Why You Must Learn to Set Boundaries

There’s a lot of need in the world, and thus opportunities to help others are endless. Helping other people is generous and necessary. However, you can’t meet the needs of everyone at all times. Thus, you must decide when it’s appropriate to help and when it’s not: you must set boundaries.

Let’s face it. If you don’t set boundaries, people will—often unintentionally and innocently—besiege your life and assail it with their requests and demands. Some will force their agenda on you and dump tasks and assignments on you until your life is completely out of your hands. As a result, you’ll be exhausted and stressed out of your mind. You’ll feel powerless and at the mercy of other people’s whims, and your life will be out of control.

It’s not other people’s responsibility to determine when you have enough on your plate. It’s not their responsibility to know when they’re infringing on your time. It’s your responsibility to set boundaries and say when enough is enough. You have to set boundaries and unapologetically let others know when they step out of bounds; you’re not obliged to comply with anyone’s wishes.

Be particularly careful not to take responsibility for people who ought to take responsibility for themselves. It’s one thing to support people who can’t care for themselves, such as babies, some elderly persons, or people with a disability. It’s a whole other thing to carry the load for people who won’t take responsibility for themselves when nothing prevents them from doing so. The first group is unable; the second is unwilling. Big difference!

Bailing people out isn’t always the right thing to do. Sometimes, the only way they learn to take personal responsibility is when they have to face the consequences of their actions.

We all face challenges, and at one time or another, need help to make it through. Helping others during hard times is noble. However, when a behavior is recurring (e.g., someone continually asking for money to bail him or her out), it signals a deeper issue, and the person should take responsibility for it. You can help others carry their burden, but don’t feed their irresponsibility.

As a side note, perhaps you’re that person who always pleads with friends and family to bail you out. If so, it’s time to take responsibility for yourself.

Learning to set boundaries is vital if you hope to do great work and achieve great results in your life. When you set boundaries, you define how you permit others to treat you, you create your breathing space, and protect your time (and your sanity).

About The Author

Vladimir Elie

I help people learn and apply success principles and strategies so that they can get the results they want in life.