Wash Your Hands of Passive Agression, Hold Your Boundaries.

by Coach Ellie

 Ever heard of “hand-stamp” soap? One pump of Yuzu Flower Foam Hand Wash produces a fluffy “flower” of soap in your palm. It was specially designed to be used one-handed, and it’s said to frequently go out of stock on Amazon.

So clever and delightful. And at nearly 19 dollars a “user-friendly” bottle, not cheap.


The dispenser was built with children and the elderly in mind. But judging from the reviews, everybody loves it. Here we see thoughtful product design transforming the mundane task of hand-washing into a sales and marketing success.

Similarly, making a conscious effort to understand and express our personal boundaries yields more delightful relationships. Strong boundaries transform your relationships from being frustrating and painful to fun and even empowering.

Personal boundaries are your interpersonal limits.

Your boundaries mark what you enjoy and what you do not. There is what you love, what you will put up with, and what you simply cannot stand.

Everyone’s boundaries vary

You may enjoy joking around with others. Another person may find that same “joking around” to be insulting. You might be someone who enjoys giving and receiving hugs, while another person finds them invasive. You might dislike it when strangers start conversations about politics; another person might find the daily horse race energizing.

Of course, there are universal truths about personal boundaries.

Most people do NOT like being punched in the face or yelled at. Most people (who are not pain-pigs) do not like being disrespected or having their rights trampled. The thing is, outside physical violence and flagrant insults, we each have our own limitations and indeed our own, subjective interpretations of these limits.

Image by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.

Well-defined boundaries increase life satisfaction.

By consciously setting boundaries, you save yourself from bouncing around, wasting your time getting triggered by this person or that situation. You know your own limits and expectations. You know what sets you off and what fills you up. Furthermore, you can therefore plan accordingly rather than waste time reacting.

Good boundaries greatly decrease interpersonal drama.

If you find yourself angry, anxious and depressed more than not, you probably need to review your boundaries and thus your personal values. They act as a compass for where you want to direct your precious time and attention.

Personal boundaries reinforce your values.

Your values are what gives meaning and purpose to life. When you are clear on what you do want in your life, you can then spend your energy pursuing that. As a result, you will find and attract into your life more of the good stuff.

And even better than that, you do not have to exert energy demonizing others for being different from you. Which is exhausting.

Good boundaries help you not inflict your standards on others.

There is a subtle sickness to love addiction in that it turns you into a control freak masquerading as a selfless giver. By learning to build and respect our own personal boundaries, you also let others have theirs too. Rather than expend resources shaming or making others wrong, we can get busy controlling ourselves –the only person over which we have any control (unless you are the parent of a toddler, and even then…).

Watery boundaries result in chaos

Poor boundaries cause us to get overwhelmed by life. We let in too much of what we cannot handle, are not interested in, or simply doesn’t belong to us. We start blaming others for our pain.

When we have given little conscious thought to our boundaries, we will find ourselves angry, for seemingly no reason. Many aspects of our anxiety and depression are born out of not focusing on, understanding or living our own needs and values.

When you have no inner awareness about your own limitations, you unknowingly let others trespass you. Then you get angry! But at whom? And why?

To get the respect you deserve, you need to set the parameters.

For example, if I am craving BBQ but agree to meet you at your favorite vegan café, I need to be clear with myself about my motives. If today, spending time with you is more important than eating ribs, then no problem. But if I really want those baby-backs, I had better speak up. Otherwise, I risk being offended (because you didn’t rescue me from not speaking up for myself).

Each of us is the custodian of our own boundaries.

Their creation and expression is our individual responsibility. Unfortunately, love addicts shy away from this duty. Working with a coach is a great way to dive deep and figure out where your boundaries might need a tune-up.

How will you know your boundaries are sufficient?

If you are enjoying life more than not, then your boundaries are likely solid. Where you are placing your energy is bearing fruit. You know what you like, and you are getting it more than not. You do not resent others for being themselves because you know you get to be you, too.

Image by Cottonbro Studio on Pexels.

But some things are beyond the pale! You may insist.

What is moral or ethical about not challenging another person’s potentially dangerous beliefs or hurtful behavior? What’s the point of holding values and boundaries if you never take a stand?

The actions you take (or fail to take) express volumes.

Your values, and therefore your boundaries, are that stand. They guide you into proactive behavior rather than letting you exhaust yourself with blaming, shaming and name-calling.

Say you caught your boyfriend flirting with another woman. You want real intimacy with your partner. Not games. You want to be loved, cherished, respected, and he betrayed that.

You have a choice. Leave him or work it out.

There is a difference between throwing your toys and making sincere requests.

If you spend your time blaming and shaming him, and then stay, you are in for an even deeper heartache. If you blame and shame him, and he vows to never flirt again, you have an empty relationship.

Instead, have a calm conversation about what you want. That will provide a more nourishing outcome for both of you.

Here’s the thing, you may not be emotionally mature enough (yet).

As a fellow love addict (a forever recovering one) I know what it is like to lack the know-how for expressing my reality moderately. Love addiction pushes you to operate out of fear of abandonment or loss of control. But don’t fret! You can get a grip on this.

Let’s recap.

In summary, taking time to create personal boundaries saves you endless amounts of heartache. It puts you in touch with your values, which are your compass to a meaningful life. Failure to have boundaries makes life messy and dramatic. Boundary building can be especially challenging for love addicts, as we tend not to be in touch with your true needs and wants. It takes time, but knowing and clearly communicating your needs reaps interpersonal rewards.

Luckily, all you require is a little introspection and some courage to clarify your boundaries. “Hand-stamp soap” is optional –though “super cute,” according to the testimonials.

Suffer from love addiction? Need help working on building your boundaries? Schedule a no obligation, conversation with me, to see if I might be a good coaching match for you.

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