfortable and not sure how to behave in places where we met shared acquaintances, they then proposed that we should not be seen in public. Is this a boundary that they set or what is it?

    It was the final straw for me. It wasn’t something I was willing to concede. So is it that I could not honor their boundary?

    The reason I couldn’t accept this is because it challenged my trust and sense of security in the relationship. There were other behaviors I could not accept also such as my having to be available as and when they needed to respond to their constant messaging and requests to know what I was doing and how I was countless times a day. When I brought this up saying that I felt pressured etc. (my boundaries ?) they said they would stop contacting me. I had to make a special effort for them to reconnect.

    I did suffer intense anxiety in the short time that we were “getting to know each other”, but for me I was only and would only be seeing a very shallow part of them if we were not to be seen in public. And according to them, it was more than an “affair”. So was their assertion that we remain “in private” and not seen in public a boundary / limit put by them? And / or was my appeal for them to be less “invasory” as I put it, with regards messaging also a boundary? I have no idea.

    1. Yes, these are boundaries. And when your partner sets a non-negotiable boundary, you need to decide if you want to abide by it or end the relationship (as you did). Healthy relationships involve compromise. So, we don’t want to make most of our boundaries non-negotiable. If we do, it becomes hard to maintain relationships. Lots of things in a relationship can be negotiated so both people get their needs met. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have any non-negotiable boundaries. You should know what you are unwilling to compromise on going into a relationship (i.e. infidelity, drug use, etc.).
      If you’re able to get a copy of my book “The Better Boundaries Workbook”, it will probably help you sort this out and provide more clarity.


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