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10 Best Books for Healthy Boundaries


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Our favorite 10 best books on healthy boundaries 

Warren Buffet, one of the richest men on the planet, once said, 
“The difference between successful people and really successful people is: those really successful people say no to almost everything.” 
quite confusing: Wouldn’t saying “yes” open more doors? 

But then this is the problem: Too many choices often lead to inaction. 

“No” clearly defines your territory. “No” means: My well-being is a priority.

Have you ever found yourself saying “yes” when you really want to say “no”, feeling guilty for saying “no”, keeping silent when someone doesn’t treat you well, giving too much effort to be liked? 

Saying “yes” is fine if it’s in alignment with your values. 

But saying “yes” because you are too scared to say “no” is no way to earn anyone’s respect, least of all your own. 

Saying no and setting boundaries is sane. It shows that we are sturdy and stable and know how to take care of ourselves. 

Without boundaries, you just float through life like a leaf blown by the wind. When you try to make everyone happy, you usually end up making no one happy. 

So it’s to everyone’s advantage to practice “effective selfishness.” 
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    How do you set healthy boundaries?

    • The first step is to identify your needs. 
    What makes you feel good and what makes you feel bad? If you are a people pleaser you might have to give yourself permission to acknowledge your needs and thus disappoint people.

    • The second step is to define your boundaries. 
    They are like gatekeepers, selecting who and what you want in your inner circle. We allow things that we find helpful, healthy, or conducive to our growth. Healthy boundaries are permeable — not too tight and not too loose.

    • The third step is to communicate your boundaries. 
    How do you enforce them?  Speak up? Retreat? Take legal action? Ask? Open and honest communication helps clarify appropriate boundaries. 

    For example, when your meditation practice is important to you, turn your phone off and ask your flatmates not to interrupt you.

    • The fourth step is to overcome guilt. 
    If you are afraid to disappoint people, you might feel guilty about setting boundaries. It clears space and this can be uncomfortable. But space is a great healer. If guilt comes up for you, allow it space.

    • The fifth step is to trust yourself. 
    Saying “no” when it is appropriate shows you take care of yourself based on your needs and priorities that are current.

    • And finally: have patience. 
    Setting boundaries allow the space necessary for transformation to occur. You are developing your relationship with your inner wisdom. 

    So forgive yourself and be patient as you learn a new skill. Boundaries are just one of the themes we explore at New Life Foundation to help us to connect to ourselves and those around us.
     

    10 Best Books for Healthy Boundaries

     

    1. Healthy Boundaries 


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    Healthy Boundaries by James G. Hanley 

    This book argues that the legacies of nineteenth-century public health in England and Wales were not just better health and cleaner cities but also new ideas of property and people. 

    Between 1815 and 1872, the work of public health activists led to multiple redefinitions of both, shifting the boundaries between public and private nuisances, public and private services, taxable and nontaxable property, cities and suburbs, the state and the individual, and, finally, between different kinds of individuals. 

    These boundary-making processes were inflected by different material, political, and ideological developments in the areas of disease, demography, democracy, and domesticity.

    The changes in boundaries manifested themselves in the creation of new nuisance laws and in the minute control by the state of private domestic arrangements. Most importantly, these changes also promoted a radical shifting idea on who should bear financial responsibility for the health of others, stimulating in the process a controversy on the nature of the community. 

    Public health thus served as an important, if contradictory, site in the creation of communities, enhancing the right to health for some while simultaneously restricting in the name of health the privacy rights of others. 

    Relying on underused legal sources, this book presents a fresh view of the local origins and legal and political significance of the public health movement of the nineteenth century.


    2. Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin 


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    Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin - How to Recognize and Set Healthy Boundaries by Anne Katherine M.A.

    The coronavirus pandemic has brought new and challenging interpersonal situations into our lives. Each challenge is an opportunity to assert who we are, and what we truly need to live happy healthy lives.

