Scottsdale Acupuncture


The Need For Interpersonal Boundaries

Posted Saturday, November 22nd, 2014 by

boundaries, scottsdale, acupuncture, relationships, conflict, needs

One topic that is discussed quite often with patients at Above & Beyond Acupuncture is the need to establish boundaries. Setting up boundaries within interpersonal relationships is essential, as it provides the necessary framework for what is appropriate and inappropriate. The majority of relationships people have are geared toward getting their needs met, while also being able to fulfill the needs of others. This is a prime reason why setting boundaries is necessary—to make it possible for everyone’s needs to be met.

What are boundaries?

Before we delve into the importance of boundaries, it’s best to have a basic understanding of what they are. The most basic definition is that boundaries are limits that you create—within the context of interpersonal relationships—that are designed to protect you. When we speak of being protected, we mean that your needs must be prioritized, while still respecting the needs of others. It’s important to protect those needs and make sure they are not being overlooked. In certain situations it can become very easy for the needs of one person to take precedence over another, which is why having clearly defined boundaries is important.

Why do I need boundaries?

Strong and proper boundaries will prevent you from being taken advantage of (and possibly abused), as these boundaries will clearly define what is acceptable and what is not. This is especially important for “people pleasers”—those people who habitually put others’ needs ahead of their own. Oftentimes these are the people most likely to be taken advantage of, as they either lack boundaries altogether, or the boundaries they have set are not sufficiently strong or properly defined. Learning to say no is an important tool when it comes to developing and maintaining relationship boundaries. This can be challenging for those who have become accustomed to serving other people’s needs. In a previous blog series titled “Learning To Say No,” we presented information on this subject and provided some useful tools that can be used to strengthen boundaries. We suggest you take some time to read that blog, especially if you find it difficult to say no to the people in your life.

If you suffer from low self-esteem or have difficulty placing value on your own needs, then perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the relationships you have in your life. Think about how you are being treated. Ask if your feelings and needs are being prioritized. You should also take some time to think about how (and if) these relationships are serving you and if they bring value to your life. If you discover that your needs are not being met within one or more of your relationships, then it’s important to implement boundaries that will ensure you are being properly respected. This may prove difficult, depending upon the nature of the other person and how the relationship developed. Regardless of the specifics, it’s important that the people in your life understand your needs—and are willing to help fulfill them.

How can having boundaries improve my life?

When you’re involved in interpersonal relationships, it’s essential that the other person knows what you want, how you feel, what you expect, and what you’re willing to do. In return, you should want to know and respect the boundaries and desires of that other person. This information provides the foundation for strong relationships built on mutual respect. When disagreements arise, having boundaries in place allows for more amicable resolutions. It also helps to prevent “accidental” oversteps, where an otherwise-healthy relationship might be unnecessarily damaged or even permanently ruined.

Having boundaries is important, and we hope that after reading this blog you will take some time to think about whether you need to establish (or strengthen) them in any of your relationships.