Thursday, December 18, 2008

Boundaries and holiday stress

Many people find themselves under a lot of stress over the holidays due to family tensions, disagreements, old dysfunctional patterns, etc. This is where the cultivation of healthy boundaries comes in. I found really an outstanding web page about that called "Setting Personal Boundaries - protecting self".

Here are a few snippets from the article:

Setting a boundary is not making a threat - it is communicating clearly what the consequences will be if the other person continues to treat us in an unacceptable manner. It is a consequence of the other persons behavior.

Setting a boundary is not an attempt to control the other person (although some of the people who you set boundaries with will certainly accuse you of that - just as some will interpret it as a threat) - it is a part of the process of defining ourselves and what is acceptable to us. It is a major step in taking what control we can of how we allow others to treat us. It is a vital step in taking responsibility for our self and our life.

Setting boundaries is not a more sophisticated way of manipulation - although some people will say they are setting boundaries, when in fact they are attempting to manipulate. The difference between setting a boundary in a healthy way and manipulating is: when we set a boundary we let go of the outcome.
I think you can see from the last paragraph that I posted above how all this relates to meditative practice. Letting go of outcomes is exactly what meditation trains us to do.


  1. Sister Ellie, thank you for this explanation. From my perspective, this fits into what we were talking about earlier today. Your post furthers my understanding of boundaries and attachment to outcomes. Thank you!

  2. Thank you for this. I need to come back and read and read the articles, with all my kids coming home soon.

  3. Thanks for the comments, Courtney and Jan. Yes, this is one of the best articles I've come across on cultivating and enforcing healthy boundaries. I do recommend clicking through and reading the whole thing. Good luck to you both!

    (Jan, it's easier on me, for sure, because all of my kids are of the four legged variety!)



New policy: Anonymous posts must be signed or they will be deleted. Pick a name, any name (it could be Paperclip or Doorknob), but identify yourself in some way. Thank you.