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Boundaries - What and How?

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

“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. Knowing what I am to own and take responsibility for gives me freedom. Taking responsibility for my life opens up many different options.”

- Henry Cloud (from “Boundaries” Book)

As an adult, I have the honour of getting to know my needs. My needs change as I grow and evolve over time. Thus, my boundaries might also change over time.

Boundaries reflect a delineation of where I end and another might begin. Boundaries help define our sense of self and our individual needs.

Boundaries can be one of the MOST loving acts in relationships. When our boundaries, needs and selfhood are clearly defined and upheld we have a greater chance of engaging in respectful, adult relating with another.


What does all of this mean for you today? Do you agree, disagree? Are you thinking, "Gosh Briar, what a wild and overwhelming thing to say" or "Wow, I totally agree and am grateful for the boundaries in my life?!"

Either way, I'm sharing some of the tidbits from my most recent workshop, Boundaries 101 with you. I think learning about these ideas can be a powerful tool is assisting us in deciding if we want to commit to practicing these ideas or if they're not just a useful tool for us currently.

Read on for more ideas about what boundaries are...


The stages of setting a boundary can be defined as follows:

  1. Identifying what boundary is needed

  2. Articulating and creating the boundary (within yourself first and then sharing with others if needed)

  3. Maintaining the boundary

Maintenance of the boundary is where I see folks struggling the most consistently. As adults, we need to be prepared for the discomfort that might come with continuing to hold a line. Feelings like guilt, shame, anger, loneliness, etc. can occur when we are maintaining a boundary. Thoughts that go along with these emotions can overwhelm us at times.

This is where you might consider the following:

· Do I need help maintaining this boundary? If so, what might that help look or sound like? Who can help me? (A trusted friend you have a phone call with, rereading an important book that has helped you, connecting with your therapist or coach to review)

· Do I have the stamina required to maintain this boundary? When I’m considering setting a boundary, I need to honestly evaluate how I’ll work through the maintenance of it.

I help folks with this one a lot! We trouble shoot different possible scenarios making a few possible plans. This often helps bring about a greater sense of safety/support within our nervous systems - which then means we have a greater chance in successfully maintaining the boundary.

I've put together some journal questions for you to reflect further on these ideas, see below. And I've made the recording and handouts of my beautiful Boundaries 101 Course easily available for purchase and download on my website now (click on the link). It includes a 1-hour video with various ideas, practices, and examples of healthy boundary setting and then a PDF downloadable handout as well. And if you've made it this far - use discount code: LOVE for 25% off the course price as a thank you for reading my blog and supporting my work!


Reflection Questions:

· What stage(s) of setting a boundary do you typically find challenging to do?

· Are there any other patterns that you can notice within yourself around how you approach boundaries?

· What about when another person upholds one of their boundaries with you? What do you typically think and feel while this is occurring?


Thank you for learning together with me today! I'm so grateful that I have the honour of sharing these ideas with you. If you're curious to learn more about what other courses I offer, please head on to the Shop page of my website.

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