Catriona Futter – Equip For Life Coaching Becoming your best self and living life to the full – 07713 974138

Boundaries are walls round what?

What are your boundaries protecting?

What are your boundaries protecting?

What is your understanding of boundaries, and how well established are your own boundaries?

There is an oft-quoted line from Robert Frost’s famous poem Mending Wall that goes like this:

“Good fences make good neighbours”.

It is quoted in material dealing with boundaries, supporting the idea that personal boundaries are necessary and important to ensure mutually supportive, healthy relationships. Now I agree with this entirely. But what I have been musing on is the part of that poem that I still remember from English studies at school:

“Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.” (Robert Frost, Mending Wall)

What I was walling in and walling out…..and it strikes me that in that phrase lies the secret to understanding our boundaries and why they are indeed important.

  • How can we build a wall unless we know where to build it?
  • Why would we go to the bother of building a wall unless we had something to protect?
  • And what is it that we are trying to protect?

And there it is – for me, the key to boundaries. Once you know what it is you want to protect – what it is you are walling in – creating boundaries makes perfect sense, and ensures that you are clearer on what you are walling out.

So…..what am I building boundary walls round?

Me. My identity, self worth, values, priorities and life principles.

Getting to grips with who I am and what I can do, and accepting and valuing myself as a unique individual with my own values.

Ooh, I hear the sound of hairs bristling. I know, a huge and potentially tricky issue this one. I am NOT suggesting we all become islands, self obsessed and rigid in what we will and won’t do. Not good. I am however suggesting that we can start to create healthy boundaries only when we truly understand what it is we are trying to protect.

What do you know of your own physical, emotional, mental and spiritual limits?

What can you tolerate and accept, and what makes you uncomfortable and stressed?

Where do you stand on issues that matter to you, and therefore are prepared to protect?

I have been hugely challenged to think about my own boundaries as I am learning what self employment looks like. And I don’t just mean work boundaries, but I am thinking about my mental energy levels, emotional responses to my nearest-and-dearest, and where I expend my energy. And I will be exploring all these themes more in coming weeks, as this is a topic that comes up a lot in my work.

Creating boundaries starts with self awareness – what are you walling in and walling out?



5 Thoughts on “Boundaries are walls round what?

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