6 JUNE 2019










“Good fences make good neighbors.” So goes the old proverb from the well-loved American poet Robert Frost.  

Likewise, good personal boundaries make for good relationships and businesses.  Boundaries are those invisible lines of protection you draw around yourself.  They let people know your limits on what they can say or do around you.  Healthy boundaries give you freedom in relating to others. Make them too solid, you build walls, too weak and you allow other’s actions to harm you.

It’s not always clear where our boundaries are or need to be. Recognizing and studying the signs of ignored or ineffective boundaries is a good place to start, as these “symptoms” give clues to the needed boundary. See if any of the following ring true for you.

Aloofness and distance.  Are you unwilling or fearful of opening your space to others, or you build walls to insure others don’t invade your emotional or physical space?   This may be a defense against cruel behavior, abuse or neglect that you allowed happen, either in the past or present. A person with healthy boundaries draws a line over which they will not allow anyone to cross. They recognize their right to say, “No!”

Chip on the shoulder. This kind of attitude declares, “I dare you to come too close!”.   It often is the result of anger over a past violation or others ignoring your required physical or emotional space. Healthy boundaries mean you are able to speak up when your space has been violated, leaving you free to trust you can assertively protect yourself to ensure you are not hurt.

Over-enmeshment. In this game, the rule is everyone must do everything together, and everyone must think, feel and act in the same way, without deviation from group norms. Healthy boundaries acknowledge you have the right to explore your own interests, hobbies and outlets without the need for approval from others. 

Invisibility. The goal here is not to be seen or heard so your boundaries are not violated. Healthy boundaries are in effect when you stand up for yourself—be visible, be heard—so others can learn to respect your rights, needs and personal space.  When someone says, “Kids should be seen but not heard”, the kids hearing the message are being preconditioned to be invisible. 

Dissociation. Do you “blank out” or “go away” during stressful emotional events?  This type of “disappearance” results in you being out of touch with your feelings and unable to assert your limits.  Healthy boundaries allow you to assertively protect yourself from further violation or hurt, and to choose to end relationships with those who will not respect them. With healthy boundaries, you can begin to be in touch with your feelings again.

Smothering and lack of privacy. When another is overly concerned about your needs and interests, or when nothing you think, feel or do is your own business, it can be intrusive, invading your emotional and physical space.  This likely leaves you feeling overwhelmed or like you are being strangled. Healthy boundaries ask others tp respect your uniqueness, your choices, and your autonomy. 

Applying Boundaries

Once we see where our limits need to be clarified or put into place, we can begin to install fence posts or patch holes, to keep unwanted critters out. Here are some strategies for applying limits when your boundaries are intruded upon:

•  Calm yourself and take deep breaths.

•  Remind yourself of your right to set limits.

•  In a firm and composed manner but with no blame, tell the other person how you feel.

•  Communicate clearly what your limits are, especially when you are extending a new boundary.

•  Politely ask the other person to respect your boundaries.

•  Make decisions about any relationship according to how the other person respects your requests.



6 JUNE 2019

One of the things your inner critic will tell you to keep you from moving forward with your dreams, your goals, and your best life is this…

You will get hurt. I am here to protect you.

I wish I could tell you that this is another lie concocted to keep you mediocre…but I can’t. The fact is, you may actually get hurt. You might accrue a few bumps and bruises, and they may sting a bit.

But guess what…You will heal.

The Rebel Within wants you to feel vulnerable and weak.  It wants you to believe you’re a fragile little thing in need of its protection. THAT, my friend, is the lie.  You are NOT weak. You ARE mighty and strong.

From the moment of your birth, you’ve incurred injuries, accidents, slaps, spankings, cuts, contusions and more. And you’ve healed from every single one of them. You fell and you got back up, again and again and AGAIN!

In fact, with each of those injuries, you’ve grown stronger and more intelligent. Wiser. More alert and nimble.

Every one of those scars, both inside and out, is a badge of honor.  Every mark you bear tells you and the rest of the world that you’re a fighter.  You’re not afraid to push the envelope, test your mettle and try new things.  You’re courageous and able to hold your own on the battlefields you find as you pursue your passions.

The part of you that you use to create and move beautifully in the world can never be wounded. Your deep well of dreams and fire and innovative ideas only grows stronger with each lick from the outside world.

Rather than avoiding the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune, go seeking your badges of honor.  Throw yourself into your work, knowing full well that you’re liable to hit a wall or two. Rise up a little higher, knowing people will take shots at those who stand out. They do it to make their unsatisfactory life seem better.  You are not weak.  There’s nothing to fear.  You were forged in the fires of passion, made of the same molecules as lions and iron.

You can do this.   Ask for help – there is nothing wrong with getting help!  As my coach Kate says, “Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto”!

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