Drawing your own line in the sand.

I’m inspired by a thoughtful comment on my last post about Maya Angelou. Rebecca mentioned inspiring young women and men on how they see themselves, but it’s a challenge for all of us really—whether its appearance, age, occupation, skin colour, wealth, poshness of abode, etc

Why are so many of us concerned about what others think? Sure, in our evolutionary history, getting on socially meant the difference between life and death. But many of us allow what others think of us (and sometimes only what we THINK others think of us) to overshadow what we think of ourselves.

I once worked with an inspiring youth counsellor. Boundaries, she said, most peoples’ problems are about boundaries. About not setting boundaries between wives, husbands, parents, children, friends, relatives, work colleagues, the general public. Also about not drawing a line between what people think of you and what you think of yourself.


Maya Angelou knew about boundaries. Maya found the edges where she ended and others began.

your opinion

Being a fox (and not a hedgehog), I have grappled with boundaries. I can easily default to thinking the confident hedgehogs of the world know better than me. Even back in Year 5, Sharon of the Shaved Arms once sniffed that, although my skinny legs stood in the way of even a working relationship between us, if I shaved them I’d be much improved. Alas, my mother gave me a boundary—I was not allowed near a razor before high school.

Teaching classrooms of young, often super-charged egos with a mixed bag of parenting forced me to learn about boundaries, real fast—bless them. And training a puppy who thinks he’s a human trapped in a dog’s body, who my husband would ditch me for if he was … that is another line in the sand!

Anyhow, I hope the word boundary begins to tease its way into your consciousness as it has mine. It’s not a magic wand-method, it takes effort, and these links say it better than me. I chose Oprah because she and Maya were good friends.

Begin to Set Personal Boundaries  Oprah

How to Set Boundaries – 3 Crucial steps Tiny Buddha    Britt Bolnick



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8 Responses to Drawing your own line in the sand.

  1. Lee-Anne says:

    One of the nicer things about getting older (and there are few) is not giving a hoot about what other’s think of you…being comfortable in your (rapidly-losing-elasticity) skin! 🙂

  2. Debbish says:

    As I read this I was reminded of my own boundary-setting. YEARS ago I saw a shrink and we talked about my ‘transitional’ issues. Basically I’m very (ummm) set in some of my routines. I have a long bath (during which I read etc) at the end of each day and before I even think about dinner. She talked about my boundaries (between work / home and certain commitments). Even now (when I only work PT) I’m very anal about what I do during the day and at night. For eg, I am not allowed to watch TV during the day but can at night. I also now rarely work / write at night.

    A different kind of boundary setting I realise…

    • Sounds normal to me. I must have these transitional issues too. Is it bad? I’ve only watched daytime TV (Days of Our Lives) when pregnant with my first and was scared I’d become addicted (to Roman Brady), so haven’t touched the stuff since. Since I’ve given up a phone or computer screen two hours before bed I DO sleep better. And still trying to remember the meditation… 🙂

  3. Su Leslie says:

    Thanks for this; you’ve set me off on a really interesting thought process. 🙂

  4. Boundaries–such a powerful concept and a brilliant word. It may become a tattoo I ink on my forehead for easy reminding first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
    Terrific post, Susan. Cheers

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