Establishing Clear And Healthy Boundaries

boundariesEstablishing clear and healthy boundaries that honor you and others is a vital ingredient of healthy living!

Wikipedia defines personal boundaries as being guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify for themselves what are reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave around him or her and how they will respond when someone steps outside those limits.

When you don’t have clear and healthy boundaries set in place other people will step over the line without realizing it.

It is important that you honor yourself and others in the area of setting clear and healthy boundaries.

Boundaries are an important way for you to respect the needs and feelings of others, as well as your own needs and feelings.

When you become aware of your own boundaries (and begin to respect them) you will naturally begin to regard the boundaries of others as well.

Respecting other people’s boundaries helps make you a more attractive and safe person to be around.

Boundary setting is about deciding what you will and won’t tolerate in your life, and then communicating this consistently whenever you need to.

Boundaries are essential to your well-being and becoming a healthy individual while balancing your work-flow and personal life effectively.

Setting clear and healthy boundaries demonstrates your commitment to honoring yourself and others in the spirit of well-being, compassion and love.

Here are some ways to set healthy boundaries from the book, Where You End and I Begin, by Anne Katherine.

  • When you identify the need to set a boundary, do it clearly, preferable without anger, and in as few words as possible.  Do not justify, apologize for, or rationalize the boundary you are setting.  Do not argue!! Just set the boundary calmly, firmly, clearly and respectfully.
  • You can’t set a boundary and take care of someone else’s feelings at the same time.  You are not responsible for the other person’s reaction to the boundary you are setting.  You are only responsible for communicating the boundary in a respectful manner.  If others get upset with you, that is their problem.  If they no longer want your friendship, then you are probably better off without them.  You do not need “friends” who disrespect your boundaries.
  • At first, you will probably feel selfish, guilty, or embarrassed when you set a boundary.  Do it anyway, and tell yourself you have a right to take care of yourself.  Setting boundaries takes practice and determination.  Don’t let anxiety or low self-esteem prevent you from taking care of yourself.
  • When you feel anger or resentment, or find yourself whining or complaining, you probably need to set a boundary.  Listen to yourself, then determine what you need to do or say.  Then communicate your boundary assertively.  When you are confident you can set healthy boundaries with others, you will have less need to put up walls.
  • When you set boundaries, you might be tested, especially by those accustomed to controlling you, abusing you, or manipulating you.  Plan on it, expect it, but be firm.  Remember, your behavior must match the boundaries you are setting.  You cannot establish a clear boundary successfully if you send a mixed message by apologizing for doing so.  Be firm, clear and respectful.
  • Most people are willing to respect your boundaries, but some are not.  Be prepared to be firm about your boundaries when they are not being respected.  If necessary, put up a wall by ending the relationship.
  • Learning to set healthy boundaries takes time.  It is a process.  You will set boundaries when you are ready.  It’s your growth in your own time frame, not what someone else tells you.  Let your counselor, coach or support group help you with pace and process.
  • Develop a support system of people who respect your right to set boundaries.  Eliminate toxic persons from your life – those who want to manipulate you, abuse you, and or control you.

Setting healthy boundaries allows your true self to emerge – and what an exciting journey it is!

For more on healthy living with a positive approach click here to get a complimentary online hand-guide of “The Livings Key Principles – For Creating Wholeness, Peace and Health from the Inside Out!”

~ Gena Livings


  1. Thank you for this insightful information. I have had people that did not pay attention to my boundaries and it is not very pleasant when that happens.

    • Hi Cindy,
      I agree that when people are not respectful of our boundaries that it is often unpleasant.
      It’s always good to be as clear as possible when defining boundaries so that people fully understand where “not” to cross the line.
      The people who respect boundaries are the ones who have good boundaries themselves and who will add value, rather than take it, from your life.

      Thank you for commenting today!
      Healthy blessings,

  2. I used to be a “people pleaser” so I can identify with your post about boundaries (or lack of them) very well. Great advise on how to establish some boundaries and why. Thanks Gena.
    Sheryl Siler recently posted…Journal Past Your ProblemsMy Profile

    • Hi Sheryl,

      Thank you so very much for your comment as this is often the case for most people who have a hard time establishing clear and healthy boundaries.

