Setting boundaries with others can be difficult. This is especially true if this is a skill you haven’t practiced much in the past. Many of us are raised to be people-pleasers or to put the needs of others above our own. These habits can be incredibly difficult to break. To learn how to set boundaries that prioritize your comfort and well-being, you must first recognize your own personal limits. The information below will explain what limits are, how to recognize them, and why they are important.
In the case of personal boundaries, limits are the types of behaviors, actions, and treatment you identify as being unacceptable. They vary with each individual and relationship. Your limits can vary, depending on the extent of infractions. For example, you may allow a friend to be late or cancel plans with you a few times. After that point, you decide limits must be set. You’ll need to tell your friend that this behavior has become problematic and lay out the specifics of what you expect from them. It may be that you will stop making plans with them the next time they blow you off. Perhaps you can be lenient on your limits as long as they communicate with you ahead of time. The specifics of your limit-setting will be unique to each situation.
Recognizing Your Limits
Recognizing your limits can be difficult, particularly if you’re not used to setting them. In order to recognize when a limit must be set, it’s important to pay attention to your feelings. Negative emotions such as discomfort, sadness, disappointment, regret, fear, or anger are key clues that there is a need to set a limit with regard to another person’s actions. Also, looking back on past relationship patterns can be a good way to discover general limit-setting guidelines. For example, if you have a pattern of people taking advantage of your generous nature, it’s a good idea to set limits around the kinds of things you’ll do for others at your own expense. Feel free to journal or take notes in order to come up with some guidelines for yourself regarding your own personal limits in general and with specific individuals.
Importance of Limits
Recognizing your limits is extremely important to your emotional well-being. It can even be critical to your physical safety, depending on the circumstances. When you recognize and honor your limits, you’ll feel better about yourself. That’s because you’re taking actions to protect what matters to you and to prioritize yourself over others. This doesn’t make you selfish. Setting limits and sticking to them helps you to avoid becoming a doormat for others. You’ll preserve your energy and time. You’ll also avoid negative feelings such as sadness, regret, resentment, and even depression.
Keep this information in mind moving forward. Your interests, desires, and needs are just as important as anyone else’s. Standing up for them is always a good idea.