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How to Stop Creating "Barbed Wire" Boundaries

Photo by Lisa Heidle, Athens, Greece
Colorful Fence Posts with Barbed Wire Boundary Photo by Lisa Heidle, Athens, Greece

I'm a sucker for symbolism, so when I saw this colorful fence topped with barbed wire, I stopped to reflect on how we all have our own vibrant colored fence posts that we top with barbed wire.

Our bright and bold colors make us who we are and they're what draws others to us. Our humor, insights, kind hearts, adventurous spirits are magnetic to those we know and encounter. These are the gifts we are here to share.

When we haven't done our healing work, we tend to throw barbed wire on top of our bold colors. If someone attempts to get too close, they are met with distance, forced positivity, surface level or weak communication, or lack of vulnerability. We give a "yes" to someone when we don't want to, then hold it against them. Even if the person doesn't understand what is occurring, they still feel the sharp cut of resentment and rejection.

Don't get me wrong, healthy boundaries are needed. We all need our privacy fences and private spaces. There are times in our lives where tight boundaries are required, such as when we are time and energy malnourished, our focus is on us, our family, a project, or personal healing. We don't need a reason or permission to create tighter boundaries, but open and honest communication lets people know that the relationship you have cultivated with them is valued, just not a priority at that time. Effective communication ensures that the connection is not damaged and will be available when you are able to invest more.

In the Boundary Setting episode on The Ego Project Podcast, Cristine and I discuss the boundary setting struggles we've experienced and how we've learned to navigate them.


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