By Shannon Del Prince
Boundaries are essential in life to keep our bodies and minds protected from harm. Without realizing it, most people live their life with many boundaries they have set for themselves. For example, we don’t typically cross the street without looking both ways for cars—that’s a boundary we have automatically set for ourselves to stay safe. The boundaries we set in life define how we treat ourselves—along with how we allow others to treat us.
Setting boundaries can change your life by giving you the space and structure you need to thrive. Whether you need to reinforce the boundaries for yourself or for the people in your life, it’s important to check in to make sure your boundaries are being respected.
Setting Boundaries With Yourself
If you don’t set boundaries for yourself, your life would be chaos. When seeking personal growth and positive life changes, setting clear boundaries for yourself can help you make progress to your goals. Refusing to respect the boundaries you set for yourself can lead to a stagnant situation. Creating boundaries for yourself and living your life according to these boundaries can help you thrive emotionally, mentally, and physically.
Setting Boundaries With Others
We can’t control the actions of other people, but to an extent, we can control the treatment we are willing to accept from others. If someone in your life—for example: a coworker, family member, friend, a gymmate, or neighbor—is treating you in a way that you don’t want to be treated, you can set a boundary with this person to let them know that treatment isn’t acceptable. Setting boundaries with people in our lives can help us regulate our relationships in a healthy manner.
Why Are Boundaries Important?
Boundaries are important so we can feel a sense of control over our well-being and emotional state. Without boundaries, our lives would be a mess—lacking in structure and ways to responsibly regulate our interactions with the world around us. Setting boundaries in our lives gives us a chance to have a say in how we are treated and how we treat ourselves. Any relationship, whether with yourself or with someone else, can benefit from having clear boundaries set.
How to Set Clear Boundaries
You can’t set boundaries without first setting an expectation. In order to decide which boundaries need to be set up in a relationship, it’s important to decide what you are expecting in this relationship with yourself or another person. Once you decide upon expectations, you can set boundaries that communicate these expectations.
When creating boundaries with yourself, writing down your goals and expectations is an excellent way to hold yourself accountable to these boundaries. If you find yourself struggling to respect boundaries you set within your life, try forming a rewards system that provides positive reinforcement when you stick to your boundaries.
When creating boundaries with a person in your life, have a talk with them to clearly communicate your expectations of the relationship. Find a way to kindly let them know what your boundaries are and what treatment will not be accepted. If a person in your life isn’t respecting your boundaries, let them know that you will not tolerate that type of interaction. Although it may be difficult at times, standing your ground and holding on to your boundaries is important, even if it means cutting someone from your life until they have a change of heart.
Boundaries While Working Out
Boundaries can show up in all kinds of ways in our life - including through exercise! Working out improves a multitude of health and emotional issues which is why setting some can be a great way to help you feel better as well as reach fitness goals. It's best to start small so as to not overwhelm yourself when creating health-related boundaries. Eliminating a few junk foods from your diet can increase your energy level and keep your body in good shape. Ensuring that you have a solid rest after workout days where you exert yourself more physically can help your muscles recover and grow. Making the effort to wear your gymnastics grips so that your don't have excruciating blisters on your hands will most likely keep you from skipping the gym. Whether you are aiming to increase your PRs or even just get motivated enough to go to exercise, figuring out what is important to you and setting boundaries can help you get there.
If you are seeking extra support around setting boundaries in your life, reach out to a therapist or a mental health specialist for assistance.