Personal boundaries are simply the lines we draw for ourselves—the emotions or behaviors we are willing to share with others and those we’re not. Our behavior toward ourselves sets the standard for others. If we don’t honor our own feelings and needs, we can’t expect others to do so either. Boundaries are essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. In fact, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. By focusing on what we want and don't want in our lives, we can define our priorities and respond to others in the best way possible. When we are conscious of our boundaries, we empower ourselves to communicate more effectively, establish more mutually beneficial relationships, and experience a deeper sense of fulfillment.
Boundaries are also referred to by the following terms:
Healthy boundaries allow people to take responsibility for themselves and their actions and help them avoid unfairly or inappropriately taking responsibility for the emotions and needs of others. Well-developed boundaries lead to healthier relationships and help people avoid feeling manipulated, violated, or otherwise mistreated by other people.
Common misconceptions are that setting boundaries is rude or selfish but, setting boundaries makes you a considerate individual who has your own and other peoples’ best interests in mind.
Dakota Family Services uses boundaries to set expectations for care so patients know what to anticipate with their care. We see many patients who have a difficult time setting their own boundaries, and in many cases, we see people whose boundaries have been violated by other people. We strive to teach people what boundaries are, how to set and maintain healthy boundaries for themselves, and how to respect boundaries other people have set for themselves. We also help people feel confident in knowing how to respond when their boundaries are violated and teach them the steps to take to ensure someone isn’t infringing on their rights.