Learning to Set Relationship Boundaries in Your Life for Greater Happiness

happy girl smiling – setting relationship boundaries in your life

Maybe you’ve known someone who seemingly gets walked all over by other people. Maybe you’ve even been that person. The truth is, every relationship you have is going to be as good as the boundaries you set for yourself and for the people around you. We establish boundaries not only to create an identity but also to protect ourselves. We do this by providing expectations for how we believe we deserve to be treated. Without them, not only do we let ourselves behave in ways that are unhealthy for our personal development, but we also allow others the opportunity to take advantage of us. Setting boundaries may not come naturally to everyone, but they are crucial to living a healthy and fulfilling life.

The Importance of Boundaries

One of the main reasons setting boundaries is so important is it creates a sense of identity and establishes self-responsibility. If we don’t have the ability to set boundaries, we wouldn’t be able to live efficiently. We would always be wondering how to spend our time, how to let people treat us, or wondering whether our day-to-day choices are benefitting or conflicting with our lives. And when we don’t establish necessary lines, we could end up suffering from stress, relationship conflict, wasted time, and ultimately, mental health issues.

Thankfully, we all set boundaries, whether we realize it or not. Some of us are just better at it—and more conscious of it—than others. If you feel like you’re not good at it, there could be some reasons for it. Maybe you have not mastered the art of setting boundaries yet or you are still figuring out a way to communicate them effectively to others. However, boundary-setting is a skill that we all can master. With a little bit of mindfulness, we can all learn to set the kinds of expectations that will provide us with a life that is under our control.

How to Set Boundaries For Yourself

Set Boundaries with Yourself

One of the biggest issues is one’s perception of themselves. Individuals with low self-esteem or self-worth may not believe they deserve to be treated properly. Whether this sounds like you or not, try setting a boundary by limiting the criticism you give yourself. Just as you wouldn’t let another person talk badly of you, don’t allow yourself to think negatively about yourself.

Prioritize Your Personal Boundaries

Next, realize that you have every right to set personal boundaries. Don’t worry if people you meet are not comfortable with them. Remember that you are the most important person in your life, and you should always prioritize your well-being.

Practice Mindfulness

Another great strategy is to practice mindfulness. Focus on your emotional well-being throughout the day and reflect on the emotional reactions you have towards people, events or activities. If a certain activity leaves you feeling great, you should establish a boundary on your time. Allow yourself to spend more time participating in activities that make you feel fulfilled.

Personal and Professional Relationships Boundaries

couple riding bikes by the water - setting boundaries in your life

While setting boundaries for yourself is necessary to further develop and improve your personality, setting boundaries between yourself and others is equally as important. When we don’t express to others how we prefer to be treated, we open a door that invites others to waste our time and take advantage of us. In fact, you can’t have a lasting and fulfilling relationship with anyone with whom you have not established boundaries. Therefore, it is important to let the individual know when he or she has crossed the line.

This does not have to lead to an argument. Simply let them know that you don’t agree with their behavior and would like to come to a compromise. If they don’t agree with you or respect your request, then perhaps they are not the people you should be giving your time to. However, if you don’t voice your opinion, you will let them get away with their behavior and they may develop a mindset that they can walk all over you. Boundaries need to be established or you may find yourself in a one-sided and incompatible relationship.


Setting boundaries is not easy for everyone. It can be difficult to say that we don’t agree with someone’s behavior, especially when that someone is an individual we care about. However, boundaries are necessary for relationships that are fulfilling and help us grow as individuals. So start letting yourself and others know how you deserve to be treated.

About the Author

Josh Miles is a St. Petersburg/Tampa based writer who studied Business Management and Marketing at the University of South Florida. He believes that time spent with good friends and a connection with nature are keys to a healthy and happy life. In his free time, you will find him exercising, listening to music, or playing video games with friends.
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