Let’s talk about the benefits of setting boundaries. But, before we go into the benefits…what exactly is a boundary?
A boundary is an imaginary line that separates your body, feelings, thoughts, needs, and responsibilities from others.
They can come in many different forms, but are typically put in place to protect yourself from poor treatment or situations. In its simplest form, boundaries are one word: “No.” But they can become much more complex than that, such as “I will not stay at the office past 6pm for my own mental health,” or “I will unfollow people on social media who bring up my feelings of insecurity” or “I will not stay in friendships or relationships with people who disrespect me.”
Typically when you set a boundary, it has to happen more than once. The best way to know if a healthy boundary has been set, is to see how fiercely people push back. The stronger the pushback, the more necessary the boundary.
While boundaries are definitely not easy to set, the rewards and benefits that come with them make boundaries more than worth it. Read more about nine benefits of setting boundaries:
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1. Setting Boundaries Means You’re an Actual Adult
The most obvious benefit of setting boundaries is not having to do the things you don’t want to do, so you can do things you do want to do. Even if that means doing nothing.
Being an adult is hard enough. We have to constantly think about paying bills, to-do lists, performing at work, taking care of whatever critters back at home, being nice to strangers, and not getting abducted walking to the grocery store (wait, that’s just women!). But you get the point.
So the L A S T thing we want to do is take over some bullshit committee at work, arrive early to a dog’s birthday party to help set up, or write some unpaid article “for exposure.” We just don’t have the time or energy for it. And frankly, even if we DID, that doesn’t mean we need to be jumping out of our seat for every favor someone asks of us. We don’t need a reason. We are fully functioning adults with agency and we can spend our time HOWEVER we LIKE.
But we forget that rule! Like, every day!
So next time you’re thinking about setting a boundary and feel a bit iffy about it – remember that you’re a full blown adult. And you can do whatever the fuck you want.
2. Boundaries Protect Your Energy
Ok so if the whole “I’m a Big Girl Now” logic didn’t quite stick with you, I’ve got another one for you.
When you continuously jump through hoops for others, you leave little to no time to energy for yourself. And you need time and energy. You need time and energy to do house chores, you need time and energy to play with fur babies…(or actual babies)…you need time and energy for your job so you don’t get fired, and you need time and energy for your friends/family/spouse.
So if my math is correct…you need a lot of time and energy.
Which means you can’t be giving it away all willy nilly! No ma’am! You have to be really selective!
Creating boundaries with others protects you from totally depleting your energy before using it up on things you actually need in your life. You need to be present for people and you need to take care of yourself. You don’t need to listen to a neighbor vent about their grandchildren’s poor decision choices for an hour.
3. Boundaries Reduce Resentment
We all know what it feels like to be taken advantage of. It’s the actual worst.
Not only do you feel betrayed by someone you trusted who completely abused the relationship, but you also feel pretty stupid for getting yourself into this situation in the first place. Very rarely do you not have a hand in getting yourself trapped into a thankless dynamic. You are responsible for deciding how you spend your time, and when you say “yes” to a small thing…and another thing…and oh yeah, that other thing…people start to think you have all the time in the world. Or that you’re super woman. Or that you don’t sleep. So they keep piling it on. And then eventually, you grow pretty freaking resentful that you are even involved in whatever it is in the first place.
So let’s avoid those situations, yeah?
It’s really easy to do so, too. Whenever someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do, just say no.
That’s all. It’s pretty easy.
Don’t worry, you won’t turn everything down. There are plenty of people and plenty of events and plenty of situations where you’ll actually want to help out! I promise. We are all surrounded with enough inspirational causes and humans that lending our time or energy will feel like an honor instead of a burden. The important thing is that you are taking pause to THINK about how your time and energy are being spent.
When take the time to decipher whether or not something sounds enjoyable/honorable/exciting/rewarding, then we feel a sense of control. We feel power in our decision. When we don’t, however, we can easily feel resentful. For instance, if a relative of yours is in the hospital and someone asks you to visit them, you’d probably say yes. Not because trips to the hospital are your secret guilty pleasure, but because you want to be there for someone. Being a good person to others makes us feel good about ourselves. Trust yourself to make the right call in the moment, because when you actually take a second to think things over, you’re going to realize it’s SO EASY to make the right call. It’s just a bit harder to say no.
