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When We Cross Our Own Boundaries

by jenny sansouci on April 2, 2014

“You make boundaries you’d never dream to cross
And if you happen to, you wake completely lost.”
-Missy Higgins

Give me rules. Give me boundaries. I’ll happily break them. With a smile. Probably a laugh.

But if I cross my own boundaries? Oh, FORGET IT. Fast forward to the scene where I dive deep into a bottomless cavern of self-judgement.

We all set boundaries for different reasons. You hear about people’s boundaries every day.

“I don’t drink.”

“I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 12.”

“I’m a recovering drug addict – clean and sober for 6 years.”

“I would never say something like that/react with anger/yell at someone/be rude/etc.”

“I’m gluten-free, 100%.”

“I don’t sleep with someone unless I’m in a committed relationship with them.”

“I don’t do _______ anymore.”

“I would NEVER cheat.”

“Oh, I’m just not the type of person who _________.”

“I would never/could never __________.”

“That’s just who I am.”

We create boundaries for a reason — because discipline in certain areas offers us tremendous freedom.

I’ve said it so many times to myself, written it down so many times with such passion and deep knowingness that it’s made me tear up. DISCIPLINE = FREEDOM. Especially if you have an addictive personality in the least. I remember the first time I fully understood this concept. I read it on the back of a Starbucks cup, years ago. In that moment, it was as if I got struck by lightening.

“The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating – in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.”


It doesn’t matter how unimportant our boundaries or commitments seem to other people. There’s ALWAYS a reason we set up the boundary. To us, it’s a damn good reason. Sometimes, it might even seem like a life-or-death reason. Boundaries are created every day because crossing them can make us feel like we’re involved in a game of Russian roulette.

Then we start to define ourselves by those boundaries. We create identities out of them. We create careers out of them. We create support groups out of them. We write books about them. We get into relationships based on them. We create entire existences based on the freaking boundaries, and everyone in our lives relates to us based on those boundaries. Suddenly we don’t even know who would we be without them. The boundaries become a physical part of us. All-definitive. That’s just who I am.Β 

Then one day, maybe….we cross one of our all-important boundaries. Something changes. Sometimes it’s sudden and unexpected. Sometimes it’s premeditated. Maybe it was a moment of weakness. Maybe it was a “f*ck it” moment. Maybe it was done after careful consideration. Maybe you were drawn in by someone’s sweet, mesmerizing eyes. Either way, when it happens, we can sometimes wake up and find ourselves swimming in a pretty insane pool of self-inquiry.

I’m writing this because I crossed a few of my self-made boundaries recently. Boundaries I made for seemingly important reasons. And to be honest, although a lot of it was really fun, it completely flipped me out. Thank God for friends who are on speed dial to listen to me when I have an identity crisis.

When I woke up from the haze of my own boundary-crossing, I wrote in my journal (among other self-defeating things):

“Oh, right. It can all come back so fast. That’s not the way I want to show up for myself, or for another person. It feels so uncool. I feel like I’ve smushed myself into a pancake. I want to crawl into a donut hole and hide. I need to transform this into something useful STAT or else I’m scared I might fade into oblivion.”

God, I’m so dramatic. What am I even talking about? And why the constant reference to baked goods? My journals are always a little slice of crazytown. Yours probably are too, admit it.

But then I got a very clear message. “This isn’t about you, Jenny, you little freak. It happened so you could get back some perspective. So you can remember the game you’re here to play. TO HELP PEOPLE.”

Oh damn. Riiiight. My mood immediately lifted, knowing I needed to go through that experience to share an important message. Because I’m not the only person who sets boundaries and crosses them and then freaks out. We all do it. And if we can’t relate to each other and be honest about this stuff, well then what the hell is the point?

I’ve been getting pretty cocky lately. Feeling like I’m so unmessablewith, so unreasonable, a superhero, nothing can bring me down. And you know what, that feels really good. I’ve set up my life and my boundaries and my choices to support that kind of awesomeness. To show up, play big, do epic sh*t. But the other night, someone asked me, “what has been your biggest lesson in humility?”

