Why it’s important to set personal boundaries


We’ve all been there, I’m 100% sure of it. We’ve taken in a cruel comment from someone as part and parcel of that friendship, we’ve accepted hurtful behaviour from our romantic partners, we’ve taken on extra work we don’t actually want or even can do and we’ve definitely all at one point or another failed at loving and forgiving ourselves.


I know this self-love business is coming out of our ears and arses and you’re probably dead fed up hearing about it – but wait a second. Self-love isn’t about the actual act of loving yourself (“warts and all” and “if you don’t love me at my worst you don’t deserve me at my best” kind of BS that makes me heave) it’s the process of putting yourself into a situation where loving yourself is possible.


Look at it this way: if you are being belittled (even as a joke) by your friends, your romantic partner neglects your needs and you’re being overworked by a boss who doesn’t appreciate you, how the hell are you supposed to have any love for yourself?


And this is where personal boundaries come in. Personal boundaries are like the imaginary lines we draw around ourselves to maintain balance and protect our bodies, minds, emotions, and time from the unreasonable behaviour or demands of others. They provide the framework that keeps us from being used or manipulated by others. Basically, personal boundaries allow us to be in the driver’s seat of our own lives.



It’s worth noting, though, that boundaries are not force-fields, or ways to keep people from ever knowing the real “us”. They’re the “spaces-between”. We all need space between ourselves and others. This allows for us to be comfortable in our decisions and actions. So when we set boundaries, we set the limits which indicate what we find acceptable and unacceptable in other people’s behaviour towards us.


I mean, obviously internal boundaries can be flexible and should have room to give if a friend or loved one needs a little more from us, like in a time of crisis, but that’s an exception and not a rule. If someone is demanding all of your emotional time for themselves, and asking you to make too many compromises, they are crossing boundaries and they need to be made aware.


And it can be scary sometimes to enforce these boundaries. We worry for other people’s feelings, we worry coming across mean or ungrateful and we suffer from crippling FOMO and don’t want to be shut out by other people because we choose to exercise a little self-love (and respect). But boundaries are like a muscle. The more you train them, the easier it comes. You might hyperventilate into a paper bag after the first time you tell your friend to stop belittling you or you tell your boss you have no more time in your schedule for extra work, but the next time it’ll be easier. And, your surroundings will also learn. More often than not, the people around us aren’t arseholes who want to kick us when we’re down, but just imperfect creatures (like us!) who genuinely didn’t know any better. Once you draw your boundaries, it’s easier for them to treat you the way you need and want them to. And this obviously goes both ways; you need to respect their boundaries as you’d want them to respect yours.



But if they keep crossing the boundaries you’ve set even after they’re told, I take it all back and they actually are arseholes and you should GTFO from wherever they are.


How your own personal boundaries are defined is ultimately and completely up to you. Only you know what you can, or actually, want to accept. It’s fine to shift your boundaries over time or even change them completely, because they ultimately exist to protect you – they’re not about making others feel more comfortable and they’re certainly not about making you more acceptable to others.


As you start to stand up for yourself and enforce boundaries, you’ll probably feel terrified at first, and then, surprise! You’ll more than likely start to feel increasingly empowered and confident. And that, my friend, puts you in a great place to love yourself. Well, it’ll be a start anyway. And we have to start from somewhere.

  • Phaytea’s Pulse

    Love this one as I’ve written something in this line as well. Setting boundaries save you a lot of stress and making them known (nicely) helps them know how to relate with you. Boundaries are important for ourselves and relationship with others