Setting Boundaries or Building Walls

Relationships take work.  Not only familial or romantic relationships, friends, co-workers, your neighbors, and more…there are many people you are in relationship with.

Setting boundaries are a necessary and a very healthy part of mutually beneficial and respectful relationships.  Letting people know what you will and won’t permit in your relationships, gives them clear communication for interacting with you.  Boundaries set clear, compassionate and self-empowered expectations.  Hopefully they’re kind.  Hopefully they’re realistic.  Hopefully they’re mutual and serve everyone’s highest good.

Boundaries are set out of consciousness They honor you and your time, space and energy.  They are a necessary tool in being self-empowered, self-accountable, and self-aware.  Boundaries, in four highly educated words, are simply smart and simply awesome.

When someone betrays a boundary that you have clearly set, first recognize that they didn’t betray you, they betrayed your boundary.  Acknowledging that, letting them know, and reaffirming that boundary is crucial.  Maybe they forgot.  Maybe they wanted to test it.  Maybe they fell back into their own patterns, that might become more visible when you talk to them.  Lastly, there’s a chance that they just don’t give a crap about your “silly boundary.”  Regardless, being the kind and open-communication-ish person you are, please discuss and establish their intention.  Most times, if they respect and care for you, they simply forgot.  If it’s the latter and they simply don’t give a crap, then staying in relation with someone that doesn’t respect you, well…then you’re simply betraying yourself.

Okay, onto walls (scary background music cued).  I think sometimes we get confused between setting conscious proactive boundaries or constructing unconscious reactive walls.

Walls are built out of unconscious fear We’re talking metaphorically here, but you are welcome to look at literal examples, as they also apply.  Walls are built for control to either keep people in or out.  They are built in reaction to possibly being hurt or feeling vulnerable.  Walls send the message, “I’m afraid of losing you…I can’t let you go” or “I’m protecting myself…You can’t come in.”  One of the interesting things about walls is they give us the illusion of being safe and in control.  But since walls are built out of a fear, they typically only magnify that fear.

When building a wall instead of setting a boundary, think of it this way:  If I’m afraid of something about my relationship with you, that’s my fear.  You are the scary projection of my fear. So, I build a wall so that I can either “keep” you or so that I can’t see you.  But, damn it, you’re still there, staring at me with your irritated “kept-ness” or just hanging out on the other side of the wall (probably playing hacky sack).  I’m still here (knitting…that was a lie)…feeling in control and safer, but still just as afraid, because energetically I haven’t worked through and acknowledged that this is my fear.

Still curious if you’re being a proactive boundary setter or a reactive wall builder?  If you are setting functional, clear and realistic boundaries, your relationships should be mutually beneficial and reciprocal.  If you’re over-giving to keep people in or you’re putting walls up to keep people out, there’s an imbalance and you are probably experiencing a reactive response…fight, flight, freeze or façade.  One of my tools to notice how I feel when I’m showing up in my relationships.  With a mutually respected relationship, I find myself feeling less constricted, more playful, and able to share my truth.  When I have walls up, I find myself constricted, serious (I notice I’ll even lower my voice…it’s a trip) and guarded.

Remember, it’s okay to not embrace everyone that crosses your life path.  Putting pressure on yourself to do so, is only added pressure that you probably don’t need (now I’m a psychic).  Set your boundaries.  Be clear about what is and is not okay for you.  Do it consciously, empowered and self-aware.  Those that don’t respect them, bless them, pat their butt and send them on their way.  And if you find yourself building a metaphoric (or literal…you know who you are) wall, look inward and ask yourself why you’re afraid.  Anyone that shows up to teach you that lesson was a gift to help you become a little more self-aware, empowered and connected with…well, you.

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Published by Karen Solt

I am an Emotional Wellness Coach, YouTuber, Blogger, and activist for peace, unity, freedom, equality and connection. I hold a Masters in Psychology (Counseling) and am passionate about helping others. A retired Navy Senior Chief veteran, I have had various life experiences that have created my unique style of coaching. I remain curious about the human experience and am beyond grateful for the life I share with my fabulous dog, Paco. You can learn more about me and my work at,, or you can reach me at

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