Defining Boundaries


Boundaries.  How often do you hear the phrase “healthy boundaries?” What exactly does this mean? Who determines the boundary? Does the word boundary sound too harsh or safe or scary?

In this week’s support, I thought talking about boundaries would be helpful.  They’re always showing up in my practice – who has them, who doesn’t, and what expectations are attached to them. 

Setting boundaries can be extremely challenging!

Let’s look at what makes up boundaries, what they mean, and the ways they can be helpful or not.

First up – definition.

According to Webster, a boundary is a line that marks the limit of an area.  This is a strong yet simple definition to use as a point of reference. Now break this down a bit and apply it to every day life and relationships and emotions… “marks the limit…” Everyone has limits, right?

At work – Tasks are set daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly because there are limits. Different roles and titles also identify limits. Limits can be defined by location too.

At home – Grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, cooking, paying bills, relaxing, and watching TV are not all accomplished in one day, and they shouldn’t be. Why? Because there are limits.

With partners, family, children, siblings – One person shouldn’t always be apologizing, or taking the blame, or compromising, or keeping the relationship intact, or checking in, or making sure everyone is ok. Even Superman had his limits. (kryptonite, in case you weren’t sure)

I want you to think about, (and if you’re really feeling it, write down) where your limits lie. What are some lines that you are not willing to cross? What are some lines, or limits, that others have put in place for you? Where do you do a really good job on staying within the limits? Where would you like to see change? 

And if you have a hard time answering these questions, just go back to that strong yet simple definition. A boundary is a line that marks the limit of an area.  Maybe your limit in that moment is to give yourself a break from thinking…

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