Setting boundaries – complex, difficult work

By Dave Henning / November 25, 2020

“Setting boundaries is complex, difficult work, but I promise that as we begin to set limits and learn to listen to what our bodies are telling us, we will start experiencing the freedom that comes with hearing the heartbeat of our internal world.  This is part of the foundation that will help us thrive.”- Aundi Kolber

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.  For each will have to bear his own load.”- Galatians 6:2-5 (ESV)

As Aundi Kolber moves on in Chapter 5 of Try Softer, she stresses the difference between bearing each other’s burdens and carrying our own loads.  Henry Cloud and John Townsend discuss this concept, which comes from Galatians 6:2-5, in their book Boundaries.  Certainly, some things in life are too big to handle alone.  On the other hand, we need to handle some tasks individually.  Thus, when someone asks us to handle their ‘load,’ we must set boundaries.

Hence, when someone commands — rather than asks — us to do something, that’s quite different than asking for assistance.  Because, in healthy adult relationships, we flex and bend with one another.  In addition, we recognize that we’re all finite.  So, even when people want to, it’s impossible for them to meet all our needs.

Next, Aundi explains the work of setting boundaries:

“Like everything in this book, the work of setting boundaries begins with our bodies.  While most of us realize conceptually that it’s okay to set boundaries, the feelings of dread, anxiety, and shame that come with disappointing people often keep us from doing so. . . .  Our minds have stored these thoughts as implicit memories . . . .  things you just know in the deepest part of you.”

Today’s question: What most helps you in setting boundaries?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Doing the work required to set boundaries”

About the author

Dave Henning

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