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Challenges of Setting Boundaries: What Everyone Needs to Know

Colourful fence and healthy boundaries

Boundaries set a standard for what one is willing to do for and accept from others. They are not just personal preferences but essential for wellbeing and control over your life.

No wonder many struggle when it comes to setting their boundaries.

The challenges to setting and maintaining boundaries lie not only in defining limits but also in keeping them across different types of relationships. Whether at work, with a partner, children, or friends, the boundaries required are as varied as the situations and must be adapted to each connection's dynamics.

Fence at the beach

Walls keep everybody out. Boundaries teach them where the door is.

Mark Groves

The Challenges Behind Setting Healthy Boundaries

  • You are not comfortable making yourself a priority. When you are not taught how to set boundaries, their importance might feel unclear. Guilt or shame can show up for setting boundaries, particularly if you find natural pleasing others, avoiding conflict, or sacrificing yourself. 

  • Different situations require different boundaries. Boundaries sometimes have grey areas and need to be adapted to the situation. The boundaries you put at work will not be the same limits you set up for your partner. For acquaintances or friends, you will have to set different limits again making you feeling confused and lure you into old unhealthy habits. 

  • Boundaries look different for everyone. Some may need time understanding why your boundaries are so crucial to you. Be patient when it comes to adjustment, but remember that your boundary is in place for good reasons, and need to stay there.

  • Not setting boundaries may have given you some advantage. The feeling of being needed can be powerful; however, if the relationship is based on a solid foundation and is healthy, setting boundaries will not harm it. You will still be essential in other ways for people who love and appreciate you. 

Book with autumn leaves: Teach others' your boundaries

You best teach others about healthy boundaries by enforcing yours.

Bryant McGill

Unhealthy Beliefs When Setting Boundaries

Emotional and mental boundaries are set to protect you from letting others control your thoughts, feelings and needs. Taking the first steps can be daunting because of limiting beliefs, such as:

  • I will lose my relationships. "Your" people will still love you if you say no, and if not, they most likely are not "your" people. 

  • I am needed. Always saying yes doesn't make you irreplaceable; it just makes you available for exploitation and drains you. 

  • I am not so important to impose my boundaries on others. Your boundaries are not impositions on others; they limit access to your inner world, time, and energy.

  • I can do this. If any "yes" leaves you feeling exploited, stressed, upset, and disappointed is not something you can allow yourself to deny or ignore.

  • It will get better. Waiting for things to improve rarely works. You teach people how to treat you by clearly stating what you allow or not.

  • It feels selfish. If it doesn't feel right for you, it most likely isn't. You may feel like you are letting others down, but your sensations should be your priority.

Letting go of these limiting beliefs and begin to set new healthy boundaries can create growth opportunities, promote independence and healthier relationships.

Colourful boundaries

Boundaries are to protect life, not to limit pleasures.

Edwin Louis Cole

Setting Boundaries: Your Ultimate Tools to Wellbeing.

Boundaries are your borders. Difficulties will show up, but if you embrace the challenge and acknowledge that the initial steps may be uncertain, the tools below will help you get there. 

  • Listen to your inner voice.

  • Think about your needs and what you would like to say.

  • Learn how to communicate your thoughts assertively.

  • If you don't want to do something, say 'no' and move on.

  • You don't have to explain your reasons.

Once you begin, you will realise how important it is to nurture a healthy relationship with yourself and your loved ones. Remember:

  • Protecting your wellbeing is your responsibility. 

  • You have to feel good to be there for others.

  • You are not accountable for other people's choices.

  • Asking others to respect your time, feelings, and needs is your right.

  • Taking on other's responsibilities makes them dependent on you and hinders their personal growth.

  • Saying 'no' to others often means saying 'yes' to yourself.  

woman feeling free after setting boundaries

Love yourself enough to set boundaries.

Your time and energy are precious and you get to decide how you use them.

Anna Taylor

Final Thoughts

Setting healthy boundaries takes time and practice, so take the time you need and don't force yourself to do something you don't want. Develop a support system of people you trust can help you on your journey.

When setting boundaries becomes too challenging and you feel like you need to reclaim your life, it's time to reach out to someone you trust. You don't have to face everything alone. Contacting a helpline, a support group, or a professional. Your GP or a counsellor can make a difference in your wellbeing. 

Subscribe to this website and get 15 minutes of free online consultations. 







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