Why Boundaries are Crucial for Your Emotional and Financial Stability

The Importance of Setting Boundaries One of the large pieces of personal growth I’m currently working through is learning how to set appropriate, healthy boundaries in my life. As I’ve been processing all of the crazy the past 5-6 weeks brought along with them, I’m making a lot of great changes that are having a tremendous, positive impact on my well-being.

While these things are aimed at managing my stress in the best way possible (yoga, meditation, etc), there is still a need to address any underlying issues that might have contributed to my epic meltdown over Memorial Day weekend.

This is where boundaries come into play.

A Boundary Inventory

Over the course of some very intensive talk therapy sessions, I’ve become aware of my tendency to internalize the stress, fear, anger, and other negative emotions of others–at the cost of my own stress levels. Rather than holding firm with my boundaries and voicing my concern if someone is “dumping” on me, blaming me for something that I had no contribution to, or being a bit too nosy about what’s going on in my life, I tended to clam up and just sort of sit there or share too much, talk too much, and make myself much too vulnerable.

Eventually, the lack of response on my part meant that all of that negativity was being internalized. As a truly happy, positive person, this created a lot of internal confusion and stress for me. I became someone who would seek to work out the issues and problems of others at the expense of what I needed to be working on myself. It’s a pattern that has most likely grown out of my (quite rocky) upbringing, and it’s incredibly refreshing and liberating to finally be stopping it cold in its tracks.

The good thing is that I have made progress in setting boundaries in certain parts of my life, such as at work and with my finances. I have learned the power of ‘No,’ as I mentioned in my post about how I learned to say no, slow down, and stop buying. I’ve also learned to celebrate my worth as a freelancing professional who’s currently chasing down my dream to be my own boss in a successful way. None of these would have been possible if I didn’t have the confidence and strong sense of self that has helped me navigate all of the various challenges in my life with grace and dignity.

Setting Personal Boundaries

As I take stock of what I’ve already accomplished and where I’d like to end up on this journey, I now understand that the last step in having a full repertoire of boundaries at my disposal is to establish (and maintain) personal boundaries. While this isn’t necessarily “easy” work to do, the feeling of freedom I’m already experiencing is quite motivating.

There are a few steps I’m taking to ensure these new boundaries will be realistically identified, maintained, upheld, and augmented as necessary (these are like a budget; not a “set it and forget it” entity–they require maintenance and attention!):

Completing Personal Inventories

This is the hardest part of the process–to finally deal with all of the things that I’ve been through in my life in a complete manner. Fully processing every aspect of the various experiences; including the who, what, where, when, and why (or perhaps coming to terms with the idea that I may never understand why).

Processing Emotions

With the inventories come the emotions. It’s a painful ride of emotion that I’m facing head-on without the crutch of any maladaptive coping mechanisms. The great thing here is with each memory or experience I’ve already processed, I’m becoming stronger and more ready to face the next set. From accepting my unhealthy childhood (perhaps fodder for another post in the future–not sure I want to share this here) to processing what’s gone on in the past year, I’m making great strides nearly every day.

Creating Lists

The lists seem to be never-ending but they are invaluable. While at first I felt a bit silly and definitely self-conscious about these assignments, I’ve begun to look forward to writing more as time goes on.

The first lists for the boundaries work included lists of what types of things I’m not comfortable with when people around me are doing them (criticizing, judging others, etc.), types of things I’d like people to stop doing to me (being rude, ignoring me, etc), and types of things that I will no longer allow people to say to me without standing up for myself (ie. an ex BF from my past who harassed me for weeks when he found out I had begun dating someone else months later).

Other lists have included what my expectations of others are, an assessment of how available I make myself for the needs of others (and what it costs me), and a list of how I feel while around certain people in my life. With each new list, I’m identifying the patterns I will change, the people I need to cut ties with, and what I need to become the whole, healthy version of myself.

Taking Action

As with any new change I’m putting into place, the importance of taking action is paramount. I already know that there might be objections to this new, stronger Jen that some people won’t be prepared for, but I’m ready to cross that bridge because I’m resolved to being consistent, staying patient, remaining calm, being responsible for my own emotional reactions instead of those of other people, and identifying when compromise is an effective choice without “giving in” or “going against” my own beliefs or what I need to stay balanced.

Boundaries and Finances

I mentioned above that I’m solid when it comes to setting boundaries in my financial life. Gone are the days of lending money to people, spending more than I earn, and trying to maintain a facade of success with material objects due to societal influences.

