“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.” – Brené Brown (American Professor)

We are involved in a wide variety of interpersonal connections, including those with our spouses, colleagues, coworkers, family, and in-laws. Even though their intensities vary, we often find ourselves a part of these important interactions as part of our busy routines. The majority of us have trouble setting boundaries and perhaps feel embarrassed to bring up this crucial subject for discussion and action.

When used in a relationship to request time or space that can be perceived negatively or appear unwarranted by the other, the word “boundaries” in itself can trigger negative feelings. While we consistently associate boundaries with weaker emotions of love, admiration, or even detachment, setting the way for eventual separation.  We consistently fail to understand that boundaries are not actual limits but instead a place where we find ourselves apart from interpersonal relationships. The possession of our personal space allows us to define intrapersonal space and investigate our daily routines. We visit this area not out of a lack of affection or adoration, but rather because we value discovering an adequate inner self.

Although the nature of relationships is constantly shifting, the effort we put forth to keep them strong is what matters most. Every relationship goes through a stage where we try to build a channel for communication, but we should also build a channel where we are open and sincere in meaningful interactions about our true selves. Boundaries can include prohibitions on physical behavior, such as requests that a partner refrains from looking through our phones or from interfering with our home-based job. They can also be psychological, such as when we ask our partner to acknowledge that sometimes our objectives and dreams may not line up with theirs. The importance of healthy boundaries, however, includes the following. 

Photo source: Professional QP

  • Establishes guidelines for interactions with other people.
  • Defines each person’s role in a relationship.
  • Distinguishes our desires, needs, thoughts, and emotions from those of other people.
  • Give us a sense of self-worth and freedom.
  • Assures both our mental and physiological comfort.

Our relationships may become poisonous and unfulfilling without healthy limits or boundaries, and our well-being may suffer as a result. We run the risk of destroying our relationships if our boundaries and those of others are consistently crossed. It is not only in intimate relationships that we need boundaries. They are also necessary at work, where our demands could be ignored or monopolized by management or coworkers. Poor quality of personal life can result from unhealthy boundaries that we have at work.

We as individuals are therefore advised to make deliberate efforts in setting boundaries in all areas of our lives.

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Dominion TV, Africa’s Christian Lifestyle Network for Inspired and Empowered Living.