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Boundaries is a pretty big buzzword that gets thrown around a lot lately. But what exactly does setting boundaries look like, and how will it benefit you? Well, I am glad you asked.

Boundaries are imaginary lines that separate us from other people. They protect our personal space, our feelings and also limit the behaviors of other people towards us. For example, when someone continuously comes over to your house, without notice, and it becomes a problem, setting a boundary would look like asking them to phone ahead before coming over.

It’s a personal property line, and you are the property, if that makes sense. With all of that being said, there are several ways setting boundaries can improve and make your life better. If you don’t start setting boundaries, it will eventually cause you to become drained, taken advantage of, and worse.

Here are 12 ways setting boundaries will improve your life.

1. Increased self-awareness.

When you begin to set limits with others, you will also start to become more aware of your personal needs. In turn, you will find that with practice, you will be able to recognize your feelings and needs, because you will finally achieve separation from your thoughts/feelings and the thoughts/feelings of others.

2. Less energy drain.

By setting boundaries, you will feel far less drained. It’s extremely draining to always be trying to appease others, but at the end of the day, everyone has their limits. When you set these limits, rather than waiting until you are at your wit’s end, you will find that your overall mindset will improve ten-fold.

3. You won’t get taken advantage of.

Rather than waiting until you have been taken advantage of, when we set boundaries we prevent this from happening in the first place. There will be times in which someone slips by, that is unavoidable, but when you implement boundaries it will happen much less.

4. Less stress.

When you begin to focus on your state of mind and well-being and set limits to preserve it, your stress will decrease. Because you aren’t running around trying to appease everyone, but instead prioritize your energy, you will feel immensely better.

5. You will understand people’s motives better.

By learning healthy boundaries, you will be able to understand people’s motives much easier. Because of this, you will understand where you should and shouldn’t spend your energy and who you should help and who you may need to limit.

6. Better communication.

And when you begin setting boundaries, communication becomes so much clearer. Because you learn how and when to express your thoughts and feelings, you also learn how to communicate your needs.

7. Improved inner peace.

Perhaps one of the best reasons to set boundaries is to preserve your inner peace. It’s hard to maintain mental clarity and peace when you allow people to run all over you. But, when you place limits and maintain your boundaries, you will find your life becomes more peaceful.

8. Less anger and resentment.

When your life becomes more peaceful, you harbor less anger and resentment towards others. When we allow others to take advantage of us, it’s easy to resent them and begin feeling resentful towards others in general. But, when you begin implementing boundaries, that resentment begins to dissipate.

9. You respect yourself more.

And when you set standards with others, rather than allowing them to invade your personal space, you have far more respect for yourself. Why? Because when you set this standard with others, you also set it with yourself.

10. Improved self-esteem.

When we regard ourselves highly enough to demand respect from others, our self-esteem also improves. This happens because we begin to see ourselves as worthy of respect and worthy of those boundaries, and that by itself is almost the very definition of self-esteem.

11. You become a better friend and partner.

Clinical psychologist Chad Buck spoke with the Huffington Post about boundaries and according to him, “If you don’t set the limit, then others will set it for you or just ignore that you have limits,” Buck said. “Research has shown that people with less effective limits or boundaries are more likely to violate the boundaries of others, as well.” So, boundaries allow us to allocate our energy to those who are a priority to us, and also, if we don’t set boundaries, it’s likely we will have a hard time recognizing other people’s boundaries. I thought that was pretty interesting.

12. You learn how to say no.

No can seem like a really hard thing to say, especially if you want to make others happy. But, the word is quite powerful and the more you use it, the easier it will become for you to use it more often because you will find that people are pretty respectful of honesty. And rather than saying yes to appease someone and then not following through, it’s much better to just say no.