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Establishing Healthy Boundaries: Navigating the Balance for Strong Connections

Updated: Sep 10, 2023



image of a brick wall with doodles of hearts, stars, clouds, and smiley faces with the blog post title "Establishing Healthy Boundaries: Navigating the Balance for Strong Connections"

I thought I was good at setting boundaries for myself. I was a stone cold, bricked up fortress most of my life. Guarded. But I’ve learned that there is a big difference between establishing healthy boundaries and just building walls. Building walls is a defense mechanism, an exaggerated protection against pain, fear, rejection, or any other negative feeling or experience a person may go through. Walls are rigid and limiting. Healthy boundaries, however, are based on openness, expression, and individuality. I’m in no means a pro at it – yet! – but I’m actively learning, so let’s explore together:


Why are healthy boundaries important?

Having healthy boundaries in place is a foundational method self-preservation and protection. It’s a great way to advocate for yourself, as it allows you an easy way to have prepared statements, responses, and consequences to different situations. Healthy boundaries can assist with preventing burn out, preventing that panicky feeling of overwhelm, and allow you a more clear headed focus on your priorities. It can reduce outside influence on your thoughts, opinions, doubts, etc. and as a result of all those things, it is a key way to reduce your stress levels.


Where can you create healthy boundaries?

Literally anywhere. But the most common will be in your employment, with family, and with your significant other. So what does that look like?

Work: If you’re a small business owner, self employed, or work a mobile position that allows you to work from home, it’s very important to still ensure that you are sticking to work hours and non-work hours. Know when you will not be taking on any work activities, know when to say that you need to step away, and know when to express that you will be focusing on something else, such as your family, for a time. Go radio silent on work communication when you are not “on the clock”, know how work relationships will be maintained and nurtured to avoid crossing any professional lines that you set for yourself.

Interpersonal: This is the hardest for most people. Setting boundaries with family and partners can be hard and scary. These boundaries can be anything from physical space (such as “When I get home from work I need 20 minutes to myself to decompress and then we can get into the house routine.”), to topics that are off limits (such as avoiding controversial topics that you know you don’t agree on), to how much time you give them (such as time frames for visits in your home or how often you will take calls), to just saying no.

We even need to set healthy boundaries with our children and our own parents. Is it awkward? Sometimes. But it’s absolutely necessary.

How do you set healthy boundaries?

First, you need to know where your boundaries are drawn. Where and what is the line that upon being crossed will trigger a negative emotion or response from you, and why. Know the ins and outs of your boundaries, and then find the most accurate but simplest words to explain those boundaries to someone else. And here’s the key: actually explain them to someone else. For healthy boundaries to be effective, it takes a lot of open, honest, and calm communication with the persons you are setting these boundaries with. Be firm, be kind, be realistic, and be respectful of others’ boundaries.



Expand and learn more with these PDF worksheets from positivepsychology.com:

*This worksheet https://www.uky.edu/hr/sites/www.uky.edu.hr/files/wellness/images/Conf14_Boundaries.pdf from positivepsychology.com has more professional and detailed tips for how to set healthy boundaries.

*If you’d like to help your children understand and implement health boundaries, check out this worksheet https://www.edutopia.org/sites/default/files/resources/stw-glenview-healthy-boundaries.pdf





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