      A people pleaser can often lack the proper amount of self-respect to be self-assertive enough to establish clear and healthy boundaries. This sets a people pleaser up to be taken advantage of by people who are not respectful of others well-being.

      There is a big difference between being a naturally nice person, and being a people pleaser.
      Nice people don’t have a problem setting boundaries and asserting their own wants and needs.
      They don’t let others push them too far and they don’t do things they’re uncomfortable with.

      People pleasers are far more likely to suffer discomfort as long as it makes someone else happy.

      The book, “Where You End and I Begin,” by Anne Katherine is a wonderful resource to help people establish healthy boundaries.

      Thank you again Sheryl and healthy blessings,
      Gena 🙂

  3. I love your information.
    This post made me think….a lot!

    • Thank you Sophie!!!
      I’m so glad this article made its way to you today.

      Healthy blessings,
      Gena 🙂

  4. Love this post! I am a people pleaser and have worked with boundaries over the years. I really loved this line in your post: “You do not need “friends” who disrespect your boundaries.”
    Trish recently posted…Movie Review: 20 Feet from StardomMy Profile

    • Hi Trish
      Thank you so much for your comment today! YES, indeed! You do not need friends who disrespect your boundaries.

      Your comment inspired me to list some warning signs of a people pleaser personality below my comment. This will help others identify this characteristic.

      Thanks again for sharing in this conversation Trish,

      Healthy blessings,

      Characteristics of a people pleaser:

      Do you yearn for external validation?
      Do you worry about what people will think about you if you say no?
      Do people always ask you for favors because they know they can count on you to say yes?
      Do you worry that people won’t like you if you say no?
      Do you think you might be rejected or alienated if you say no?
      Do you consistently put the well-being of others in front of your own well-being, regardless of the damage done to yourself?
      Do you often feel resentful towards others?
      Are you passive aggressive about your resentfulness?
      Do you wonder if others are actively taking advantage of you – weather they mean to or not?
      Do you often offer yourself to others’ because you feel invisible?
      Do you feel inadequate in and of yourself?
      Do you believe conflict with others is always a bad thing?
      Are you positive that you do more than what’s required from you for everyone?
      Do you have a hard time recognizing the difference between being needed and being loved?
      Do you lack confidence in what you do? Do you have a hard time taking credit for success?
      Do you often overcommit and overpromise?
      Would you rather be dishonest than be the source of disapproval?
      Is ‘being selfish’ one of the worst possible traits anyone could attribute to you?
      Do you wonder why everyone treats you disrespectfully when you’re so nice?
      Are you often plagued by guilt when you physically can’t do something for someone?

      If anyone identifies with these characteristics the first thing is, and always will be, for you to believe that you are just as valuable as everyone else around you. Learn how to stand in your power by establishing clear and healthy boundaries with the help of people who love and support you!!

  5. Dear Gena,

    This sounds like very valuable information for people as they are in the process of improving their lives.

    It would probably give someone great relief to first decide what they want in their life and then stick to it.

    Great post.


    Kathy Hadley recently posted…Join The Manifesting Miracles Adventure – Day 2 – VibrationMy Profile

    • Dear Kathy,

      Thank you so much for your comment.

      I completely agree with you that getting “clear” is the KEY ingredient towards creating a lifetime of peace and well-being.

      For so many people, however, this is a “process of discovery” that eventually leads us towards our highest self.

      God/Love – (The Infinite Intelligence) is always on our side – moving us towards higher ground.

      Healthy blessings,

  6. Gena, this is a wonderful article. Very informative and insightful.

    It is so true that people will test those boundaries. I’ve seen it countless times as a teacher. But, like you said, one must remain firm, calm, clear, and consistent when communicating those boundaries to those who would try to take advantage.

    Great post! I’m interested in reading Anne Katherine’s book. Thanks for the lead.

    Penny McDaniel recently posted…The Great State Of AppreciationMy Profile

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