But you gotta do it. Otherwise, you’re going to become resentful as hell. Resentment is essentially cyanide to any functioning relationship. It will poison everything in its path, and you will lose so much more than you anticipated. So don’t let resentment take over. Set the boundary instead.
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4. Boundaries Let You Show Up For The People You Love
We all have those people we would do ANYTHING for, and when the time comes, we’re so excited to be able to show them how much we love them. But the problem occurs when we have too much on our plate, and aren’t really able to be there for them because we’ve promised ourselves away earlier. So in order to create space for the people who deserve it, we need to set boundaries across the board.
I’m going to take it even a step further.
In my humble (not really humble) opinion, I think it’s better to OVER set boundaries than to under set boundaries. That way, if you are all rested up with some time on your hands, you can call up whoever you need to and volunteer your time. Otherwise, if you under set your boundaries, you’re going to show up for the people in your life tired and drained – or worse – not show up at all and make the situation even worse.
I can tell by the way you’re cringing that you’ve totally done that before. Tsk tsk.
So by over setting your boundaries, you surprise people with your generosity instead of causing additional stress and anxiety by letting them down at the last minute. I mean, think about it: Would you rather be a superhero, or an unreliable twat?
Give yourself the time and space to show up for the people you love by protecting your energy from distractions. Focus on what you love, and you’ll have the energy for everything you want to do.
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5. Boundaries Increase Relationship Longevity
Boundaries are paramount to keeping relationships healthy. Without boundaries, relationships have a tendency to become messy and unruly. They need structure to thrive. And you have to be the one to provide it.
It seems counter-intuitive to those who are new to boundaries (or maybe that was just me!) and might take some practice. You may think, “Telling people ‘no’ all the time is going to help my relationships? Everyone is going to hate me!!’ and to that I would say – YES, saying “no” to people keeps relationships healthy, and also you might need new friends if you’re seriously concerned everyone is going to hate you for telling them ‘no.’
By protecting your own energy and decreasing any future opportunities for budding resentment, you are establishing the expectation that you are not on call for others. You have a life, you have your own responsibilities, and you have your own priorities. If others can get on board with that, then there will be less things to quarrel over. People won’t have false expectations or assumptions about you and your time, and you won’t feel taken advantage of by others.
Realistic expectations + not being taken advantage of = healthier, happier relationships that can last a lifetime. Everyone stays in their lane, supports each other when they can, and focuses on how to be the best person they can be. Trust me, you’ll like it!
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6. Boundaries Weed Out Toxic Relationships
Deep breath: not all of your relationships are going to survive your boundaries.
Eeeeeeeeeeeee sorry. I hate to be all negative and such, but it’s just true. If you’ve been living your life boundary-free, then you probably have some horrible friends that are used to your spineless style. It’s just how life works. People who like to take advantage of others tend to cling to those with weak boundaries. So yes, unfortunately, some of your friends are only friends with you because you say yes to everything.
Don’t! Shoot! The! Messenger!
What I am really wanting you to take away from this, is that you are a lovely, caring, beautiful person who deserves to have relationships with no strings attached.
And if those “friends” don’t like an arrangement where you get to enjoy yourself instead of slaving away for them….then is this really a loss? Do you really care if these relationships slip away? To me, it sounds like a friendship that should have died a long time ago. If I were you, I would definitely be asking myself WHY I decided to stick around with such a selfish butthead who clearly cares more about themselves than anyone else…but that’s just me.
You are worthy of a friendship/romantic relationship/career that doesn’t ask everything from you while providing barely anything in return. And hell, even if you DO get something in return, isn’t that still weird?! Don’t you want friendships to be an organic flow of give and take, instead of a massive game of keeping score? That sounds exhausting.
So give boundary setting a try. Start saying no, and see who’s really a friend, and who can see themselves out the back door.
7. Setting Boundaries Help Solidify An Abundance Mindset
Quick refresher: subscribing to an abundance mentality means you believe there is more than enough resources, people, opportunities, wealth, nourishment, or whatever else in the word that will contribute to your happiness. And not only that, but there’s more than enough for everyone. Subscribing to a scarcity mindset means you believe there is a scarce amount of resources in the world, and therefore we must cling to what we have, because we don’t know if we will ever have the opportunity to have it again.
Meaning…some of you who have been holding onto shitty relationships may have been doing it because you’re scared you won’t find anyone else.
