One of the most important tools I’ve learned in my life, and also taught to my clients is boundaries. As a teacher of mine once said, boundaries are needed in the places in which we’ve lost compassion for the other. Sometimes when we love somebody, we are willing to go above and beyond for that person. So when they act in a way that hurts us, it can be hard to know how to respond from a loving, healthy place. Compassion would say ‘I love you, I know you are loving me the best you can and I forgive you’ Boundaries would say ‘No, this is not acceptable’ Compassionate boundaries would say ‘I love you and I love myself. In order to stay loving towards us both, I need to set this boundary.’ If we are met with a situation, behaviour or decision that isn’t a joyful ‘yes!’, that can’t or won’t be negotiated so that we can find a joyful ‘yes!’, then the answer is a boundaried ‘no’. Brene Brown says “daring to set a boundary is having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” What are your boundaries or lack thereof? But boundaries can feel a lot more complex than that. Especially in our most intimate relationships. Are you the boundary obsessed – always setting boundaries but using it to keep people out? Are you scared to set a boundary because you think others will question your love for them and then leave you? Do you set good boundaries at work but let your friends walk all over you? Do see the boundaries as way that you need to be more loving? On the other side of the equation, how do you react to a boundary? Has something been done to you, do you respect and allow it, or do you argue and erode it? Do you have a hard time setting boundaries but respect others? Setting a true boundary is the most compassionate act you can give to yourself and those you love. With a true boundary we are saying our feelings and thoughts matter, we are valuing our needs as equal to those around us. We are teaching those in our lives how we would like to be loved. We are creating a space for that respectful love to show up and creating a bar by which we can assess the state of our relationships. It is a gift for our loved ones because they can be clear on how they can be with us. And if they have a boundary to our boundary, then they are released to find a space where they can be loved in the way they desire. It’s a win win. Dare to start experimenting with boundaries in your life and see how implementing this loving skill can vastly improve your life and relationships.