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A Guide to Setting and Keeping Boundaries

            Boundaries are an important part of self-care and can make us feel empowered and mitigate stress. Put simply, boundaries assist us in identifying where one person ends and another begins. Ideally, boundaries should be clear and flexible-- not too porous nor too rigid. Rigid boundaries often are overly protective of the self, which can result in isolation and 'keeping others out.' Porous boundaries, on the other hand, may be too loose and make it more difficult to get needs met.

            Boundaries may be divided into different types, for example, physical, sexual, intellectual, emotional and material. Physical boundaries protect an individuals' personal space, while sexual boundaries may be considered what an individual is comfortable sharing in an intimate setting. Emotional boundaries relate to what an individual is comfortable sharing in the emotional realm-- think feelings, emotions, worries, and desires, while intellectual boundaries are primarily related to personal thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. Material boundaries refer to setting limits on material resources, such as money, possessions, and even time. Keeping these in mind, is there a particular area that you feel lack boundaries in your life? Read on to find out how to proactively set these.

            Setting boundaries involves being clear, direct, and firm. If you are new to boundary setting, consider starting small, practicing often, and building up to setting bigger boundaries. Additionally, it is helpful to be guided by our own values when considering setting a boundary and know what goals we have in mind. Setting boundaries can feel challenging, however, they are a necessary part of self-care and protecting our own mental wellness.

By Jade Caswell, Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern

Need more help creating or enforcing boundaries? Call us today at 813-335-9794... We look forward to hearing from you!


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