Boundaries and Self-Worth 

Written By: Amy Tai, Community and Justice Services (diploma), Program Assistant 

Your level of self-worth is directly correlated to the boundaries you set for yourself. In fact, boundary setting is a powerful act of self-care. The more you realize your self-worth, the more able you are to create and stick to your boundaries.  

Merriam-Webster defines self-worth as “a feeling that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect”. In other words, having a good sense of self-worth means you believe that you deserve to be treated with respect. If you don’t believe you are worthy of respect, you won’t believe you are worthy of having your boundaries respected. This can translate to allowing a lot of toxic and disrespectful behaviours and patterns to continue because you are of the belief that you don’t deserve to be treated better.  

Creating a greater sense of self-worth can help you set boundaries that you believe you are worthy of. Here are a few ways to cultivate a greater sense of self-worth: 

  1. Build self-understanding. Learn who you are, what you want, and what you need. Think about the things you like most about yourself, the things you like least, a time you were proud of yourself, a time others were proud of you. What brings you joy and fulfillment, and what leaves you feeling empty and drained? What do you struggle most with? What are you afraid of? Answering these questions will help you to better understand who you are.  
  1. Build self- acceptance. While the first step involved a lot of positive thinking about yourself, it also tackled some areas in which you may feel you need to improve. The first step to self-acceptance is to forgive yourself for these struggles and fears that can hold you back. Think about all the things you listed while answering the above questions, and accept yourself for all that you are – fears and struggles included. Once you have accepted yourself for who you are, you can learn to love and care for yourself in the most intentional way.  
  1. Recognize your self-worth. You have just tackled some big questions and truths and it is so important that you acknowledge and recognize the courage and work that it took to get here. Remember, you have the power within you to inspire change – you never have to settle for less than what you deserve. Your value comes from the inside, from all these little things that make you, you! And no one has the power to take that away from you. 

 You get to decide for yourself what you do and don’t deserve. You have the power to set the tone for which others are to treat you. So, get to know yourself, know your worth, and create boundaries so that you never have to settle for less than what you deserve.  

As Brene Brown explained, “daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others. We can’t base our worthiness on others’ approval. Only when we believe, deep down, that we are enough can we say “Enough!” (Brown, 2013). 

References 

Brown, B. B. (2013, August 20). How to Set Boundaries – Brene Brown’s Advice. Oprah.Com. https://www.oprah.com/spirit/how-to-set-boundaries-brene-browns-advice