9 thoughts on “Boundaries: How They Work, When They Fail, & How to Build Yours

  • December 2, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Love your always brief, practical and broken down posts always spot on.
    Regarding boundaries, I think there’s an assumption made here: “Watch for threats to your heart.” It assumes that there is a self strong enough to believe it has a heart worth safeguarding. Boundaries came naturally once I started feeling and believing that I was a unique worthwhile individual. Once I existed with desires etc, not just Going through all the expected motions, it was easy to move to don’t step on me, I get as much space and frustrations as you.

    • December 2, 2018 at 1:34 pm

      Very good point CN. For a boundary to protect you, it’s vital to first believe that you are worth protecting. Thanks for sharing your perspective and experience!

      • February 8, 2019 at 3:37 pm

        Absolutely agree. That has always been my problem. If someone says something critical I automatically assume they are right, and there is something wrong with me.

  • December 3, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Hi Jonice. The way you describe boundaries is different from what I thought they were. I always thought boundaries were more about actions or attitudes from other people that you actively do not tolerate. This seems different, and more about framing interactions to yourself.

    In the context you described, I think I have strong firm boundaries, because my internal dialogue sounds like the healthy examples above. But I’m confused by the following question:
    “How does [your boundary] look when it’s loosened?”

    I don’t think I understand what this means. Can you clarify? Maybe with some more inner dialogue examples?

    • December 3, 2018 at 2:59 pm

      Dear C, a boundary that is too rigid will keep people at too much distance. A boundary that is flexible allows you to think through someone’s intentions and make a reasonable and fair judgment call. Boundaries are about protection and setting limits to take care of yourself instead of being overly vulnerable. I hope this answers your question!

      • December 9, 2018 at 1:44 pm

        I understand the concept of protecting yourself and not being vulnerable, but I don’t have a good grasp on what it actually means to loosen your boundary. How can I tell when I’m doing that? Is it something you can do by choice or does it just happen? What does it feel like? I can understand what the words mean when you explain it but I’m having trouble relating those words to my own experiences.

        I think I would understand better if you could do some inner dialogue examples that happen when a boundary is relaxed in a healthy way, like the ones you wrote to demonstrate when a boundary is firm in a healthy way.

      • December 9, 2018 at 10:17 pm

        Great suggestion! I will write that and post it. Thanks for the helpful idea.

  • December 4, 2018 at 4:33 am

    I love your article and the advice you give! I have a few questions.

    1. How do we quickly go through those 4 questions to ask about a situation, when confronted with an aggressive person? e.g. the guy who kept getting shouted at for his badge. How would he quickly go through the 4 questions in his head? This applies more to a one off situation I suppose, where a stranger barks at you in public and you are thrown off course. How do you go through the 4 questions quickly in your head, there isn’t time.

    2. I recently started thinking of my question as ‘do I want to be treated like this?’ when someone is rude to me or treats me badly in some other way. I’m trying to learn to just stare at them rather than rush to answer or lighten the mood. Is that a valid question when someone is rude to you- ‘do I want to be treated like this?’

    • December 4, 2018 at 5:46 pm

      Dear Catherine, I know the 4 questions seem clunky when you first start using them. But the more you use them, usually later on, to give you time to think it through, the more adept your brain becomes at answering them. It becomes more of a sense than an analysis. You become able to size up the situation quickly and respond quickly. That said, I love your question “Do I want to be treated like this?” Everyone’s boundary should be tailored to them and that sounds like an excellent personal choice.


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