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How to Set Healthy Boundaries

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

Setting boundaries may be the greatest self-care act one can do for themselves

First Step Men's Therapy helps men across Ontario, Canada develop healthier relationships with themselves and others. We offer individual, couples, and group counselling to men and their families online using our secure telehealth platform.


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What are boundaries and why are they important?


Boundaries are defined as the walls one creates within themselves (personal/mental/emotional) to protect them from being manipulated/used/violated by another person. Having healthy personal boundaries means one has developed a strong sense of self-worth, self-respect and a healthy self image and respect the boundaries of others.


Boundaries are a way to feel safe, secure, loved, and present


Boundaries are important for a variety of reasons. They help us with self-care, defining roles in relationships, communicate with is acceptable and what is not, help us find clarity, and allow for expectations to be set about how we want to be treated by others.


Common challenges can arise when we have difficulty with boundaries


Examples of common challenges around boundaries:

  • Sharing deep personal information to strangers without building trust/intimacy

  • Touching others without permission

  • Having difficulty saying “no” to others

  • Taking care of or feeling responsible for others while at the cost of your own care

  • Not speaking up when another is talking poorly about you

  • Feeling guilty for doing something for yourself

  • You feel underappreciated when helping others

  • You feel you must be nice to others to gain their respect and attention

Boundaries that are violated or not respected often lead to:

  • resentment

  • poor self-care

  • avoidance

  • overwhelm

  • low self-esteem

Setting boundaries are often difficult for some of us to maintain or keep if:

  • you fear being rude or mean

  • you are a people-pleaser and have a hard time saying no

  • you get a sense of identity and value in being helpful to others

  • you are anxious about setting boundaries with others

  • you don't know where to even begin

Setting boundaries requires:

  • Being clear about what you want to say

  • Stating needs or requests

  • Sitting with the discomfort that this may produce

  • Use "I" statements to affirm and state your requests - (i.e. I need or I feel)

Therapy can help to understand and develop healthier understanding around boundaries


Therapy usually requires exploration into what are healthy versus unhealthy boundaries and assists in working on the roots of poor boundaries (family-of-origin work, trauma work, intimacy, attachment wounds, and low self-esteem) are just some examples of underlying boundary work.


Want to learn more?


Low Self-Esteem Therapy: Click here

Anger Therapy: Click here

Anxiety Therapy: Click here

Father Wound Therapy: Click here


Why am I so angry blog post: Click here


First Step Men's Therapy works with men to better understand themselves and others, including how to set healthier boundaries. We work with men for anxiety therapy, anger therapy, addiction therapy, self-esteem therapy, and depression therapy - to name a few. We work across Ontario through our virtual platform so that if you are in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Oakville, Kingston, Ottawa, London, Hamilton, Barrie, Sudbury, North Bay, Thunder Bay, Peterborough, Kitchener-Waterloo, St. Catherine's, Niagara Falls, Oshawa, Pickering, or anywhere in between - you can get help today!


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