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  • Mary Katherine L

How to Set Effective Boundaries

Boundaries are super important for personal and relational health. If boundary-setting skills were a learning standard in school similar to multiplication skills, we would all benefit. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

So, if you struggle with boundaries, these tips may help.

  1. What's your boundary? Merriam-Webster defines a boundary as "something that indicates a limit." Personal boundaries are limits with the purpose of protecting our time, body, emotions, and mental health. An effective boundary is firm, clear, and adaptable.

  2. How will you enforce your boundary? Effective boundaries are ones that you enforce with your own behavior. If you try to enforce a boundary with someone else's behavior, it often just leads to a power struggle.

  3. Are you willing to accept the consequences of your boundary? It's likely that there will be consequences to the boundary you set and the way that you enforce it. You should think about what these might be and whether you are willing to experience them. For example, the people affected by your boundaries may be upset, talk negatively about you to others, or even begin setting boundaries of their own.

  4. Will you actually enforce the boundary? Boundaries only work if you actually keep them. If you know that you won't follow through on enforcing the boundary, go back to step one to identify a boundary and way of enforcing it that you'll realistically uphold.


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