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Healthy Boundaries Aren't About Protection

I've been studying Bowen systems theory for about seven years now and though there have been many epiphanies, there are two that stand out.

#1 Don't Trust Your Instincts

#2 Healthy Boundaries are about Self-Definition, not Self-Protection

Let's talk about #2.

When my mentor in systems theory presented me with this concept, I felt like staggering backwards. (Which would have been weird, since I was sitting in a comfortable chair.)

It was one of those moments where I somehow knew in my brain that this was theoretically correct, but I also knew I was going to have to sit with that for a while, in order to truly understand it. And sit  with it longer before I could truly begin living it out.

On the face of it, it's a pretty radical notion. Because the messages we hear all the time are about the need to have boundaries for one's protection. We need to feel safe, the logic goes, so we need to establish and maintain boundaries.

You know what the critical error is in that l…

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