What are Healthy Personal Boundaries?

It is necessary, even vital, to set standards for your life and the people you allow in it.
Mandy Hale
Girl setting a personal boundary
No Means No

Personal boundaries refer to limits that you put in place that define what you are willing to do, accept, or tolerate. Boundaries are designed to protect your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being in a relationship. Relationships can thrive only when boundaries are practiced consistently. This post will identify the different types of personal boundaries needed to keep your relationships running smoothly.


Before we can set personal boundaries, we have to know our self because boundaries are about us and for us. Setting healthy limits starts by knowing what you need and taking responsibility for it. Establishing what your boundaries are can help you decide what to do next in a situation. For instance, if someone mistreats you, how are you going to take care of yourself?


To create a healthy personal boundary, you need to know your responsibility and what it isn’t in relationships. You are responsible for your thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and actions in any situation. Boundaries are NOT about controlling another person.


Before setting a boundary, you need to know what you want or need; otherwise, you won’t know what to ask. Most people get stuck here because they assume that getting their needs met solely depends on another person. That is not healthy. Getting your needs met is your responsibility. Realize that the other person has every right to say no in response to a request. Accepting the “no” is part of having healthy boundaries.


Remember that you have options when it comes to getting your needs met. Knowing that you have more than one option is empowering because you aren’t dependent on anyone, place, or thing to meet your needs, but that is a topic for another post.


Let’s explore the different types of personal boundaries that keep our relationships healthy.


Physical Boundaries


Physical boundaries include:

Personal space

Touching

• WHO can touch you

• HOW they touch you

• WHERE they touch you

• WHEN they touch you

Privacy


Do you give a handshake or a hug – to whom and when? If you don’t want to be touched on certain parts of your body, or at a specific time or in a social context, that should be respected.


Emotional Boundaries


Emotional boundaries help us deal with our feeling in appropriate ways. Your feelings should not depend on other people’s thoughts, feelings, or moods. Emotional boundaries keep us from taking on the emotions of others.


These boundaries protect you from feeling guilty for someone else’s negative feelings or problems and taking others’ comments personally. Healthy emotional boundaries require clear internal boundaries by knowing your emotions and your responsibilities to yourself and others.


If you become highly emotional, argumentative, or defensive, you may have weak emotional boundaries.


Sexual Boundaries


Sexual boundaries refer to your expectations around physical intimacy. What is and isn’t okay with you sexually. They protect your comfort level with sexual touch and activity – what, where, when, and with whom.


Sexual boundaries include things like frequency, sexual comments, and unwanted sexual touch. If you were sexually abused in the past, and you are triggered during individual acts, a sexual boundary is needed.


Intellectual Boundaries


Freedom to have your thoughts, values, beliefs, and opinions are intellectual boundaries. These boundaries also enable us to reject ideas and opinions being forced on us contrary to our beliefs and values.


Can you listen with an open mind to someone else’s opinion without becoming ruffled? Can you agree to disagree with someone?


Financial Boundaries


Financial boundaries are all about money. Having different rules and agendas related to where and how you spend your money can cause a great deal of strain in romantic relationships. If you feel as though you are often fighting about money, financial boundaries are probably needed.


Spiritual Boundaries


Spiritual boundaries are about our belief in God and how we fit into the big scheme of things. Spiritual boundaries allow us to define our relationship and experiences with God/Creator or a Higher Power.


Material Boundaries


Material boundaries are about your possessions and time. Material boundaries include:

• What you feel comfortable lending

• The care of your belongings.

• Limits on time (your time is valuable)

• Limits on favors/services/labor


Having personal boundaries isn’t selfish; it is self-love and taking care of your needs. People can have firm boundaries in some areas and weak boundaries in others.


Healthy boundary setting is a process. By identifying where you’re feeling weak or depleted precisely in your life, you are better equipped for designing a plan for setting a boundary and exerting your control.


Personal boundaries help your relationships function effectively. Knowing and respecting your limits and needs can improve your relationships and keep them healthy and strong.


Which type or types of personal boundaries do you need to strengthen?

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