A life without limits means rarely saying "no" and considering everyone else's feelings before your own. Not only are these people-pleasing habits wholly exhausting, they put you on the direct road to burnout, a major health hazard in its own right.
We consulted boundaries expert Chad Buck, a clinical psychologist at Vanderbilt University's Work/Life Employee Assistance Program, on the life-changing power of establishing a clear-cut view of what you're willing to tolerate. Below are a few great things that happen when you learn to set your own limits:
1. You're more self-aware.
Self awareness is the art of recognizing your needs and feelings as your own, and not tied to any person or your environment. Creating your own limitations is an inherently self-aware act — and that can be incredibly beneficial for your own welfare.
2. You become a better friend and partner.
Boundaries make it possible to allow yourself to recharge. And when you're not totally tapped out, you have more energy to devote to the ones you love.
3. You take better care of yourself.
Boundaries help you prioritize your own well-being — plain and simple.
4. You're less stressed.
Without establishing your own limits, you open yourself up to the risk of taking on everyone's problems in addition to your own. Or worse, you ignore your own happenings entirely. If you have a reasonable boundary, you don't take on additional stress.
5. You're a better communicator.
In order to really establish limits, you have to state what you can or cannot tolerate, Buck said. That means being clear and concise. Expressing your own needs will also allow you to be more transparent. All of these characteristics are elements of good communication.
6. You start trusting people more.
Expressing your limitations to others means you're trusting them to handle those emotions you’re conveying, Buck said. And more trust means better relationships.
7. You're less angry.
When you don't have set boundaries, it means that gives other people the power over your own life — and that can lead to anger.
8. You learn how to say "no."
"No" may be a small word but it's certainly powerful. The most basic way of establishing a boundary is declining anything you don't have the capacity to handle.
9. You end up doing things you actually want to do.
Limits free you up for more opportunity to do the work and activities that you actually desire to do.
10. You become a more understanding person.
When you're compassionate toward yourself about what you can tolerate, you're better able to express that to other people who have their own boundaries they want to follow.