Establishing Boundaries: Footprints in the Sand

Updated: Feb 12

I think of boundaries as routes on a guiding map authored by our best selves.

Why is that?

No matter your situation or circumstance, or how you feel about yourself at any given moment, personal boundaries always represent your sense on how you ought to be treated by others.

While the word itself is clunky and without poetic versatility, I believe that boundaries represent our expressions of self-love, self-respect and self-worth.That said, how we choose to express those boundaries help or hinder other people’s abilities to honour them.

What do you mean?

Let’s imagine being at the beach, walking barefoot in the sand.

Our footprints are the signals we leave to others that we are here and we matter.

Footprints on a shoreline appear and disappear with the flow of the waves. Impermanence personified. There for a moment, barely a memory.

Footprints beyond the reach of the tide are firmly placed. Boldly present for everyone to see.

These are styles of communicating boundaries.

How we communicate our boundaries to others, matter.

While the footprints in the shoreline are there they rarely serve as a signal. These footprints, as boundaries, are hard to follow. Someone would have to be a mind reader to know what they were and how to adhere to them.

Footprints in the sand, out of reach of the shoreline, as boundaries, are explicitly stated and serve as the signal as intended. People recognize them and can make the choice as to how to engage with them.

To have successful, reciprocal relationships we all need to learn to place our boundaries beyond the shoreline.