Boundaries have benefits

Setting boundaries may be difficult but they yield benefits.

When we are clear about expectations, people often rise to meet them. Boundaries are simply rules and guidelines for how we expect to be treated. It is important to consider what your values and priorities are when considering your boundaries. Boundaries are not universal and therefore should not be assumed; individuals have preferences and therefore boundaries vary from one person to the next. Boundaries may include a wide variety of topics from space to topics that can be discussed in public.

Boundaries allow people to experience many benefits; here I have listed my favorite seven benefits for well-established boundaries.

  • Compassion. People who have clear boundaries tend to be compassionate. They help others understand what is acceptable and unacceptable.
  • Fairness. Boundaries help things to be fair in the respect that everyone is treated the same because the line in the sand is clearly established. You know what to expect when the boundary is established and communicated in a clear manner.
  • Less stress and resentfulness. When we let people walk all over us, we become stressed and resentful. Clear boundaries can help you avoid these feelings. You will not have to feel angry the next time someone takes advantage of you. Just say no by setting clear boundaries and sticking to them.
  • Safety. Boundaries can keep us safe. Just as boundaries keep our children safe, they keep us safe as adults: physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally.
  • Peace of mind. No more feeling guilty about saying no or wishing you would have done it differently. Setting and sticking to those boundaries can put your mind at rest and ease self-doubt.
  • Get what you need to be happy. Clear boundaries can help us achieve happiness: ask for what you need and you will be happy! If you need a quiet space to work, create one and have others respect that space.
  • Create time and space for you. Boundaries will allow you to have control of your schedule, activities, relationships and yes, your life. They are not a magic bullet but one tool that will help you find success and peace of mind.

Michigan State University Extension recognizes that setting boundaries may be difficult but that doing so will be worth the time. However, only you can determine what those boundaries will be and once you do so, you need have to communicate them to others in a tactful way. Remember, the results will be worth the effort!

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