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What Are Boundaries And How To Set Them

What Are Boundaries? 

A boundary is what you set for yourself and not for others.

For instance, if you are wanting space from others because you feel that your space is being violated in some way. You can set the boundary of moving to a different space or leaving the situation. Once more, the boundary is what you set for yourself.

Below is a second example of a boundary:

You can share “I need to create a system in my life focused on giving myself more breaks.”


“You need to respect my boundary and stop bothering me.”

When you start with “I”, there is a direct focus on accountability. 

How To Set Boundaries In Your Life


Setting boundaries requires that we hold ourselves responsible for creating them and following them through.

The purpose of a boundary is to provide yourself with healthy spaces in life. Boundaries can extend from physical space to a conversation topic.

Having boundaries in your life can support you with:

  • Improving the quality of life.
  • Aligning you with your values.
  • Removing toxic spaces and people from your life.
  • Developing healthy relationships with others.
  • Developing a healthy relationship with yourself.

I want you to think about your boundaries.

What comes to mind?

Knowing your current boundaries gives you a feeling of empowerment, strength, and understanding in acknowledging the development of the boundary.

How To Set And Stick To Healthy Boundaries

To ensure that a boundary actually works and is sustainable, there must be a consequence.

Creating consequences for the boundaries is essential. This is often an area that people struggle with. I urge you to focus on creating consequences.

Use the example below as guidance:

If your boundary is to be in an intimate relationship that does not have verbal, physical, or any type of abuse. Yet, you find yourself in a relationship with a recent experience in which your partner verbally abused you.

When abuse takes place, the boundary is activated and it’s time to discuss the consequence. The consequence can be to pack your bags and separate.

Boundaries Need Consequences


If there is no consequence and a lack of sticking to consequences, then there is a likely hood that the negative behavior will continue.

The reason for this is connected to the foundation of boundaries. Again, think about it this way. Your boundaries represent your home. What you let in is allowed in because you opened the door.

Over time the lack of remaining consistent with boundaries can have a direct effect on your health.

You may notice that you experience the following due to not following through with your boundaries:

  • Muscle tension.
  • Anger.
  • Feeling disconnected from yourself. Almost like you are not the person you once were or set out to be.
  • Lashing out on others or yourself.
  • Feeling alone.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Low self-confidence.
  • Low self-worth.


Let’s use an example for guidance:

If you have a sign on the front of your door that says “no muddy shoes”, and someone comes in with muddy shoes. They walk up and down your home. You watch and hold in the frustration. They leave. It’s likely that they will return and do the same. Yes, the sign on your door says no muddy shoes. Yet, you remained there and did not strengthen the boundary.

I know that you have the strength to build and remain connected to your boundaries.

What To Focus On When Setting Boundaries


A key area connected to boundaries is taking time to reflect on how boundaries interact with settings.

A clear example of this is seen in physical boundaries.

You may, for instance, have a healthy boundary with members of your family focused on feeling comfortable with hugs during greetings.

This comfort can be connected to your culture. Yet, at work, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on the appropriateness of the boundary when it comes to physical boundaries. For instance, you may not want to receive a hug from a co-worker in the same manner as you would from a family member.

Take time to reflect on your boundaries and their appropriateness to specific settings. 

For more helpful reads on self-care and personal growth follow the links below:

What Is Self-Compassion And How Can We Practice It

How To Practice Emotional Self-Care

How Counseling Can Help You Become Your Authentic Self


Working with a counselor is a wonderful way to begin the process of creating and setting healthy boundaries. Reach out to our counseling office today. We are located at 411 Dolley Madison Road, Greensboro, NC. You can call 336-663-6570 or email [email protected] to schedule.