The Importance of Emotional Boundaries


Annika Nordquist, In-Depth Writer

Emotional boundaries can set one up for success in any relationship. Boundaries are healthy limits that are meant to establish what a person is or is not comfortable with. They help regulate the amount of emotional energy that can be spent on relationships, and certain tasks. Setting boundaries clarifies what is and what is not yours to deal with. Boundaries are meant to protect the people who are setting them. They are meant to serve as helpful emotional navigation tools. 


The healthiest emotional boundaries are more internally focused on one’s own behavior as opposed to changing the behavior of another person. Emotional boundaries protect your self-esteem and your ability to distinguish your emotions from others.


 Healthy emotional boundaries are based upon emotional independence, self-care, (prioritizing your needs and goals over pleasing other people) and taking responsibility for your actions.  Emotionally independent people have the ability to find validation within themselves instead of others, which creates a healthy level of separation in relationships as emotional independence allows people to freely be themselves. Grounded in authenticity, emotional independence actually strengthens relationships between people. Emotional independence allows a person to leave a situation if respect is not being served. People-pleasing reinforces codependency and a host of unhealthy relationship dynamics. Prioritizing yourself and your needs is not a selfish act, but a courageous one. It shows that you respect yourself and it encourages healthy social skills, such as communication and self-advocating (both of which are vital in order to obtain a healthy relationship of any kind). These skills open the door for immense emotional growth as they promote striving for a healthier emotional state of mind. Taking responsibility for your own actions is not only a healthy way to begin to let go of the intense emotions associated with making mistakes, but it also displays the respect that you have for other people and their boundaries; setting boundaries regarding responsibility assists in creating a fair and equal relationship. The act of instilling emotional boundaries ensures distance from oneself and others as needed. 


Boundaries increase self-awareness, contentment in relationships (of any kind), compassion, understanding and communication. Boundaries are an incredible form of self-care that are clinically proven to increase the quality of life.