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Boundaries in Relationships

Boundaries in relationships can be defined as the limits we set with people, which indicate what we find acceptable and unacceptable in their behavior towards us. The ability to know our boundaries generally comes from a healthy sense of self-worth, or valuing our self in a way that is not contingent on other people or the feelings they have toward us. Self-worth is finding intrinsic value in who we are, so that we can be aware of our intellectual, emotional, physical, social and spiritual worth, as well as our boundaries.

The ability to set healthy boundaries comes from knowing oneself. The act of setting healthy boundaries is an act of honoring oneself. Since we are all unique, our boundaries will be also. Therefore, we can never assume we know what is acceptable in a relationship—friendship or otherwise. We can find this information through approaching one another with respect and a willingness to understand.

When it comes to boundaries, our task is two-fold. First, we must clearly define our own boundaries, and second, we must express them, when necessary, to those we are in relationship with. With a healthy sense of self-worth, this task can flow easefully.