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Boundaries Are Necessary — Here’s How You Set Them

Written by: Gurpreet Kaur, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Whenever I bring up the word boundaries in counseling and coaching, my clients cringe. Rightfully so. Setting and keeping boundaries is an art on its own. But once you learn this art, it can be a lifesaver for your physical and mental health. Being able to be firm on your boundaries is a crucial part of mental hygiene and self-care.

What is a boundary?

According to the APA, a boundary is a psychological border that protects the integrity of an individual that helps the person set realistic limits on participation in a relationship or activity. A boundary helps you maintain a good self-care routine that protects your energy.

Who are boundaries for?

Some boundaries are only for you to sit with yourself. Not all boundaries need to be blasted to others. In fact, 80% of the boundaries are things that you decide to do, be, or have. It has nothing to do with others. These boundaries are drawn from being kind and compassionate towards yourself. For example, making the decision to sleep at a set time on weeknights helps you say “No” to anything that contradicts that decision. Or setting a certain time to exercise, for example. Whenever a conflict arises, you know what to choose immediately. You don’t need to tell people that you exercise at this time. You simply say “No” to the things that conflict with that boundary.

Then there are boundaries that you have to communicate with others like your partner, parents, colleagues, or kids. When there is a conflict of interest, you simply and politely assert your wants and needs to the other person. Please be aware that this part might be particularly challenging for you to face because you might have to face resistance from the other person. People don’t like change, but you are not responsible for making them feel better about your boundaries. It is their job to cope with your boundaries. Don’t try to make it easier for them.

How to set boundaries?

1. Start with being kind and compassionate towards yourself. You have to know what your needs and wants are so you can make a plan to meet those needs. It is solely your job to meet your needs. Do not leave it up to your partner, kids, or parents to make you happy. First, know what will make you happy, help you feel relaxed, or needed for you to succeed. For example, Deepsha was stuck at home last year during COVID as she started her first year of med school.

Being from an Asian Indian family, she knew what it could mean to school from home. Indian parents want to know how their kids are doing on every single exam, even when kids become independent adults. Deepsha knew that this would drive her crazy and even hurt her performance because she will feel the pressure. Another thing Deepsha knew that would make her “insane” is her mom checking on her every hour, even if it is to eat. In a situation like this, you first have to realize that there are some real consequences if you don’t set the boundaries. These boundaries are really needed. Otherwise, you face some serious ramifications either now or later in life. Therefore, start with being understanding and compassionate towards yourself that you are doing this to protect your integrity; otherwise, you are headed in harm’s way.

2. The next thing you have to do is to show up for yourself. Showing up for yourself means you respect your boundaries. It means you consistently practice your boundaries. It increases your self-confidence and overall self-worth. Check out this article on how lack of self-love can hurt your self-worth. The actual purpose of setting boundaries is to convey to others that you are a separate independent person with unique interests, goals, and dreams. Boundaries help you protect them all.

3. Then, expect some resistance on the way. Whenever you set a new boundary, you will face some resistance from others and yourself. That’s right, even yourself. New boundaries mean you are trying something new. It is new territory for you, so your self-concept hasn’t matched with the new identity yet. In fact, that’s the reason you needed to set a new boundary in the first place so you can practice becoming comfortable with the new identity.

4. This step requires you to practice it again and again as long as needed. That’s right. You will have to keep redirecting people and maybe yourself for more than once. As I said, we all resist change. It is difficult to cope with the unknown till it becomes known. Keep reminding people about your boundaries so they can get used to them.

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Gurpreet Kaur, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dr. Gurpreet Kaur is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Life Coach, Speaker, and an Author. Dr. Kaur is very passionate about self-love, self-empowerment, wellness, reaching the full potential, and applying quantum mechanics principles to daily life. Dr. Kaur teaches a step-by-step self-care process to live a mentally and emotionally healthy life.



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