    Have you recently walked away from a date or a conversation feeling uncomfortable or violated? Are you looking for ways to set limits with your spouse, kids, parents, or boss? This essential guide to setting and respecting boundaries is for anyone wanting to better understand themselves and others.

    Just as a cut in our skin causes pain and injury, a breach of any of our physical, emotional, or sexual boundaries can be very harmful to our bodies and minds. We may need help to heal from past boundary violations, respect the boundaries of those around us, and learn how to set healthy limits for the future, particularly if we have a history of trauma, unhealthy relationships, addiction, or adverse childhood experiences. 

    Drawing on decades of personal and professional experience as a therapist—as well as stories from others who have learned how to heal from serious boundary violations—Anne Katherine, MA, brings us an invaluable, foundational guide on the who, what, and why of boundaries. 

    With nearly 100,000 copies sold, Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin has already helped thousands of readers stand up for themselves and nurture healthier relationships.


    3. Boundaries in Marriage 


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    Boundaries in Marriage by Henry Cloud, John Townsend 

    Only when you and your mate know and respect each other's needs, choices, and freedom can you give yourselves freely and lovingly to one another. Boundaries in Marriage give you the tools you need. 

    Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, counselors and authors of the award-winning bestseller Boundaries, show you how to apply the principles of boundaries to your marriage. 

    This book helps you understand the friction points or serious hurts and betrayals in your marriage -- and move beyond them to the mutual care, respect, affirmation, and intimacy you both long for.


    4. Boundaries in Marriage Workbook 


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    Boundaries in Marriage Workbook by Henry Cloud, John Townsend

    This hands-on workbook companion to Boundaries in Marriage will help you move beyond friction points to the mutual care, respect, affirmation, and intimacy you and your spouse long for.

    You long for a marriage marked by lifelong love, intimacy, and growth. And it can be yours--if you set wise boundaries. Boundaries are the "property lines" that define and protect each of you as individuals. Get them in place, and you can make a good marriage better and possibly even save a less-than-satisfying one.

    By the time you've completed this workbook, you will know yourself and your mate better than ever before. You'll also understand and practice the ten laws of boundaries in ways that can make a real difference in your relationship.

    Step by step, the Boundaries in Marriage Workbook helps you apply the biblical principles discussed in the book Boundaries in Marriage so you can . . .
    • Set and maintain your personal boundaries and respect those of your spouse
    • Establish values that form a godly structure and architecture for your marriage
    • Protect your marriage from different kinds of "intruders"
    • Work with a spouse who understands and values boundaries, or work with one who doesn't
    Filled with self-tests, questions, and applications, the Boundaries in Marriage Workbook helps you learn when to say yes and when to say no to your spouse to make the most of your marriage.


    5. The Dance of Anger 


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    The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships by Harriet Lerner

    Anger is something we feel. It exists for a reason and always deserves our respect and attention. We all have a right to everything we feel—and certainly, our anger is no exception.

    "Anger is a signal and one worth listening to," writes Dr. Harriet Lerner in her renowned classic that has transformed the lives of millions of readers. While anger deserves our attention and respect, women still learn to silence our anger, to deny it entirely, or to vent it in a way that leaves us feeling helpless and powerless. 

    In this engaging and eminently wise book, Dr. Lerner teaches both women and men to identify the true sources of anger and to use it as a powerful vehicle for creating lasting change.

    For decades, this book has helped millions of readers learn how to turn their anger into a constructive force for reshaping their lives. With a new introduction by the author, The Dance of Anger is ready to lead the next generation.

     

    6. Boundary Power 


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    Boundary Power: How I Treat You, How I Let You Treat Me by Mike S. O’Neil, Charles E. Newbold, Jr.

    How I treat you, how I let you treat me, and how I treat myself. You can open a whole new way of successfully dealing with life's challenges by answering the questions and acting on the information that you learn in each chapter of Boundary Power. 

    You can take charge of your life, strengthen your character, expand your freedom, improve your marriage, and other personal relationships by learning how to set personal boundaries in your life. 

