Why Healthy Boundaries Are So Important
Have you ever been in a relationship or a situation where you let go of your own feelings and desires and failed to set boundaries?
What about when someone wants something from you that is different than what you want for yourself.
What do you do?
Being a mental health coach, this discussion comes up a lot in my line of work. And from my own experience in living in the cycle of generational trauma, i know that boundaries can be non existent.
And that affects everything in someones life even if they don’t know it.
What are boundaries?
Boundaries are the rules and limits that you set within relationships and there are actually 6 types of boundaries to discover which are:
- Physical boundaries- These boundaries refer to personal space and physical touch.
- Emotional boundaries- These boundaries refer to one’s feelings.
- Time boundaries- These boundaries refer to how a person uses their time.
- Sexual boundaries- These boundaries refer to the emotional, intellectual, and physical aspects of sexuality.
- Intellectual boundaries- These boundaries refer to thoughts and ideas.
- Material boundaries- These boundaries refer to money and possessions.
- Spiritual boundaries- These boundaries refer to religion and personal beliefs.
There are healthy and unhealthy aspects to each of these 6 boundaries which ultimately determines how we live our life. It’s normal for someone to have a mix of different boundary types, especially when it comes to different times, people, places, or settings.
For instance, i have very different, more relaxed boundaries with my husband than i do with other’s. And i have more firm boundaries with people that i don’t know very well.
That’s totally normal.
Now, let’s dive into what healthy boundaries look like and what it looks like when those boundaries are violated.
Healthy physical boundaries include an awareness of whats appropriate and what’s not. Physical boundaries may be violated if someone touches you when you don’t want them to, or if they invade your personal space.
Healthy intellectual boundaries include respect for someone else’s ideas, and an awareness of appropriate discussion. Intellectual boundaries are violated when someone dismisses or belittles another persons thoughts or ideas.
Healthy emotional boundaries include respecting your own as well as someone else’s feelings. Sharing your personal feelings with someone who feels safe and you know can be trusted. This boundary also includes the awareness of the capacity you and another person have for the emotional energy expended.
Healthy sexual boundaries involve mutual understanding and respect of limitations and desires between sexual partners. Sexual boundaries can be violated with unwanted sexual touch, pressure to engage in sexual activity, or even making sexual comments.
Healthy material boundaries involve setting limits on what you will share with who. Material boundaries are violated when someone steals or damages another persons possessions or when they pressure them to give or lend their possessions.
Healthy time boundaries include setting aside enough time for each facet in your life, (work, relationships, hobbies). Time boundaries are violated when another person demands too much of another’s time.
Healthy spiritual boundaries includes religion and personal beliefs, the respect and the right to live and express those beliefs in a way that you feel is best but is also respectful to others.
Look, boundaries can look different for different relationships. Don’t think you have to copycat someone else’s. What works for you doesn’t always work well for someone else.
However, when you know for sure something or someone doesn’t work for you, it’s important to value what’s important to you.
There has been many times in my life where i have been around someone who violated my personal boundaries.
Before i began my healing journey, I would accommodate someone else without considering how it would affect me first because that’s how i was raised to be and didn’t really know any different.
I had a desire to be liked by everyone which made me turn away from conflict as much as possible, so i never really spoke up for myself.
But deep inside i had so many emotions and feelings i was afraid to express. I disrespected myself by ignoring my own feelings. And to be honest, it made me really miserable.
As i’ve gotten older and further along in my healing journey i have realized just how much making other people happy all of the time and ignoring what makes me happy ruined that relationship with myself at such a young age.
I have come to realize that when we start to focus on what we can do to make other people happy rather than focusing on what we can do to make ourselves happy, we miss out on so much in our lives, hobbies, experiences, etc.
Which all starts with a lack of healthy boundaries.
Eventually, without them, we start to lose track of where we are going, where God intended for us to go, a sense of who we even are and what we even want.
Standing firm may sound scary at first, but there are many benefits it adds in your life and in your relationships.
They not only help decrease stress in your life, but they help set a clear expectation for other people which helps improve your relationship with yourself and others, your emotional health, and your self care/self control capabilities.
The Bible commands us to control ourselves as one of the fruits of the spirit, whereas our human nature desires to control others. God Himself created boundaries from the very beginning.
It takes a lot of courage to stand up for yourself and to set healthy boundaries in your relationships. But we have all been given, by faith, the strength to do so.
It doesn’t make you a bad person. But a lack of them makes having and keeping healthy relationships much more difficult.
Essentially, they protect us from those who have no self-control and those who wish to control us.
We were meant and created for relationship with one another, but we were not meant to please every single person. Sometimes having a firm boundary with someone is the most loving thing you can do for them.
We can still be aware of other people and respect their feelings and desires while still caring for our own.
Lastly, It’s OK.
You are allowed to say no without feeling guilty.
And you are allowed to ask for help when you need it.
It’s so important to take control and prioritize what is most important to you.
Healthy boundaries are not just important for every aspect of your life, they are also very normal, and very necessary.
Share this with someone who needs to know.
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”- Galatians 5:13