That kind of thinking practically invites a full-blown scarcity mindset to set up shop in your head. And it’s really not healthy for you.
The good news is, boundaries are in total alignment with an abundance mindset. When you set a boundary with someone who doesn’t respect it, they’ll try to pushback. Again. And again. And again. And you’ll be in charge of continuing to set the boundary – until you give up and decide to walk away from the friendship for good.
But you can do that. You can literally just walk away. You know why? Because there are plenty of people out there who will RESPECT your boundaries and love you for exactly who you are without any expectations. They’re just waiting for you to ditch your narcissistic buddies and come and find them.
8. Setting Boundaries Sets a Precedent With Others
Here’s the lovely thing about setting boundaries with people already in your life: other people will take note.
Let’s take MoviePass for example. They started out about, what, two years ago? Their initial offering was unlimited movies per month for something ridiculous like $9. Absolute bananas. And because the deal was SO good, it caught on like wildfire. Until…MoviePass couldn’t handle the volume anymore. Passes were being declined, the app was buggy, and customer service took about 4 months to respond to any sort of claim. While I’m sure initially they fanatic about their ability to scale overnight, they quickly regretted it. It was a business nightmare.
So they recalibrated, and released an amended business offering. You could only see three movies per month, no opening weekend showings, blackout dates all over the map, and the price increased.
I think we all know the ending to this story, but if you can’t remember, they went out of business. Current customers realized, hey, MoviePass, y’all don’t know WTF you’re doing. And those who weren’t customers probably heard the complaints from their friends. So, with no customers, they went away.
So who are you in this metaphor? You’re MoviePass! The “company” that can’t figure out how to maintain giving an offering away for way less than it’s worth. I’m not sure what phase you’re in, but more than likely you’re in the HOLY F&(# THIS WAS A BAD IDEA phase. And we really want to get you to the going out of business phase.
Because the business you’re in is giving your time and energy away to anyone for free. And let me tell you – that’s just bad business.
You don’t want to be known as the person who habitually says YES! no matter the circumstance. People talk. And more and more people will come out of the woodwork asking for this or that due to your reputation.
So let’s get the OPPOSITE of that in full force! Become the person who says NO! and needs a friggin Powerpoint presentation before agreeing to give your time away to ANYONE or ANYTHING. That way, when someone asks you for something – they aren’t doing it just because they think it’s an easy ask. They’re doing it because they believe it’s something you would actually enjoy or they truly need your unique help. And those are the exact kind of requests you’d like to field in the future.
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9. Boundaries Are Great For Your Career
So some of you are reading this and might be thinking – Ok, I’ve got the relationship boundaries down, but what about work?
Oh, girl. You need boundaries at work arguably more than you need them elsewhere! The entire concept of boundaries is to prevent you from giving your time and energy away for little to nothing in return…and I don’t know of a more egregious example than having a boss asking you to work FOR! FREE!
This is a little more cut and dry when you’re an hourly employee. If you’re not on the clock, you don’t work. It’s that simple. It’s also ILLEGAL for there to be any other sort of arrangement anyway. So just stick to that rule.
If you’re salary, things get a bit more dicey. There might be duties outside of your job description you’re expected to cover, and staying extra hours doesn’t get you paid more. So here’s my take:
Working past normal business hours isn’t a great look. Aside from the fact that it causes a lot of stress to grind it out beyond the conventional hours humans are supposed to work in a day, it also cuts into your personal time that you NEED in order to recharge (whether that be hanging out alone, being by yourself, spending time with family, etc). Plus, working long hours is telltale sign of inefficiency. Bosses don’t like inefficiency. It signals that you can’t handle the workload you already have…so why would they promote you?
Instead, set boundaries. Work on what you can during working hours, and go home. You’ll be refreshed, replenished, and ready to take on your workload the following day. Your ability to work smarter will increase when you have enough sleep and free time to disassociate from work and gain perspective.
What I’m saying is boundaries will make you a better employee. Don’t be afraid to set them whenever possible.
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Having issues setting boundaries?
Don’t panic. Most of us aren’t that great at setting boundaries because we were not raised to do so. But that doesn’t mean you won’t ever be able to live with healthy boundaries! All it means is you might need a little extra help. Luckily, that’s what Blush Online Life Coaching specializes in. Check out our affordable and convenience private life coaching memberships so you can learn how to set boundaries quickly for healthier and happier relationships.