Why we need to set boundaries

How to hold yourself accountable and find what matters most to you.

Charlie Perkins.png
Charlie Perkins.

We all need boundaries. They keep us safe and distinguish me from you. They help us focus on what’s most important to us. And they improve relationships by generating explicit expectancies and responsibilities.

But it can be difficult to presume what limits you need to set. One way to identify boundaries is to think about the areas where you’re experiencing problems. For example, do you constantly feel exhausted? Do you feel uncomfortable around your coworker? Do you feel annoyed by your mother's intrusions? Each of these problems tells you lack boundaries in this area of your life. So, what limits do you need? Consider these boundaries:

  • Physical Boundaries 

Physical boundaries defend your space and body, your right to not be touched, privacy, and to meet your physical needs such as relaxing or eating.

  • Sexual Boundaries   

Sexual boundaries protect your right to approve, to ask for what you enjoy sexually, and to be honest about your partner's sexual history.

  • Emotional or Mental Boundaries 

Emotional or mental boundaries protect your claim to declare your feelings and thoughts, not to be criticized or invalidated, and not to take care of other people’s feelings.


  • Spiritual or Religious Boundaries 

Spiritual boundaries protect your right to trust in what you want, worship as you desire, and exercise your spiritual or religious beliefs.

  • Financial and Material Boundaries 

Financial and material boundaries protect your financial means and possessions, your right to use your money as you choose, to not give or loan your money or possessions if you don’t want to, and your request to be paid by an employer as agreed. I encourage you to hold yourself accountable for creating boundaries to protect yourself, maintain (or establish) your individuality, and ensure that you use your time, energy, and resources for what matters most to you.

About Charlie Perkins

Charlie Perkins is an author, musician, photographer, and videographer based in Rochester. The Chicago-bred Perkins attended Northwestern University concentrating on Radio, TV Broadcasting, and Interpersonal Communications. He spent 29 years at Harris Bank in Chicago and taught “Principles of Corporate Television” Columbia College in the same city. He has also spent 17 years as Unit Manager, Media Support Services for the Mayo Clinic. In a previous life, he covered the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan’s championship run, ’96-‘98 as a freelance photographer.

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