Professional boundaries in social work and other helping professions are limits in therapeutic relationships, but boundaries are also important in other kinds of relationships. Depending on one’s upbringing and past experience, setting boundaries in relationships may be easier for some people to set than others. All healthy relationships have boundaries, which are the line where one person ends and someone else begins. Boundaries in relationships can be likened to boundaries around states. One feature of a healthy sense of self or identity is the way people understand and work with boundaries. Personal boundaries are the limits set in relationships that allow people to protect themselves. Good boundaries protect people from abuse and pave the way to achieve self-worth and connection to others. On the other hand, in less healthy boundaries, a person assumes that another person feels the same way that they do. The one person ignores the effects of violating the other person’s boundary. Thus, setting boundaries includes having a sense of oneself, maintaining self-care, allowing others to live on their own terms, and developing healthier, more sustainable relationships.
When a person has a sense of self-awareness they can more easily set boundaries. People need to know what they like and dislike, what they are comfortable with versus what scares them, and how they want to be treated in any given situation. This is the case of a couple, Steve and Ann, who have been married for 45 years. They talk openly and honestly about what they need from each other. Ann says that Steve plans to paint their dining room and she says, ”I guess that he’ll get around to it when he has a chance.” She does not have to repe...
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...low us to protect themselves. They let those around them know what is acceptable and not acceptable. Before a person can have a relationship with someone else, they need to have a sense of themselves. This includes knowing their needs and wants in life. In addition, people need to take care of themselves. They cannot expect anyone else to do this for them. Also, accepting and respecting other people’s decisions about how they choose to live their lives is a must. Even if a person does not agree with how someone choices to live, it is no one else’s responsibility to make them change. Finally, building healthy relationships can make people feel less isolated and more a part of something bigger than themselves. As humans, we are created to be in relationships. Still, having limits in relationships is a life skill that comes from having a good sense of one’s self-worth.
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In Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinso, Categorical Confines: Societal Boundaries in Opposition of Happiness
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