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How Do You Set Boundaries?


by Dr. Jackie Black
Part 4 of a 4-part series on boundaries in relationships


Let me say first, setting boundaries is not disrespectful, bad or wrong. In fact, emotionally healthy people set personal boundaries.

Educate people in your life about your boundaries. Calmly and respectfully inform them about how they can and cannot behave around you. Let people know what you want and don’t want, what you like and don’t like.

Let people know what your limits are. This actually gives people in your life the security of knowing your relationship guidelines and eliminates their fears about how they should behave with you.

  • Your failure, inability or unwillingness to set boundaries will likely result in not being able to protect yourself.
  • Confusion or ambivalence about setting boundaries results in partial protection.

Building walls to protect yourself actually blocks closeness and prevents loving and unloving interactions.

Building walls or inadequate boundaries blocks all interactions and results in no protection.

And there’s more.

  • Know, without a doubt, that you have a right to control distance, touching and other physical contact with people, and they have the same right with you.
  • You have a right to control your response to what others say, do, or expect of you, and they have the same right.
  • You must think your own thoughts and make your own choices. You must choose to do or not to do that which is and isn’t in alignment with your values, in your own best interest or in response to your experiences. Others have the same right.
  • If you offend or affront another person, you are responsible for the impact of your action and should make amends. If someone offends or affronts you, they are responsible for the impact of their action and should make amends.

Setting and maintaining your own boundaries and honoring the boundaries of others are skills that can be learned.

It takes mindfulness, intention and practice. Be patient with yourself as you learn and practice these important and valuable life skills. It is worth it–And so are you!

Remember, only YOU can make it happen!


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