Boundaries. They (define) We need them to take care of ourselves with others -to maintain the line between where we end and they begin. They help keep us safe, are essential to good communication, and improve self-esteem. We even need to have boundaries with ourselves; for example, the ability to put important tasks before pleasure, or to put a limit on our spending. But it is a complex, long-term job having and setting them. They are challenging, and some of us struggle with them more than others. There’s certainly no guidebook that maps out the trail. But we all have an inner compass we can follow to learn and establish the art of setting boundaries.

It begins with getting to know ourselves, our likes and dislikes. What do we appreciate? What moves and motivates us? What do we like to do, and who with?
How highly do we esteem ourselves? The more we have an internal sense of self love, the easier it is to care for ourselves, and have boundaries. Developing these assets understandably takes a long time. It’s a process which begins with learning about ourselves, and continues with growing our self -esteem, respect and love. We can’t have healthy boundaries without these ingredients.

I liken setting boundaries to cooking a meal. It takes time to develop and use the skill set it requires, similar to letting a sauce simmer longer marries the flavors. But First we have to prepare and mix the ingredients. We gently stir together generous amounts of self esteem, self understanding and self love. These are the main ingredients of the meal. Then it has to cook. And it’s ready when its ready. I can then set limits, gently putting out each fork, plate, napkin and spoon. I’ve beat myself up over the years for not having better boundaries.