Community

community1A point that Cloud and Townsend make over and over again in their book Boundaries is that you need a community. In order to create, maintain, and revise your boundaries, you need support. Not only do you need a community – you need one which is healthy and which loves you. You need to be able to openly speak about your boundaries and receive support and encouragement, especially as you encounter resistance from other people.

What does that kind of community look like? It’s going to be intimate – we’re not talking about a 200+ person religious group or club. We’re talking about a group of more than 1 and less than 20. They will be your peers – not superior or inferior. They will be emotionally healthy, at least to the point that their own unique neuroses don’t trigger any of your neuroses! Because let’s be honest, no one is completely normal, right? And finally, they will be willing to give and take with you: they are willing to help you support your burdens and are willing to accept your help in return.

How do you find such a community? Most of us tend to organically form these groups, but there are ways to be more intentional about creating community. If you belong to a church or religious organization, you can join whatever small group format they offer, like a Sunday School class or Bible study. You can extend an actual invitation to a small circle of friends to meet regularly and support one another. You can join a shared interest group (check out Meetup.com). Whatever method you choose, make sure you have a supportive tribe around you as you begin to address your boundaries.