What Are Healthy Boundaries?

According to IPFW/Parkview Student Assistance Program:

“A boundary is a limit or space between you and the other person; a clear place where you begin and the other person ends . . . The purpose of setting a healthy boundary is, of course, to protect and take good care of you” (n.d.).

In general, “Healthy boundaries are those boundaries that are set to make sure mentally and emotionally you are stable” (Prism Health North Texas, n.d.). Another way to think about it is that “Our boundaries might be rigid, loose, somewhere in between, or even nonexistent. A complete lack of boundaries may indicate that we don’t have a strong identity or are enmeshed with someone else” (Cleantis, 2017).

Healthy boundaries can serve to establish one’s identity. Specifically, healthy boundaries can help people define their individuality and can help people indicate what they will and will not hold themselves responsible for.

While boundaries are often psychological or emotional, boundaries can also be physical. For example, declining physical contact from a coworker is setting an important boundary, one that’s just as crucial as setting an emotional boundary, i.e., asking that same coworker not to make unreasonable demands on your time or emotions.

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