How Self-Discovery Leads To Healthy Boundaries

Setting Healthy Boundaries in Relationships

What is a Healthy Boundary?

Do you remember taking a class in school where you learned about setting and maintaining healthy boundaries?…Me neither.

Unfortunately that class doesn’t exist and it surely didn’t exist for your parents or their parents.

So, when and where were you supposed to learn about how to set healthy boundaries?

Most importantly, why is it important to learn about them?

In this blog post, we’ll explore the concept of healthy boundaries and how they are intertwined with your sense of self.

Unraveling the Layers of Self-Discovery

What gets in the way of creating healthy boundaries? The lack of strong SELF leadership.

I believe having healthy boundaries means having enough clarity about who I really am and enough self-respect to know when to say yes and when to say no.

What is SELF leadership and how do you get it? That is a complex and nuanced question that defies a simple answer, but here is a starting point…

When I meet with my coaching clients, we delve into this concept by addressing two fundamental questions:

  • What is it you don’t want people to think about you?
  • What do you do to make sure they don’t think that?

These questions point to the parts of you that have gotten stuck in the past. 

How Does IFS Therapy Help?

One of the modalities I have been trained in is called Internal Family Systems or IFS. According to the IFS model, these trapped aspects are known as exiles—parts of you that harbor secret fears and pain.

In contrast, the parts that manage and control these exiled parts are known as the protectors. They shield you from being hurt again by keeping your vulnerabilities hidden.

For instance, I had a client who had was raised by a single mom and grew up always worrying about her. So from an early age, she tried to make her mom happy. She did this by cleaning the house before she got home or making sure her siblings were taken care of.

She carried on that coping strategy of wanting to please her mom to wanting to please other people. This lead her to constantly feel burned out because she never could say no. She had no boundaries.

It’s crucial to understand that you, like my client, do not have to be defined by your exiles or protectors. First, you have to be aware that they are there. Second, to understand what unresolved past experiences created these exiles and protectors.

The power of the IFS model lies in its ability to facilitate the resolution of these past wounds. IFS helps your fragmented parts to become unstuck, which allows your true selves to emerge.

The Burden of the Past

The stuck parts you carry within bear the emotional weight, energy, and beliefs of your unresolved past. These stuck parts heavily influence your preferences, as well as your needs for safety and security.

From the example of my client above, she felt safe and secure when she could make other people happy by trying to please them. The problem is that she could not make everyone happy all the time and so she never felt safe and had no boundaries or the ability to say no.

So your personal boundaries are shaped by your unresolved issues.

Boundaries established by your burdened parts operate automatically beneath your conscious awareness. They often have little relevance to your current circumstances or the people in your life. It is just an unconscious reaction to your past.

Rediscovering the Authentic Self

The healing comes from your Self helping your younger parts realize they are not stuck in the past and do not need to respond to the current situations the same way.

The key to connecting with your authentic self lies in remembering and connecting with who you were before your parts became trapped in the past.

Remarkably, your authentic self still exists when your protective barriers are relaxed. You don’t have to completely resolve your past to experience life as your true self.

Simply acknowledging that current situations can trigger and activate your stuck parts is a step toward reconnecting with your genuine, authentic self.

Harnessing the Power of Awareness

The process of setting healthy boundaries is more about you than it is about other people.

Healthy boundaries involve recognizing what triggers your discomfort and your ability to respond in a non-reactive way, rather than reacting to memories of a painful or frightening past.

Boundaries become truly healthy when they emanate from your complete, integrated self—referred to as the “Self” in the IFS model.

These boundaries reflect your need for security, safety, and connection in the present moment, and they remain flexible, adapting to changing conditions and your capacity to respond.


In your journey toward self-discovery and setting healthy boundaries, you unearth layers of yourself that have been overshadowed by past pain and fears.

In my work with clients, I help them learn to differentiate between their exiles, protectors, and authentic self which allows them to recognize when their boundaries are influenced by unresolved issues.

By becoming aware of these triggers and taking conscious steps to respond from a place of authenticity, you can navigate life’s challenges with self compassion and resilience.

Remember, healthy boundaries are not only about protecting yourself but also about embracing your true self and fostering genuine connections in the present moment. As you continue to explore the depths of your being and cultivate healthy boundaries, you pave the way for a more fulfilling and authentic life journey.


Recommended Posts For You

Is Your Self Worth Tied To The Money You Make?

Is Your Self Worth Tied To The Money You Make?

How Does Money Affect Your Self Worth? Money and self-worth are two topics that are deeply intertwined, yet often misunderstood. Your relationship with money is a reflection of your deeper beliefs and sense of self-worth. It is your beliefs that often shape your...


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *