Setting Boundaries: Quotes & Books for Healthy Relationships

Boundaries booksRather than being a “hot topic,” setting boundaries is more of a “boomerang topic” in that we keep coming back to it. This is partly because boundary setting is crucial to healthy relationships, and relationships are an integral part of our lives (Jones, 2019).

Whether we’re talking about work, marriage, parenting, social engagement, hobbies and sports, or any other part of life, relationships are right there, front and center. The quality of the boundaries we set within those relationships determines the quality of those relationships and, ultimately, the quality of our lives (Katherine, 2012).

Yet, setting boundaries does have its nuances, and to help you in the process, we list some of the best-setting boundary books available and share meaningful healthy boundaries quotes that inspire healthy relationships.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Positive Relationships Exercises for free. These detailed, science-based exercises will help you or your clients build healthy, life-enriching relationships.

Books About Setting Healthy Boundaries

Recapping what we mean when we talk about boundary setting, our article called How to Set Healthy Boundaries provides a detailed description of what it means to set boundaries and how to do it. Relationship boundaries are interpersonal limits we set to delineate what is acceptable to us in relationships in order for us to feel safe.

As awareness about the importance of wellbeing and the link to boundary setting remains center stage, the demand for resources on boundary setting continues to grow, and the number of books being published about the topic is growing exponentially.

These boundary books all seem to offer unique perspectives, insights, and strategies for cultivating healthy boundaries, and it can be overwhelming to try to figure out where to start. We’ve done some groundwork and explored a selection of these books to compile a list of the best boundary-setting books for you.

In the fields of psychology and coaching, several renowned figures have made significant contributions to research and work regarding boundary setting. Their work advocates for the importance of boundary setting in fostering healthy relationships, maintaining personal wellbeing, and achieving emotional growth. It also provides guidelines about how to set boundaries in a healthy way so that you can build bridges rather than just burn them.

Some of the big names include Brené Brown, Anne Katherine, Melody Beattie, Harriet Lerner, Henry Cloud, and John Townsend. This list is far from exhaustive, but it does provide a good foundation of the notable authors in the field.

The next sections will provide a list of the books written by some of these authors as well as other notable books that we found through our research. They look at setting healthy boundaries in the context of a relationship with oneself, with family and friends, and at work. The last collection of books is a set of workbooks for therapists and clients.

3 Healthy Boundaries Books for Relationship With Self

Relationship building starts with our relationship with ourselves, and learning to set internal boundaries serves as a form of self-care and self-protection, allowing you to honor your needs, values, and boundaries in all aspects of your life (Tawwab, 2021).

These next three books highlight ways that boundary setting helps to establish a framework of self-respect, self-care, and personal integrity.

1. Setting Healthy Boundaries: A Guide to Improving Your Self-Esteem, Building Self-Confidence, and Setting Yourself Free – Mary Ann Hill

Setting Healthy Boundaries

If you’re feeling as though you’re giving so much of yourself to everyone else and nothing is left for you, then this book could be for you.

Setting Healthy Boundaries unpacks some of the reasons we find it so hard to set boundaries and how to overcome those challenges.

It will help you determine your values and needs, identify where your boundaries lie, respect others while respecting yourself, improve your self-esteem and self-confidence, communicate effectively, expand self-care practices, and set appropriate boundaries in relationships.

Find the book on Amazon.

2. Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself – Nedra Glover Tawwab

Set Boundaries, Find Peace

Written by one of Instagram’s most influential therapists, this book explains the complex topic of boundary setting within the context of today’s world.

Rooted in the latest research and best practices used in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Set Boundaries, Find Peace presents simple-yet-powerful ways to establish healthy boundaries in all aspects of life.

Offering additional tools, it comes with a workbook, a boxed calendar, and a flip chart to help you and your clients set healthy limits, develop fulfilling relationships, and reclaim your worth.

Find the book on Amazon.

3. Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin – Anne Katherine


This may be an older book, but it still has relevance for the challenges of today. It starts with an overview of what boundaries are and how to identify when your boundaries are being violated.

The author describes specific and practical ways to identify your boundaries and how to communicate and implement those boundaries in a healthy way.

The book provides personal accounts and practical exercises to change the habits that may be inadvertently perpetuating a boundary-less way of being.

Find the book on Amazon.

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These detailed, science-based exercises will equip you or your clients to build healthy, life-enriching relationships.

3 Setting Boundaries Books for Family Relationships

An integral element of our wellbeing lies in the quality of our relationships, and how we set boundaries within those relationships determines their impact on our lives (Rosenberger, 2011).

The following three books focus specifically on how to develop this skill within family relationships and will help you navigate family dynamics, roles, and functions.

1. Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself – Melody Beattie

Codependent No More

Focusing on the fact that the only person we have any power to change is ourselves, Codependent No More will help you identify codependent behavior and learn how to stop doing the things that keep you codependent.

With personal reflections, exercises, and self-tests, it will help you build and maintain healthy boundaries, identify unhealthy relationships, and know when you need to walk away from them.

The book offers clear and achievable guidance and support so you can start healing your family relationships.

Find the book on Amazon.

2. Healthy Boundaries: How to Set Strong Boundaries, Say No Without Guilt, and Maintain Good Relationships With Your Parents, Family, and Friends – Chase Hill

Healthy Boundaries

Healthy Boundaries offers a step-by-step guide to setting healthy personal boundaries without feeling guilty or starting an argument.

It identifies myths and mistakes we make and how to manage them. Hill then goes on to talk about apologies, when they’re warranted and when they’re not, and how to stop apologizing when you don’t need to.

The author talks about six different types of relationships and how to identify which one you’re in right now. This book will help you understand that it is OK to prioritize your own needs and explain how to do so in a healthy way.

Find the book on Amazon.

3. The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You’re Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate – Harriet Lerner

The Dance of Connection

In The Dance of Connection, Lerner asserts that a key problem in relationships, especially long-term relationships, is that people begin to lose their voice.

Finding our way back to connection and connected relationships therefore lies in finding and using our voice, and the intention of this book is to help you find your voice — to speak your truth, voice your needs, and assert your boundaries wisely and effectively.

The book contains tales from the author’s personal life and clinical work that will inspire and teach you to speak your own truth to the most important people in your life.

Find the book on Amazon.

3 Books for Boundaries in Workplace Relationships

The books listed above and the insights they hold will be invaluable for most contexts and can also help you set boundaries to improve your work situation, but the following books are a little more specific to the workplace.

1. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead – Brené Brown

Daring Greatly

In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown explores the power of vulnerability and courage in fostering meaningful connections and personal growth.

Primarily focused on embracing vulnerability as a pathway to wholehearted living, it speaks to setting healthy boundaries for wellbeing through self-awareness, courageous communication, boundaries as a form of self-care, resilience in the face of boundary violations, and building trust and connection.

Although this book could easily fit into any of the above sections, we have included it here as the novel discussions of the topic of boundaries provide valuable insights and principles that can inform your approach to setting and maintaining healthy boundaries at work and in leadership roles.

Find the book on Amazon.

The power of vulnerability - Brene Brown

2. Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward – Henry Cloud

Necessary Endings

Necessary Endings offers a method to change your mindset regarding accepted business relationships and practices.

It provides a vital understanding of how to make the tough decisions that stand in the way of being more successful at work, in business, and in life. It addresses the topic of endings, why we dread them, ruin them, and how to face them differently.

While it may not directly address healthy boundary setting, its insights into recognizing unhealthy dynamics, accepting necessary endings, and embracing change can provide you with valuable guidance for establishing and maintaining boundaries that support your wellbeing and personal growth.

Find the book on Amazon.

3. Trust Yourself: Stop Overthinking and Channel Your Emotions for Success at Work – Melody Wilding

Trust Yourself

Based on decades of research and client work, this book examines the intersection of sensitivity and achievement in the workplace and offers neuroscience-based strategies you can use to reclaim control of your life and reach your full potential at work.

The book provides practical steps to better manage stress and reduce perfectionism and self-doubt so you can find the confidence to work and lead effectively.

You will learn ways to be more confident, overcome imposter syndrome, build resilience, bounce back from setbacks, and enjoy your success without sacrificing your wellbeing.

It is most helpful for boundary setting in that it will teach you how to find your voice so you can speak and act with assertiveness.

Find the book on Amazon.

3 Mental Health Workbooks for Therapists and Clients

These three essential workbooks are designed for therapists and clients to navigate the complex terrain of setting healthy boundaries and improving mental health.

From practical exercises to thought-provoking reflections, these resources offer valuable guidance in developing self-awareness, fostering assertive communication, and establishing boundaries that promote emotional wellbeing and meaningful relationships.

1. The Set Boundaries Workbook: Practical Exercises for Understanding Your Needs and Setting Healthy Limits – Nedra Glover Tawwab

The Set Boundaries Workbook

This workbook presents clear explanations and interactive exercises to help your clients develop an understanding of boundaries and how to set them. It is a treasure trove of checklists, questions, writing prompts, and more.

Linked to the book Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself by the same author, The Set Boundaries Workbook is an invaluable resource for therapists and their clients who need to find their voice and express their needs authentically.

Find the book on Amazon.

2. The Better Boundaries Workbook: A CBT-Based Program to Help You Set Limits, Express Your Needs, and Create Healthy Relationships – Sharon Martin

The Better Boundaries Workbook

This Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy evidence-based workbook is divided into four parts that show you how to understand, set, communicate, and implement healthy boundaries across all aspects of life without compromising on your values of kindness and compassion.

You’ll discover why your boundaries are so important for your emotional wellbeing. The workbook provides a wealth of tips for defining and maintaining your boundaries, even in the context of our constantly connected world, strategies for what to do when people violate your boundaries, and ways to make sure your needs are met.

Find the book on Amazon.

3. Healthy Boundaries Workbook: It’s Okay to Say No To Others (And Yes To Yourself) – Laura Laine

Healthy Boundaries Workbook

Laura Laine’s workbook takes the saying “no” of boundary setting a step further and shows you how to include saying “yes” to you and your needs.

In this workbook, you’ll find multiple exercises to analyze your current boundaries and ways to work on applying new and healthier ones.

Full of activities and prompts, it provides opportunities for check-ins, setting challenges, and journaling.

Find the book on Amazon.

10 Memorable Boundaries Quotes Found in Research

Sometimes all we need to get us motivated is a well-aimed quote — a nugget of wisdom to mull over through the day and keep us focused on our boundary setting goals. This is a selection of some of the best boundaries quotes to keep you inspired.

A boundary in this instance is not the figurative line in the sand or any other kind of apparent demarcation but a metaphor for the rules and limits — if not the unspoken rituals — that are supposed to govern the social worker-client relationship.

Howard Goldstein, 1999, p. 435

Boundaries established among relationships and spaces in children’s lives are fluid at any one time and evolve as time goes by.

Malcolm Hill, 2005, p. 88

When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice.

Brené Brown, 2022, p. 33

Living a connected life ultimately is about setting boundaries, spending less time and energy hustling and winning over people who don’t matter, and seeing the value of working on cultivating connection with family and close friends.

Brené Brown, 2015, p. 122

Any confusion of responsibility and ownership in our lives is a problem of boundaries.

Henry Cloud & James Townsend, 1996, p. 23

Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins, leading me to a sense of ownership.

Henry Cloud & James Townsend, 1996, p. 27

It is only in long-term relationships that we are called upon to navigate that delicate balance between separateness and connectedness and that we confront the challenge of sustaining both—without losing either when the going gets rough.

Harriet Lerner, 2009, p. 2

Individuals, like nations, must have suitable broad and natural boundaries, even a considerable neutral ground, between them.

Henry David Thoreau, 1854/2004, p. 150

Setting emotional boundaries includes deciding what relationships I’ll foster and continue and what people I’ll back away from because I can’t trust them.

Anne Katherine, 1993, p. 35

Every decision you’ve ever made, step by step, brought you to this pass. In short, your boundaries — or your defenses — created a corridor through which your life moved.

Anne Katherine, 2012, p. 13

17 Exercises for Positive, Fulfilling Relationships

Empower others with the skills to cultivate fulfilling, rewarding relationships and enhance their social wellbeing with these 17 Positive Relationships Exercises [PDF].

Created by experts. 100% Science-based. has several resources that will be helpful to you.

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The Positive Relationships Masterclass© will help you understand the nature and importance of relationships and how to teach your clients the essential skills required for healthy relationships, including the six pillars of healthy relationships.

If you’re looking for more science-based ways to help others build healthy relationships, check out this collection of 17 validated positive relationship tools for practitioners. Use them to help others form healthier, more nurturing, and life-enriching relationships.

A Take-Home Message

The recurring prominence of the boundary-setting topic emphasizes its crucial role in nurturing healthy relationships across all aspects of life. In navigating the complexities of work, family, and self, setting clear boundaries proves to be a cornerstone of personal growth and wellbeing (Pope & Keith-Spiegel, 2008).

By embracing self-awareness, effective communication, and respect, we pave the way for fulfilling connections and a richer quality of life (Hartmann, 1997).

The boundary-setting books and inspiring boundaries quotes above offer invaluable insights into cultivating healthy relationships and enhancing personal wellbeing. With practical strategies, relatable anecdotes, and expert guidance, they will equip you with the tools you need to establish and maintain boundaries that nurture self-respect, communication, and emotional growth.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Positive Relationships Exercises for free.

  • Brown, B. (2015). Daring greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead. Penguin.
  • Brown, B. (2022). The gifts of imperfection: Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are. Simon and Schuster.
  • Cloud, H., & Townsend, J. S. (1996). Boundaries: When to say yes, how to say no, to take control of your life. Strand.
  • Goldstein, H. (1999). On boundaries. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Human Services, 80(5), 435–438.
  • Hartmann, E. (1997). The concept of boundaries in counselling and psychotherapy. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 25(2), 147–162.
  • Hill, M. (2005). Children’s boundaries: Within and beyond families. In L. McKie & S. Cunningham-Burley (Eds.), Families in society (pp. 77–94). Policy Press.
  • Jones, G. (2019). Creating healthy clinical boundaries with patients and clients. Leader Live.
  • Katherine, A. (1993). Boundaries. Simon and Schuster.
  • Katherine, A. (2012). Where to draw the line: How to set healthy boundaries every day. Simon and Schuster.
  • Lerner, H. (2009). The dance of intimacy: A woman’s guide to courageous acts of change in key relationships. HarperCollins.
  • Pope, K. S., & Keith‐Spiegel, P. (2008). A practical approach to boundaries in psychotherapy: Making decisions, bypassing blunders, and mending fences. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 64(5), 638–652.
  • Rosenberger, E. W. (2011). Where I end and you begin. About Campus: Enriching the Student Learning Experience, 16(4), 11–19.
  • Tawwab, N. G. (2021). Set boundaries, find peace: A guide to reclaiming yourself. Piatikus.
  • Thoreau, H. D. (2004). Walden. Pan Macmillan. (Original work published 1854)

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