If you find yourself struggling to maintain boundaries in your own financial life, you might want to consider completing your own inventory or lists. As you work through the various stressors that are keeping you from reaching your financial dreams, be sure to accompany each with a tangible, realistic course of action that will help you change your situation.

Once you have your lists and know what your plan is, don’t waste even a second putting it into place. Today is the day that you can take the first step to achieving your goals. While you might find great support from others, remember that you and you alone are the only one that can do the work to ensure these changes are permanent and having last effect on how you manage your money. Believe in yourself and your ability to succeed.

Should you find that your finances are in check, consider other areas of your life where your boundaries might need a refresher. From work to friendship to fitness, there are always ways to improve the person you are today in order to become the best version of yourself tomorrow.

Moving Forward

After reviewing all of the progress I’ve made over the years with my ability to manage money well, I’m excited to realize that the potential for my latest phase of change is literally bursting at this point. I’m not worried about making all of these healthy changes because I’ve done it before, and I know just how sweet the future will be as these things work themselves out.

The best part? Positive, happy rewards are already coming my way–the change is already happening!  :)

How do you maintain your own boundaries in life?



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Freelancer; reformed spendaholic; risk taker; adventure seeker; world traveler; rose smeller; debt destroyer. My mission is to inspire others to live a healthy, balanced life one cent at a time.


Why Boundaries are Crucial for Your Emotional and Financial Stability6 Commentshttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.thehappyhomeowner.net%2F2013%2F07%2Fwhy-boundaries-are-crucial-for-your-emotional-and-financial-stability.htmlWhy+Boundaries+are+Crucial+for+Your+Emotional+and+Financial+Stability2013-07-01+15%3A38%3A58Jenhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.thehappyhomeowner.net%2F%3Fp%3D2959

  1. I'm really not sure if I do set boundaries. Maybe I do, inadvertently. My friends know not to force alcohol on me, or that I will not have anything to do with any drugs. Other boundaries, seem to be flexible (about eating – and what I've been told I should avoid for my health). As far as 'emotional boundaries' I'm not as confident. I know I won't engage in certain behaviours that I know might make me feel worse… Hmmm

    And I love the listing ideas, though I think it's probably important to have someone analyse them for you, and look at what is appropriate and what might not be (cause I know I can sometimes be a little irrational when emotional)
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  2. Jen, you are doing such a great job at working through all of this stuff!!!!! I have suffered in the past from a lot of the same issues as you have, and have had to work hard creating and sticking to boundaries as well. It's taken a lot of work, a lot of time, and a lot of self-assessment to figure out why I allowed people to trample over me, how to recognize where that "trampling" line is, and how to handle setting boundaries firmly, quickly and appropriately, but I'm getting there, and you will too. Don't expect it to happen overnight, just take it one day at a time, one situation at a time. You may still have times where you screw up in this area, but I think avoiding alcohol is a key factor in learning to control your emotions, and you've already made that important step, so kudos to you. Keep up the great work, Jen. :-)
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  3. You are making awesome strides Jen!!! Congratulations! I was talking to my dad when I was in Detroit about how he pays way too much attention to what other people are doing and it causes he and my stepmom unnecessary stress. All they do is complain and judge what other people are doing…when I reminded him that what other people are doing and what they think of him is none of his business, he couldn't seem to grasp that concept. I guess it's hard for some people to learn it. Sad because the only person it's affecting is HIM! I did a lot of work myself on boundaries last year. I slowly let some friends slip away who were energy drainers or who only used me to unload all of their personal crap. I literally had a "friend" who liked to hang out with me because she got to talk about herself non-stop for hours. It's amazing how much better you feel when you get rid of that unnecessary baggage from your life. Keep up the great work!
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  4. Hey Jen, it sounds like you’re doing a lot of positive things to change the way you do business! Setting boundaries is a life long project, I think. Knowing when to hold and when to give are skills that continuously need to be honed.

    I’m a pretty straightforward person so I try to be honest and direct in my communication about boundaries. Sometimes I get it backwards though and just withdraw from the relationship until I’m feeling more whole (I tend to recharge with alone time as opposed to drawing energy from people). People will ask me sometimes of I’ve dropped off the earth… I’m getting better though1
    Lindsey @ Cents & Sensibility recently posted..Impulse Spending & Weekly Review: June 24 – 30My Profile
    Lindsey @ Cents & Sensibility recently posted..Impulse Spending & Weekly Review: June 24 – 30My Profile

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