How to Set Healthy Boundaries

Written By Elizabeth Abbruzza MA, LMHC, CCPS-C

How to Set Healthy Boundaries 

Relationships can only be healthy when both people have the space to be themselves and maintain their personal integrity. Unfortunately, many find themselves in relationships, romantic and otherwise, with people who do not respect boundaries and feel entitled to have their needs met regardless of the other person’s. 

If you can relate, it is possible that you grew up in a household that was unsafe, unstable, or where there was a constant invasion of your personal boundaries. If you have a hard time setting healthy boundaries to create the life experience you wish to have, here are some ways you can begin to do so:

Identify Your Limits

You can’t set boundaries unless you discover where it is you personally stand. You’ll need to take a bit of time to recognize what you can and cannot tolerate. What makes you happy and what makes you feel uncomfortable and stressed? Remember, boundaries are about creating emotional safety for ourselves. Once you have made these discoveries can you move on to the next steps.

Be Assertive

Assertiveness means expressing your point of view in a way that is clear and direct while still respecting others. Express your boundaries assertively. While many people may quickly understand and adapt to your new boundaries others may push back in a way that requires you to restate your limits. 

Pay Attention to Your Feelings

People who have a hard time setting boundaries don’t often allow themselves to acknowledge their own feelings because they’re usually too busy worrying about everyone else’s. You’ll need to start reflecting how people make you feel in order to know whether your new boundaries are being crossed or not. When you’re with someone, make mental notes, or even jot down in a journal how that interaction made you feel. If, after spending time with someone, you feel anger or resentment, this is a sign that the person may be overstepping your boundaries. 


Make Self-Care a Priority

Put yourself and your needs first. This may feel strange and even somehow wrong if you’ve spent your entire life taking care of others. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings and get what you need to feel happy and well.


Speak with Someone

You may find setting boundaries to be quite difficult. In this case, it’s important to speak with a therapist that can help you discover where these feelings are coming from and how to change your thought patterns and behavior. If you’d like to explore therapy, please get in touch. We would be happy to help you on your journey toward self-care.


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