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Nedra Glover Tawwab, a relationship therapist for over fourteen years, believes boundaries will set us free. Her debut book SET BOUNDARIES, FIND PEACE is an easy-to-use guide on identifying our boundaries and the necessity of creating healthy ones in our professional and personal lives. Here are a few of our favorite takeaways from her book.

  • What are boundaries? Tawwab defines boundaries as “expectations and needs that help you feel safe and comfortable in your relationships”. By sharing the experiences of her patients as context, Tawwab breaks down the complexities of boundaries into everyday scenarios - from a friend asking to borrow your car, but not bringing it back with gas to a supervisor continuously asking you to stay late after work. Most boundaries can be placed within six characterizations: physical, sexual, intellectual, emotional, material, and time. 
  • Think your lack of asserting boundaries with those around you isn’t a big deal? Tawwab explains that not having healthy boundaries can lead to burnout, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Not to mention the adverse effects it can have on personal and professional relationships. 
  • A lot of our issues with boundaries start in childhood. Our early caregivers set the tone for what we learned to accept from others. Identifying the origins of any difficulties with boundaries is key to building healthier ones in the future.
  • Boundaries don’t just extend to external relationships. We have a responsibility to honor our internal boundaries with ourselves as well. Not adhering to our own personal standards can stunt our personal growth or keep us stuck in vicious cycles. 
  • So what now? When communicating your boundaries Tawwab believes that assertiveness is key. Especially by using statement driven language like “I want”, “I need”, or “I expect”. She applies numerous strategies to setting boundaries at work, as well as within romantic relationships, friendships, and family. 

All in all we loved this book, and find this a timely topic to meditate on as we head into family time and the holidays. The end of each chapter contains a helpful section review, as well as exercises which will help you dive deeper into your own boundary needs and issues. It’s an approachable read that almost anyone can relate and benefit from. For more relationship and boundary insights, follow Nedra Glover Tawwab on Instagram.