    The book includes: 

    • clear definition of all boundaries as they relate to you relationally, spiritually, physically, sexually, and emotionally 
    • where you learn boundaries, the different kinds of boundaries, and the types of people with boundary problems 
    • key questions to help you discover your own boundary problems 
    • exercises that will help you resolve losses associated with abuses 
    • exercises that will help you set clear healthy boundaries in all your relationships.


    7. Where to Draw the Line 


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    Where to Draw the Line: How to Set Healthy Boundaries Every Day by Anne Katherine

    From the acclaimed author of the perennial favorite Boundaries, Where to Draw the Line is a practical guide to establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries in many different situations.

    With every encounter, we either demonstrate that we’ll protect what we value or that we’ll give ourselves away. Healthy boundaries preserve our integrity. Unlike defenses, which isolate us from our true selves and from those we love, boundaries filter out harm.

    This book provides the tools and insights needed to create boundaries so that we can allow time and energy for the things that matter—and helps break down limiting defenses that stunt personal growth. 

    Focusing on every facet of daily life—from friendships and sexual relationships to dress and appearance to money, food, and psychotherapy—Katherine presents case studies highlighting the ways in which individuals violate their own boundaries or let other people breach them. 

    Using real-life examples, from self-sacrificing mothers to obsessive neat freaks, she offers specific advice on making choices that balance one’s own needs with the needs of others.

    Boundaries are the unseen structures that support healthy, productive lives. Where to Draw the Line shows readers how to strengthen them and hold them in place every day.


    8. Boundaries 


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    Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No, to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud, John Townsend

    Does your life feel like it's out of control? Perhaps you feel like you have to say yes to everyone's requests. Maybe you find yourself readily taking responsibility for others' feelings and problems. Or perhaps you focus so much on being loving and unselfish that you've forgotten your own limits and limitations. Or maybe it's all of the above.

    In the New York Times bestseller, Boundaries, Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend help you learn when to say yes and know how to say no in order to take control of your life and set healthy, biblical boundaries with your spouse, children, friends, parents, co-workers, and even yourself.

    Now updated and expanded for the digital age, this book continues to help millions of people around the world answer these tough questions:
    • Can I set limits and still be a loving person?
    • What are legitimate boundaries?
    • How do I effectively manage my digital life so that it doesn't control me?
    • What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries?
    • How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money?
    • Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries?
    • How do boundaries relate to mutual submission within marriage?
    • Aren’t boundaries selfish?
    You don’t have to let your life spiral out of control. Discover how boundaries make life better today!


    9. Boundaries Workbook 


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    Boundaries Workbook: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life 

    This companion guide to Boundaries by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend provides practical readings and prompts that will encourage you and teach you how to set healthy, necessary boundaries with your parents, spouse, children, friends, bosses, coworkers, social media, and more in order to help you become the best version of yourself.

    Following the latest edition of Boundaries chapter-by-chapter, these interactive exercises are designed to help you take a closer look at your own life and ask yourself:
    • Why do I feel guilty about setting clear boundaries?
    • What if the boundaries I set hurt the other person?
    • Why is it difficult for me to hear no from others?
    • What are examples of legitimate boundaries I can set at work and at home?
    • How can I have good boundaries online and with social media?
    • Can I stay connected while still setting boundaries with my phone?
    Boundaries Workbook gives you the support and the Scripture you need to help others respect your boundaries--whether you want to improve your work-life balance or you're practicing saying no when someone asks you to volunteer for one more activity.

    Discover firsthand that having good, biblical boundaries gives you the freedom to live as the loving, generous, fulfilled person God created you to be.


    10. Better Boundaries 


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    Better Boundaries: Owning and Treasuring Your Life by Jan Black and Greg Enns 

    Boundary issues contribute to a range of contemporary social problems felt by victims, abusers, overachievers, and underachievers alike. 

    Knowing when boundaries are violated and what to do about it isn't a simple skill. It requires a surprising amount of adjustments. 


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