Personal Boundaries For Healthy Self-Esteem

One of the important markers of healthy self-esteem is the ability to set personal boundaries for yourself – and to maintain them.  Keeping boundaries intact reflects a sense of self strong enough to be able to take a stand against unacceptable behaviour from others.  The limits you set are not always going to be well received by others, but they are essential for your own peace of mind and happiness. 

Anytime you feel someone has taken advantage of you in some way where you did nothing to stop it, you are diminishing your personal integrity.  And that doesn`t feel good.  It can lead to feelings of worthlessness, anger, resentment, hurt and shame.  These are all feelings that eventually lead to lowered self-esteem.  The lower your self-esteem, the more you allow unacceptable behaviour, and the worse you feel in turn.

It takes some courage to establish personal boundaries, in particular where none existed before.  People may have gotten used to relating to you in a certain way.  And there is no doubt that putting limits on the behaviours of others toward you can in the short-term result in damaged relationships.  It may in fact lead to the termination of some of those relationships.  But if you maintain clear boundaries consistently, and explain them calmly so others can understand, you will keep those relationships that are worth keeping, and in fact gain the respect of others.  There is  always room for compromise in boundary-keeping, and ideally they are somewhat flexible, but there should be no room for accepting behaviours that don`t feel right to you.  Your personal boundaries define you as an individual and sticking to them consistently will make you a better and more fulfilled person.  And being a happier and more fulfilled person will lead to more positive relationships.  Everyone wins.

There are several types of personal boundaries, but generally speaking, limits can and should be put on anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, ashamed, humiliated, insulted, angry, or upset in some way.

Personal boundaries work both ways of course.  Becoming aware of and learning to respect others` boundaries is equally important in building close and strong relationships.

This entry was posted in Mental Health, Personal Boundaries, Personal Growth, Self-Esteem and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Personal Boundaries For Healthy Self-Esteem

  1. Nina Renee says:

    Great post. I’ve gotten a lot better with setting personal boundaries. Sometimes it’s frustrating when I know I’m dealing with particularly stubborn or spoiled people, but I’ve learned that I have a right to be respected and to say no.

    • lthibault11 says:

      Agreed. It is more difficult with a certain type of personality. However, they are normally the type that you need to set boundaries for the most! It takes an on-going effort, but I know from experience.. it pays off in the end. 🙂 Thanks for commenting.

  2. AN says:

    So true about setting personal boundaries. I think that one of the hardest things for me is to say “no”. Whether it be in my personal life or at work, simply put – I just find it difficult to set boundaries. Funny enough I respect the personal boundaries of others but I feel a sense of guilt when it comes to setting my own boundaries. The fear of uspetting someone by setting personal boundaries has nonetheless come at a cost. There have been many times where I have felt overwhelmed at work or even in my personal life because I just couldn’t say “no”. This of course had lead to feelings of resentment in certain cases or even overall irritation and the once fond feelings for the individual(s) involved had even become somewhat hostile. It took a lot for me to understand that setting personal boundaries is not a negative thing but rather a basic human right that contributes to protecting our personal growth. Recently, I have made the decision to set my guilt aside and set personal boundaries. At first, it wasn’t received lightly by certain individuals but it was only a matter of time before they realized that they had no choice but to accept my decision. I must admit, it was a little awkward at first for both myself and the individuals involved but it worked out in the end. “Sticking to my guns” was far from easy at first but in the long run it made me a happier person and in turn has permitted me to positively contribute to my relationships.

    • lthibault11 says:

      Very well-said AN! I am beyond thrilled that you have found a way to set some much needed personal boundaries in your life. It takes considerable courage, but I know that you will be more comfortable in your skin for doing so. No doubt there will be an initial backlash, but I am confident that in due course, your actions will lead to others’ respecting you and the choices that you make in your life. Those who are not able or willing to accept the boundaries that you need to set may have to face the loss of you in the end. The ones who count will stick around. I am so proud of you.

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