Boundaries- how are yours?
I recently read a new book about boundaries that I think is going to have a very positive influence on a lot of people: Set Boundaries, Find Peace by Nedra Glover Tawwab (a Black therapist--which makes me even happier to spread the word about this book!). Tawwab is a relationship therapist and writes the book in a practical, clear way that made me think a lot about the boundaries--and lack thereof--I see in the world around me. The book made me reflect on my clients' lives and relationships, my community as a whole, and my personal life as well. I highly recommend it, really for anyone! I think that many of the issues we have are a result of poor boundaries--even if we aren't necessarily seeing it as a boundary issue.
In her book, Tawwab outlines how to recognize the need for and set boundaries in many areas of life--family, romantic relationships, friendships, work, and social media/technology. I loved seeing how boundary issues show up in all of these areas of life. Chances are, it is easier for you to set boundaries in some areas, and harder in others. She also provides a short quiz to assess your boundaries--are they clear and healthy? Or porous, needing some more definition and work? Or perhaps rigid, maybe benefiting from some re-evaluation? Furthermore, what led you to creating porous or rigid boundaries and how can you address those underlying causes and get your needs met?
Another message that really resonated with me from this book is this: being uncomfortable is PART of the process of setting boundaries. If we can normalize that, it feels better. Expect some discomfort, prepare and equip yourself for it, and lean in.
Another important point? We set boundaries in relationships that matter to us. If a relationship didn't matter, we could end it or choose not to work on it. It can feel bad to set boundaries with loved ones, but by reframing it as an act of love, this can help soften the process.
In summary, I think we'd all be better off if we normalized and respected boundary setting. The fact is, it's not healthy to live as an island, nor is it healthy to live with no or loose boundaries. It creates relationship problems, stress, and loss of self... among many other things. It's normal and understandable to not have healthy boundaries in all areas of your life especially given the lack of role modeling we see in our current society--and especially if you didn't see it when growing up, or if your current relationships don't encourage healthy boundaries either. But, I think that reading this book is a great step towards healthier boundaries for everyone and it's well worth the effort.
Check it out at your library (there might be a long waitlist!) or buy it yourself: https://www.nedratawwab.com/my-book
I'm April, a counselor who loves my job and loves all things nature. Read more about me here.