I loved reading Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Glover Tawwab. I first came across Nedra in her interview with Scott Barry Kaufmann podcast The Psychology Podcast. I then began following Nedra on Instagram and loved pretty much everything she posted. My beautiful younger sister then bought me the book!
The book is broken into two parts, the first part is Understanding the Importance of Boundaries. Tawwab defines what boundaries are, why they are so important, who might need boundaries and the different types of boundaries you need to set.
At the end of each chapter there is an exercise for you to do, usually jotting down some answers to a series of questions Tawwab poses. While I was reading the book I began to look at some of my behaviours and reactions to other’s behaviours through the lens of boundaries and realised that there were indeed a number of areas I needed to work on. Tawwab also gives you signs to look for that indicate you need to set more boundaries:
Importantly, Tawwab also identifies that it isn’t just with others that you need to set boundaries and that you need to set boundaries for yourself as well and gives these examples of what they could like:
The second part of the book is This is How You Do the Work of Setting Boundaries where chapter by chapter it goes through the different relationship areas in your life and Tawwab offers practical tips and examples on how you can set boundaries with family, friends, work colleagues, partners etc.
I have to note that in many of the examples Tawwab gives when I read them the first time I thought “I could never say that!”. But then I thought about a number of people that I admire and realise that they say very similar things to protect their time, energy and sanity.
And this comes to one of the key things I loved about the book, Tawabb knows setting boundaries can be challenging but she also knows that your life will be better off with them. Tawabb states a number of times that there is no such thing as guilt-free boundary setting and encourages us to reframe the way we think about boundaries to help with the guilt we may feel from doing so. Moving from thinking that boundaries are mean or wrong to knowing that they are an essential part of healthy relationships and self-care practice.
Set boundaries knowing that you are improving your life, not harming others.
Tawwab doesn’t give examples for every possible situation you may need a boundary for. Throughout the book, she instead reiterates the process of boundary setting:
- recognising the signs that you need boundaries
- determining the type of boundary you can put in place
- communicating the boundary
- enforcing the boundary
Boundary setting is a practice that requires doing the hard work to receive the benefits. As Tawwab describes, it is an ongoing effort to ensure that you are happy and well in your relationships and in life, something I think all of us want.