Understanding These 9 Core Boundaries For Your Mental Health
When I was a teenager, my mom gave me something called “Boundaries“. I remember sitting on the couch and reading it for hours. It made me feel like an empowered and mature person, even though I had no idea what these boundaries were or why they were so important.
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This book taught me that boundaries are the invisible lines between you and other people—lines that shouldn't be crossed. If we don't respect our own boundaries, sooner or later we'll have problems with others as well. That's why it's so important to live by nine core boundaries in all areas of your life:
1. Core Boundaries: I will say no to things beyond my capabilities
When you say no to things that are beyond your capabilities, you create space in your life for the things that matter most. You do this by focusing on the things that are truly important and saying yes to them.
When you say no to something that is not in your best interest or in control of, there is room for other opportunities and experiences to come into play. The more opportunities there are available, the higher probability one will be able to fulfill their purpose.
2. I will not spend time with someone who controls me on their terms
- You need to have boundaries for your mental health.
- You can't spend time with someone who controls you on their terms.
- You need to be in control of your life, time and relationships.
- You need to be in control of your emotions and actions as well.
3.Core Boundaries: I will not emotionally influence others
- Being a people pleaser is the antithesis of emotional influence. You want to help others and give them whatever they need, but this will only lead you down the path of being a martyr or victim. You should be aware that people are just as much responsible for their emotions as you are, so don't take on their burdens or try to fix everything in everyone else's life.
- Do your best to ensure that your core boundaries aren't being breached by another person. If someone is violating those boundaries, speak up and say no! If they continue pressuring or ignoring you after several attempts at communication, it may be time to move on from that relationship.
4. I will leave any relationship that is abusive
You deserve to be in a relationship that is healthy, safe, loving and respectful. If you find yourself in any type of abusive relationship with someone then it is important for you to leave them.
There are many different types of abuse that can occur in relationships. Some examples are verbal, emotional and physical abuse. If your partner has ever done any of these things then it might be time for you to end the relationship and seek help from friends or family members or a therapist so that they can help guide you through this difficult time in your life.
5. Core Boundaries: I will not tolerate lies
- I will not tolerate lies.
- I will not tolerate disrespect.
- I will not tolerate abuse.
- I will not tolerate abuse of my time, money, body or mind.
- To live a life with truth and integrity means having your boundaries in place so that you are protected from these things!
6. I will not say YES to everything
You'll need to set boundaries, limits and know what you can and cannot do. It's easy to say yes to everything, but in order to stay sane, you also have to know when it's time for a break.
You may even find that saying NO is a good thing if it means more time for your family or friends.
7. I will not let people disrespect me
It's important to understand that this boundary doesn't mean you have to react negatively at all times. If someone treats you in a way that is not acceptable, stand up for yourself and let them know they crossed the line. But don't get into an argument every time someone says something rude or negative towards you.
That will only create more tension between the two of you, and leave everyone feeling worse off than before. The goal here is not to win arguments; rather it's about setting clear expectations for how people should respect your needs, feelings, and space when interacting with you (as well as yourself).
8. I will not compromise my boundaries
- You are not a doormat. You should never allow yourself to be used or abused by anyone.
- When someone tells you what to do, they're not being helpful—they're being controlling. If you don't want their advice, simply say so, and keep moving forward in the direction that makes you feel good about yourself.
- Your thoughts belong exclusively to you! If someone else is trying to tell you how they think things should go down, they aren't interested in the best way for everyone involved—they want control over your life (and probably theirs too).
9. I will not chase after people that reject me.
You don’t have to chase people who don’t want to be with you. I know it’s hard, but it is your job as a boundary-keeper to let go of people that are toxic for you. You might be in love with a person that doesn't love you back, or maybe they just aren't ready to commit yet. Maybe your partner has other priorities in their life and cannot give the time or energy required for a relationship right now—that's okay! Let them go in peace and move on with your life.
It is also important not to chase after friends who reject us because of our boundaries; when someone decides they don't want to be friends anymore because they can't accept or respect our standards, it's best not to try making them change their mind or fight for friendship against their will (if they really wanted friendship, then those boundaries wouldn't bother them).
If you take care of your boundaries, they'll take care of you.
They're also a way to say “this is who I am” and “this is what I will do.”
Boundaries remind you of your values, which means that if someone crosses them, it's a sign that person isn't respecting your boundaries or being kind or honest with you. You may have already had experiences where people crossed your boundaries and it hurt—but we can't always avoid having bad things happen in life. The goal isn’t to avoid all pain; it's just to make sure that when bad things happen to us, they're at least within our control (or as close as possible). It's important not only because we deserve better but because when people cross our boundaries, they're also hurting themselves!
Hope These 9 Core Boundaries You Need Helped
I hope this article has inspired you to take stock of the boundaries that you have in place. You may notice that some of your boundaries are broken, or others may be strong and need maintenance. Treating yourself with care is an important step to creating a life you love!
About the Author
Randi Owsley, LMSW is a Licensed Master of Social Worker and clinical psychotherapist and co-host of the podcast Unapologetically Randi and Jess. She has her Masters of Clinical Social Work from the University of Southern California. She specializes in Women's Mental Health Issues, Trauma, Grief and Personality Disorders. You can find more information about her at randiowsley.com and heyrandi.com