Boundaries Book Summary, by Henry Cloud, John Townsend

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1-Page Summary of Boundaries


It takes a lot of strength to identify, create, and maintain boundaries in your life. A good way to develop that strength is by forming a boundary support group where you can discuss successes and failures with each other. This will help you learn how to set boundaries while gaining confidence from the experience of others who are also working on their boundaries.

What would a day without boundaries look like? Maybe this: You wake up before your alarm to make breakfast for your kids. At work, you have a big presentation that morning and really need time to prepare, but you don’t ask anyone else to help with the cooking. The presentation is not set up yet, so it’s not your job, but you get all the equipment ready anyway. Before you can even begin preparing the presentation or asking someone else to do it instead of you because they’re better at it than you are, your boss asks if he can count on you to coordinate the upcoming Christmas party too! He says that he’d do it himself if he could but there just isn’t enough time in his schedule. Of course, I agree because what choice do I have? It’s already lunchtime!

The above passage is about how boundaries are important for both self-care and being kind to others. By setting boundaries, we can avoid overworking ourselves and help others understand our limits. We will learn the importance of boundaries in the following key points:

In this article, you’ll learn how letting people take advantage of you hurts them as well as yourself. You’ll also find out how to solve common boundary violations and why setting boundaries might be the most selfless thing someone can do.

Big Idea #1: Boundaries are a nice thing to have

When you think about it, the physical environment is defined by concrete boundaries. There are many reasons for these boundaries. For example, there’s a barbed wire fence around a nuclear power plant to protect people from entering dangerous areas.

Boundaries are important for emotional and spiritual protection. They’re not as clear-cut as physical boundaries, but they can be just as necessary. It’s difficult to establish your own boundaries or discern someone else’s because it isn’t always obvious when you should enforce them. However, enforcing your boundaries shouldn’t make you feel mean—it should actually help you feel better about yourself in the long run.

Setting boundaries is an act of kindness.

When we set boundaries, it means that we’re taking ownership of our needs and feelings. It also doesn’t mean that we don’t care about other people’s problems or spiritual concerns. However, setting healthy boundaries simply means that we’re not solely responsible for them. As the Bible teaches us in Galatians, you are responsible to others but for yourself. Still confused by this distinction? We can unpack it with an example of a hypothetical family called the O’Rileys who have a son named James who has lost his way after being expelled from school and developing a drug problem.

The O’Riley’s can take responsibility for their son’s issues by enrolling him in another school and paying the fines when he is caught with drugs. However, this will not solve his problem because they are just taking responsibility for it themselves.

The O’Riley’s could take responsibility for their son’s problems without taking responsibility for him. They can listen to him, support him and facilitate his sobriety all while not solving his problems for him. By setting boundaries they are showing themselves love because it is an act of kindness towards themselves but also others as well.

Boundaries Book Summary, by Henry Cloud, John Townsend

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