A boundary is simply what’s ok and what’s not ok.”
— Brené Brown

I have come to believe that setting appropriate boundaries is perhaps one of the most important abilities that defines our maturity and helps us accomplish our goals in life. Just like teaching an unruly colt manners for your own and the horses safety, we also teach others how to treat us.  

Our personal boundaries are the basic, yet often invisible rulebook that guides all of our relationships and fosters a true partnership. Our boundaries define how and what we communicate, what we give and receive, and even, in the most basic sense, provide the parameters for what we expect from others and life itself.  

They are necessary because, not everyone is playing from the same moral deck.  We’ve all had the insecure friend or co-worker that is always trying to put others down, in order to inflate their own egos and boost their self-esteem; or the overly critical family member, that feels their hurtful words are beneficial to your well-being.  There are a lot of people in the world who are willing to project their issues onto others and it’s our responsibility to protect ourselves.  
Last week we talked about the difference between our True Selves and false selves.  Boundaries are the truest measure of how we love ourselves and what we value most, therefore, in order to set healthy boundaries, it has to be from the place of our True Selves where they can be set with a firm compassion that exudes power, will and respect.  Brené Brown, believes that we can’t be our True Selves without boundaries.

In this six-minute video, Brené Brown speaks about how boundaries are the key to self love and treating others with love.
Defining our boundaries can be challenging if we’re not connected to our True Selves because the very nature of boundaries is fluid and change with our sense of self.  Knowing when we want to say yes, when we want to say no, what feels like self-respect and where our own needs start and end are the foundations that create the boundaries that impact every aspect of our lives.  

Every relationship will negotiate boundaries: what is individual, what is ours, and what is public.  Sometimes we work out these arrangements head on, but more often we approach it with trial and error approach. Like horses, we often see how much we can get away with before we cross a line.

A look, a comment, hurt feelings resulting in bruised silence are the clues we have to interpret. Whether above board or below, we delineate the boundaries of separateness and togetherness in all of our relationships.

Our definitions and expectations of commitment are transforming. These lines that are drawn are not as obvious as people think they are, and therefore it is an important conversation to have early on in relationships.  

It’s much easier to teach someone right out of the gate, that if they want to be in a relationship with you, then they are going to have to treat you with respect.  

Horses are great teachers of this because it is their natural tendency to test the boundaries of their handlers and of other herd members.  A horse feels secure when they know where they stand in the herds pecking order which they determine by testing boundaries.

If you watch a herd of horses interact you can observe this play out.  It generally starts out subtly - a hard look, a toss of a head, tightened lip, or pinned ears.  This is usually enough to get another herd member out of their space.  If not it can escalate to a bite, kick or a striking front hoof.  Their communication is fair, authentic and effective.

If we as humans don’t let someone know their behavior is inappropriate it will continue. We must communicate directly and immediately following the incident, that this behavior is not acceptable. And if it does continue, then you follow it up with immediate action, like ending your involvement with that person, because they are then showing you that they are the type of person that does not respect boundaries.

Your True Self and your self-esteem are extremely valuable and yours and only yours to protect.  No one, regardless of their issues, has any right to to diminish you!  By consistently enforcing your boundaries, you are cementing that line in the sand and if another continues to cross it, let them keep on walking, because you deserve so better!
Standing up for yourself and enforcing boundaries does not make you a bitch. It makes you someone that loves and respects yourself.”
If you don’t enforce your boundaries with immediate action, then your words are empty and people will not take you seriously. People will eventually show you who they really are, but by having and enforcing your boundaries early on, you can uncover someone’s true intentions before you become emotionally invested.

Relationship boundaries are also not a topic that you negotiate only once. Your personal and relationship boundaries may change based on your relationship or your individual preferences at varying stages of the relationship. The most successful couples are agile, and allow this to be an open and ongoing discussion.

What boundaries are important to you and your sense of self? Leave your thoughts in the comments and stay tuned next week as we continue our discussion on healthy and unhealthy boundaries.
Whatever you are willing to put up with, is exactly what you will have.”
— Anonymous



05/04/2016 3:18pm


I still don't know how I can relate this to our relationship with animals but a perfect example would be as simple as not allowing them to sit in our bed or even get inside the house. Although some people will allow this, some people won't. Some people will hate those who allow it and some people will hate those who don't. People will always have something to say. So when it comes to boundaries we should only listen to ourselves.

05/07/2016 1:49am

Thank you for writing this great article Jennifer. I found myself nodding at the end of every sentence and is so aligned with my own beliefs that it was wonderful to be able to share it on my business facebook page and it's had a lot of likes and a share. Thank you for your wonderful writing. Warm regards Rosie

Cowgirl Grit and Grace
05/17/2016 10:18am

Thank you Rosie! I'm glad you've enjoyed it and found it useful!

05/10/2016 11:54am

Ive been doing alot of work on boundaries over the past 12 months. Much of this resonates.
When our boundaries are unclear to us and others this can create alot of drama, heartache and emotional problems.
I too have horses who I exercise boundaries with very well yet people and relatioship especially in love life have been very problematic. People pleasing and neediness through lack of self love and care, burn out which spirals into a pattern into all areas of lifes relationships. When |I say all these can range from health, time, work, lovers the works. \i have learnt to take my time with my \yes not and decisions rather than rush and make the wrong choices. \i started by taking a look at my values and what is important to me my core values for living and formed boundaries aroud them. Starting late with boundaries can be exhausting when you finally take action with self love. so please start from out the gate. This provides so much inner peace and freedom to own you.

Cowgirl Grit and Grace
05/17/2016 10:21am


Great advice on taking time to make decisions! And you are so right it is all about self-love. Thank you for reading and commenting!

05/11/2016 4:03pm

Thank you! I love these articles on boundaries. Ironically, I have been reading Brene Brown's book and read this part that she discusses in the video you posted. I am working on building a team and it is amazing how much you need to know and understand about boundaries. If our boundaries are clear from the start, I think we will be much more successful. I just subscribed to your blog. I am not much of a horse person, but am a Farm-her and run my own essential oil education business. Thank you so much!!

Cowgirl Grit and Grace
05/17/2016 10:23am


I love Brene Brown's work!!! She speaks a lot about team building in her book. Thank you for subscribing!

08/16/2016 5:01pm

Every work has a separate own its boundary as well. Everyone should know about the same work on the different stages. These are the same workless and happiness of the human being life.


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