A Discussion on Boundaries


A common theme for myself and my clients this year has been the concept of boundaries. And oddly enough when I think of boundaries I think of what it must be like to create an evil character in a show or movie and the difficulty involved in writing them well. You see, it is really easy to write a character who is evil, one who is most definitely the worst person you could think of for a story. Often you see this in children's stories where evil is very clearly quite evil and good is very, very good. 

But a truly well-written evil character is one who is developed enough so that you see the person isn't ALL evil. You can see a glimmer of "good" in them, maybe you even see honor or love or another redeeming quality. In the end though the "evil" character ends up making very painful decisions that cost the other  characters in the story and you feel the keen pain of your favorites.  

The nuance found in these characters is similar to the nuance I experience in setting boundaries. I see boundaries as being similar to a well-written "evil" character because oftentimes we want boundaries to always feel good and be lovely but they can be quite challenging and painful. Boundaries aren't all good and they aren't all bad either. They cause pain and they cause ease and comfort in an individual's life as well. 

Unlike an evil character that has redeemable qualities, boundaries are actually mostly for our good. But setting boundaries isn't as easy as saying yes and no. It often means settling into deeply painful memories and thoughts about what happens when you tell someone you love "no". I have sat with many clients with tears running down their cheeks as they attempt to parse out how they can access a deeper meaning within themselves instead of relying on their ability to always say yes when others ask them for help. 
If we have spent so much of our lives believing that our worth is dependent on our ability to do things for others, it begins to be quite challenging when we realize it is causing us pain to always say yes.

Before you create boundaries with others life can feel a little bit like you are making a deal with the devil for your sanity. "Oh but if I let go of this role with this group of friends they will never love me the same way that they do now". Hmm okay, maybe that original commitment was made out of love but now you are seeing that you have actually done so much for others that your love begins to feel twisted and resentful. Getting in touch with your most authentic yes or no is an amazing way to begin the process of creating external boundaries that allow you to live a life that is free of obligation and guilt.

Thoughts? Questions? Comment below or send me a message.