There’s a difference between putting up a wall and setting a boundary.
Walls close people out. Boundaries allow access for relationship to continue.
Walls are indicative of fear. We usually throw one up when we’re unsure of how to proceed in a healthy way that will allow us to both maintain our sense of self and continue being in relationship with this person.
Boundaries (when set appropriately), gently allow us to remain safe in connection as we create space for others to respect and honor our needs.
I like to think of boundaries as a fence and respect as the gate (with a lock). Healthy boundaries say, “You can no longer step into my sacred space without passing through the gate (aka respecting my needs).” Until that person can respect your needs (boundary), they will not be allowed access to you.
When we set a boundary it is important to clearly define what we need without trying to control another person’s decisions. They don’t HAVE to choose to abide by our boundary, but without doing so, they will no longer be able to have access to us (whether that is physically, emotionally, or mentally).
This can sound manipulative (usually to the one who will feel the pain of the boundary), but choosing yourself and clearly communicating what you need to feel loved and safe in relationship is not manipulative. It’s actually called self-love (aka #selfworth)!
The trick is in understanding we will never have control over another person’s choices or the security of a relationship. We can do our part, but the person we are in connection with has the power to choose how they will show up in relationship moving forward.
Once we identify what we need and clearly communicate that by setting a boundary (not a wall), we are inviting the other person to show up or not.
It is so simple, but it can be so weighty when you’re actually doing it–especially if you’re new to boundary setting like me! The self-worth growth is immediate after you follow through and set a healthy boundary. And it’s freaking empowering.
But you can’t set boundaries until you know what you want/need. And you won’t know what you want/need until you pay attention to YOURSELF (aka your inner child).
So spend a little time discovering YOU and start creating a world where everywhere you go, you feel safe (because you’re taking care of your own emotional well-being for once)! It’s a new way to live, my friends! I highly recommend it.