This post contains examples of boundaries to help you start setting healthy boundaries.
What Are Boundaries?
Boundaries are dividing lines that define who you are as an individual and what we will and will not tolerate from others.
Boundaries make it clear that you’re a unique individual and not an extension of someone else.
Boundaries can take many forms.
- Physical boundaries: they protect your space, property, and body.
- Sexual boundaries: they protect your right to consent.
- Emotional boundaries: they allow you to have your own emotions and thoughts and protect you from emotional harm, such as abuse, betrayal, invalidation, etc.
What Boundaries Are Not
Boundaries are not demands.
We may ask someone to change their behavior. But it’s simply a request and the person is still free to choose how to behave.
Boundaries are not mean.
They’re not meant to hurt people.
Rather boundaries protect you and the relationship. They limit conflict and maintain respect within the relationship.
Do You Have Weak Boundaries?
Do you relate to any of the following?
- Interactions with others leave you feeling taken advantage of and resentful.
- Making requests or saying no when you need to leaves you feeling guilty.
- You avoid directly communicating your expectations to others.
- You don’t have a strong sense of who you are or what your values and goals.
- You don’t make time for self-care.
- You don’t speak up often enough when you want something or when you’re being treated poorly.
- You don’t spend enough quality time with people you care about or perusing your interests.
- You often accept blame for things you didn’t do or couldn’t control.
- You often struggle to say no because you don’t want to disappoint people.
- You think you don’t matter or aren’t as important as others.
- You’re frequently overscheduled or tired.
- You’re tuned in to how other people feel, but aren’t always aware of how you’re feeling.
If so, you may be struggling to set healthy emotional boundaries in your relationships.
Personal Bill of Right
Examples of Boundaries
Communicating a Boundary Examples
“I’m not interested in talking about this person when they’re not here.”
“Please do not comment on my (weight, appearance, etc.)”
“I appreciate your decision, but this is my decision.”
“If you continue to yell at me, I will have to walk away.”
“I have made up my mind about this.”
“I don’t want to discuss this matter.”
“We need to Change how we communicate, because it doesn’t seem to be working for either of us.”
“I would like it if you supported me by listening instead of offering advice.”
“I hope you will find a way to solve this problem.”
Examples of Boundaries In A Relationship
“I’m not okay with you talking to me that way.”
“I’m not ready to have sex yet.”
“I would love to see you, but I usually spend Sundays with my family.”
“I’d like us to put our phones aside when we’re on a date.”
“I’m not comfortable talking about that just yet.”
Examples of Boundaries At Work
“I can’t help you with that, but I can do…”
“I am not available to discuss work-related concerns on weekends.”
“I’m focusing on an important task right now. Can we schedule some time to talk later?”
“I’m at capacity right now. I can’t commit to that.”
Examples of Boundaries With Yourself
“I will ask for help before I’m overwhelmed.”
“I will use loving terms when describing my body or talking to myself.”
“When I feel lonely, I will not call my ex.”
“I will not answer work-related phone calls outside of working hours.”
Taking Break During a Difficult Conversation Examples
“I’m feeling really overwhelmed. Can we pause this?”
“I need a second to think. Can we take a break?”
“I need some time to myself. Can we talk about this later?”
“I know this is an important conversation, but I feel overwhelmed. Can I call you tomorrow?”
“I really want to finish this conversation when I’m in a better headspace.”
“I need some time and space to think this through.”
Saying No Examples
“I wish I could help, but I’m not available right now to support you.”
“I care about you deeply and I’m sorry you have to go through this. But I can’t help you with your issue.”
“I can’t support you financially, but I’m willing to support you in another way.”
“I can’t commit to that right now. Can we work to find a compromise?”
“I trust that you will be able to find a solution to this problem.”
“I have nothing planned, but that doesn’t mean I’m available.”
“I’m not able to take on additional work right now.”
“Thank you but I am not available.”
“I appreciate that you asked me but I can’t do it.”
“I appreciate you thinking of me but I can’t.”
“I would love to help, but this seems like an issue that should be handled with the help of a professional.”
“I am honored that you asked but I can’t commit to that right now.”
“Sorry I can’t make it this time, maybe next time.”
“I’m sorry I am not available this weekend, maybe next weekend.”
Why Setting Boundaries Can Be Difficult?
Setting boundaries can be difficult for a variety of reasons. Here are a few:
1. Fear of rejection: People may fear that setting boundaries will cause the other person to reject them or end the relationship.
2. Guilt: People may feel guilty or selfish when setting boundaries, especially if they have a history of prioritizing others’ needs over their own.
3. Lack of assertiveness skills: Some people may not know how to effectively communicate their needs and boundaries, which can lead to them being disregarded or ignored.
4. Fear of conflict: Setting boundaries can sometimes lead to conflict or uncomfortable conversations, which some people may want to avoid.
5. Concerns about others’ reactions: People may worry about how others will react to their boundaries, especially if they have a history of not enforcing them consistently.
Becoming aware of what could be preventing you from setting healthy boundaries is the first step in overcoming those barriers.
How to Set Healthy Boundaries?
Here are some tips for setting healthy boundaries:
1. Identify your needs: Take the time to understand what you need to feel comfortable and safe in a situation. This could be anything from personal space to emotional support.
2. Communicate clearly: Once you know your needs, communicate them clearly to those around you. Be direct and assertive without being aggressive or hostile.
3. Be consistent: Stick to your boundaries consistently, and don’t waiver or compromise if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.
4. Practice self-care: Taking care of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally will help you maintain healthy boundaries.
5. Learn to say ‘no’: Saying ‘no’ is an important part of setting boundaries. Saying yes to everything can lead to feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.
6. Be respectful: When setting boundaries, be respectful of others and their needs as well. You can find a balance between setting your own boundaries and respecting others.
Remember, setting healthy boundaries is not selfish, it’s a sign of self-respect and taking care of yourself.
Setting boundaries isn’t about forcing people to do what you want.
Rather, boundaries are about honoring your needs, expressing yourself clearly and communicating to others what you will and will not tolerate.
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