Boundaries: Wtf are they, and where do I begin?!
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- August 9, 2021
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In my experience, learning about boundaries is key in re-establishing healthy, fulfilling relationships and finding and embracing ourselves.
In fact, through my personal work and my work with clients, I believe that identifying boundaries (i.e. the rules of what is okay with me, and what isn’t) and setting them, is job #1 in healing any dysfunctional relationship pattern.
Boundaries help us recover lost parts of ourselves, rebuild self-esteem and feel in control of our lives and ourselves.
They also help us learn how to functionally and healthily relate to ourselves and others by defining then communicating our personal rules and preferences. They heal us and they heal the communities we are in. In short–boundaries are the bomb.
AND–as clear as this can feel on the outside, in my experience, implementation of boundaries can be easier said than done.
Boundaries may be tiny little miracle workers that transform lives out of chaos and into order and stability, but many of us who come out of dysfunctional family systems, who faced trauma early on in life, or who belong to marginalized identities who were taught our voices don’t matter, often don’t even know where to begin with the word boundary.
When boundaries weren’t modelled in many of our childhoods, or worse, when they were violated, what boundaries are, how they work, how to set them can feel baffling.
We understand them in theory, but not in practice.
Enter: this bad-ass boundaries kit I’ve assembled just for you.
I’ve collected some of the best materials on boundaries I have found anywhere on the web to ameliorate the boundary void that may be in your life–and that was certainly in mine before my own recovery journey.
Below is a personal “Boundaries 101” of four killer resources that will assist you in beginning boundary work in your life.
They are a great place to begin in your own exploration of boundaries or to dive into to deepen your work that’s already begun.
Many of these have assisted me deeply in my own journey. I promise that through deep engagement with them, your own life will begin to transform in unbelievable ways.
Boundary work is not only thrilling and wild and deeply healing, it’s also crucial to establishing more internal wholeness, self-esteem, emotional regulation, peace, and control over our lives. All things that are crucial to us transforming ourselves and the world!
I’m so excited for you to begin. Let’s get into it!
1. Robert Jameson Article on Boundaries.
This article on Boundaries from therapist Robert Jameson is the best I’ve ever read to explain what a boundary is, what the emotional risks are inherent in setting one, the benefits of setting them, and loving and simple language to help you step into boundary setting in your own life. This is the place to start.
2. Brene Brown video on Boundaries
This Brene Brown video describes the compassion inherent in boundary setting and the crucial ways in which boundaries support us in being in our loving. Also, her definition of a boundary “what’s okay and what’s not okay” is one of the most succinct and useful I’ve ever heard. Note: forgive the low video quality on this one. It’s worth it for the content!
3. Abby Medcalf article on Loving Detachment
One crucial form of respecting boundaries is understanding where you end and someone else begins. Detaching with love from the chaos or pain someone else may be in and putting down the urge to “fix” others, is huge for anyone who is learning and implementing boundaries. This article from Abby Medcalf is excellent in painting a picture of detachment from the emotional material of others, and how to do so lovingly.
4. The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie
Melody Beattie’s daily reader on recovering from codependency and rediscovering ourselves should be a constant companion for anyone on the boundary-setting and relationship healing journey. For each day of the year Melody includes a themed quote, reading, and prayer to recenter you and reconnect you to your truest self. From Lovability to Acceptance, to Patience, Grief, Authenticity, Forgiveness, and more, each theme speaks to self-discovery and self-embrace. These small, profound readings help recenter us the true north of love inside of ourselves and to get a quick and easy dose of recovery and support.
As you take on these materials, please know, I am rooting for you. It’s big work to take on greater integrity and authenticity in your life via boundary-setting! It’s you taking a stand for who you ARE in the world.
As always, I support you in your own exploration and what resonates with you and what doesn’t. And if you want to take it deeper, reach out, it’s my joy to hear how this struck you and how you are discovering and standing for boundaries that serve you in your world.