When you hear the word boundary what comes up for you?

I used to think of boundaries as walls we put up to keep others out. I figured holding a boundary was about keeping the “hurt people, who hurt people” away from me.

Creating boundaries was more about keeping others out than it was about nurturing myself. I formed boundaries in reaction to feeling uncomfortable, hurt or attacked. But I needed to understand what I was truly craving underneath of it all. I needed to shift my perception of boundaries so they represented an act of love, not an act of force.

Boundaries often have a way of redirecting others away from us. But it’s important we form them in response to holding ourselves up – not hurting others or ourselves more.

At the end of the day, we all want to feel loved and accepted. When self-love wavers in response to how others show up – we are in for a rocky ride.

When we have healthy boundaries, we can be around anyone without fearing our sense of self will be lost or overstepped.

We can reclaim the way we view, create and maintain our personal boundaries.

Rather than viewing boundaries as being about the other person, we can view boundaries as a gift we give ourselves.

Here is a poem I wrote about empowering ourselves to own our right for healthy boundaries. Perhaps it will inspire a shift in how you hold boundaries.

Your Right For Healthy Boundaries – A Poem

These walls weren’t built to keep you out.

These walls are a reflection of self-love;

a shift beyond incessant self-doubt.

It is never about the other,

paths crossing can be viewed as a gift.

The journey is for becoming,

for seeing inner truth

and honouring self-worth.

When enveloped in light,

of the most loving kind;

worn and weathered paths

may no longer intertwine.

New opportunities for growth

will undoubtedly appear.

Fear not, the storm before you.

Tether to your core

when the desire for walls comes near.

Remember personal happiness

is yours to create and define.

Embrace your healthy boundaries,

say yes to love and your right to shine.


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Originally published at emilymadill.com


  • Emily Madill is an author and certified professional coach, ACC with a BA in business and psychology. Emily is one of Thrive Global's Editors-at-large and a coach at BetterUp. She has published 11 titles in the area of self-development and empowerment, both for children and adults. You can find her writing in Chicken Soup for the Soul:Think Positive for Kids; Thrive Global; The Huffington Post; TUT. com; Best Self Magazine; MindBodyGreen; The Muse; WellthyLiving.ca; TinyBuddha; Aspire Magazine and others. Emily has a private coaching practice and an online program offering courses that support others to create lasting habits around self-love, well-being and all things related to time and weekly planning. She lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, with her husband, two sons and their sweet rescue dog Annie. Learn more at: emilymadill.com