How I Learned to Form Healthy Boundaries and Became a Boundaries Coach

Issue 37. August 25, 2023 ✨ Higher Power Coaching & Consulting

I learned how to form healthy boundaries within the context of 12-step recovery. I was in a program for people who grew up with relational trauma where you reparent yourselves and use the 12 steps to recover. I did that work in a small group of four women and my relationships with them were imperative to my being able to form healthy boundaries.

They helped me think through what the “right” boundaries were for me, metaphorically (and sometimes literally) holding my hand through the process. They’d also helped me think of the right language to use, the right time and place to set the boundaries, and to process all the difficult emotions that arose when setting boundaries. Something they said many times was, “Keep your hands and fingers away from the keyboard!”

I learned to “bookend” my boundary setting with them, especially in the beginning when it was new behavior, and for particularly difficult boundaries. That means I’d connect with them before and after setting the boundary, frequently so they could reassure me that I was not a bad person, that I deserved to live my life the way I wanted to, and to help me deal with my difficult emotions. It was a Godsend to have them with me.

After I got pretty good at setting boundaries, I started reading about boundaries. It helped me to get better at it, but really what it did was help me retroactively understand WTF happened to me in forming healthy boundaries! It enabled me to understand the process I’d just been through.

What I noticed in all the books and articles I read about boundaries was that they were just words. I’ve discovered I’m a pretty visual person, so I felt the need to depict the concepts I had learned and was reading about visually. It helped me understand them better. So I drew lots of circles and fences and gates with arrows and hearts and put words inside and outside the circles. I’ve since turned those visuals into a workbook with exercises so you can apply the concepts to your own life and build your own, personalized boundary system.

Learning to form healthy boundaries was one of the most important tools I learned through recovery. I often say boundaries are an incredible gift of recovery, and they’ve become one of my most important tools of recovery. This is why I became a boundaries coach – because they were such a profound game-changer in my life. They are the antidote to codependence, which is my main addiction.

After I’d been coaching for a while, I pivoted to focus on coaching people on how to form healthy boundaries. One reason is that every client I ever had needed help with boundaries (so many of us do!).

Another is that I was super good at helping people form healthy boundaries (probably because of my lived experience – I know what it feels like in my body to both have and not have them!). And another is that I needed some kind of niche and this just felt right.

The thing about boundaries is that they permeate every single area of your life! That means I can help people with just about any area of their life when I coach them on forming boundaries. Of course the most important area of our lives in which healthy boundaries have an impact is in our relationships. What most people don’t realize until they start forming healthy boundaries, is that the most improved relationship they’ll have is with themselves!

So that’s my journey – how and why I became a boundaries coach. I want YOU to experience the peace and freedom and healthy relationships I’ve experienced as a result of my healthy boundaries. You deserve it. We all do.

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