Holding Boundaries

Holding Boundaries is a Radical Movement of Love

Learning how to hold boundaries is a healing process. As children, so many of us experienced constant boundary violations – our feelings, instincts, and body were not honored and were constantly overridden by our parents. We sometimes had to do things that didn’t feel okay for us, but sensed we didn’t have a choice. We may have been taught that we had to take emotional responsibility for a parent. We had no choice but to do these things in order to survive as a child and to keep some thread of love and connection to our parents.

We learned to stop listening to the signals that let us know a boundary was being violated. We learned to stop trusting ourselves. And even when we could hear the signals, we learned that we shouldn’t speak up. We may have believed that we were not worthy of valuing or choosing ourselves and that it wasn’t safe to do so.

We developed an “unhealthy tolerance” for boundary violations. *

So it can be a very courageous and healing process to learn to listen and trust our signals and then to speak for ourselves and honor ourselves – knowing we are worthy of this.

When our young self – who still lives inside us – knows we are going to hold boundaries to take care of ourselves, she can rest and have a chance to heal. She doesn’t have to act out, disappear, or go into overwhelm in order to get us to take care of her or remove her

from the situation.

Holding boundaries is such an essential way that we take care of ourselves and each other. It involves truly listening to and trusting yourself, and knowing that you deserve to be honored and respected.

When you hold a boundary, you are reaffirming to yourself:

You matter. What you feel and need matter. You deserve to be honored and respected. I will stand for you.”

It is a deep movement of love to care for yourself in this way. It is a vital step in reclaiming the power we lost as children and learning to live as our beautiful, natural, authentic selves.



* Credit for term “unhealthy tolerance” to Katherine Coder (Elephant Journal, May 1, 2014)