Humility comes along when I cross my boundaries and get the reminder that I’m human and I can still get myself into situations that feel uneasy. To be human is to be fluid, constantly changing, shifting, redefining. We never really have the comfort of “stability” or assurance that everything is going to be one way forever. No matter how #bossy I feel sometimes, I can get kicked into scenarios where I have to go back and clean something up, or I feel totally messable-with, and it’s humbling.

But regret is a wasted emotion.

So. If you find yourself in this scenario, remember:

  • Every moment is a chance to start over and turn it around. You create your reality each day. You can create a positive shift in a new direction right now. Step into your power, fulfill on something that’s important to you. Reality is right now.
  • You are not defined by one action or one moment or one set of circumstances. You’re limitless. πŸ™‚
  • Taking a “step backwards” can actually help you live with more clarity and consciousness, and a higher level of freedom. It’s those detours from perfection that can help you get that clarity.

  • You’re the one making up the story about your boundaries and what they mean about you. You’re the one who can let it go. Suffering occurs when you mix what actually happened with your dramatic story about what happened. Drop your BS story, create new awesome possibilities.
  • If there’s anything you need to clean up, clean it up now and move forward. Be courageous.
  • Find someone to help. There are people EVERYWHERE struggling with what you’re struggling with. Connecting with people is the most healing thing in the world. How can you make a difference with someone? Get interested in the people around you winning. Check out this awesome organization I support.
  • It’s all ok. We’re so hard on ourselves!!!!! Even writing this, I’m like, DUDE!!!! Dude. It’s really, really not that big of a deal.Β 
  • It’s life! It’s a ride. Relax. Be easy.

I’ve written a lot about this topic over the years, because dammit, I’m an imperfect perfectionist. And I’m a work in progress.

Turn Mistakes Into Research

Why It’s Good To Eat Crap Sometimes

Which Version Of Yourself Are You Feeding?

How To Get Out of An Epic Funk

So on that note, I encourage myself to stay true to my commitments and discipline, but to also remember that I’m human and to be gentle with myself. Because we show up every day and attempt to do our best and sometimes it feels like a battle to not destroy ourselves in the process. But YO, we’re all in this together. Ok?

In our honesty
Together we will rise
Out of our nightminds
And into the light.”
-Missy Higgins

Ok so I’d love to hear from you. Have you experienced crossing one of your own boundaries? Did it feel like a big deal? Did you freak out? Did you let it go?

I LOVE YOU GUYS! Thanks for being on this wild adventure of life with me.

Right now. This is it. And it’s perfect.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian Gardner April 2, 2014 at 8:02 pm

Jenny, as you saw my comment on Facebook, I don’t need (but will) echo what I said. This is such a brilliant post, from the authenticity to all of the excellent suggestions.

I could probably write an entire chapter of a comment on this, I’ll just hold you with this … BEAUTIFUL.


jenny sansouci April 2, 2014 at 11:13 pm

Brian, your support is always so appreciated and heartfelt. Your authenticity on your own blog inspires mine. Keep fighting the good fight. πŸ™‚ THANK YOU!


Beth April 2, 2014 at 10:31 pm

LOVE THIS Jenny!!! Sharing with all my peeps!!!!


jenny sansouci April 2, 2014 at 11:14 pm

Beth! You rock, sister. Thank you.


Becca April 2, 2014 at 11:07 pm

OMG. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now but never commented. But that quote shattered my mind. Wow. I’m always struggling between my self-imposed boundaries and my desire to be more free-spirited. Nice to know I’m not the only one. πŸ™‚ thanks for this post!


jenny sansouci April 2, 2014 at 11:16 pm

Becca – thank you! You’re definitely not alone. I totally feel you. Thanks so much for commenting, and reading. πŸ™‚


Nancy Sansouci April 3, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Really well written & insightful Jenny! I’m so inspired by you!


jenny sansouci April 24, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Love you Mom. πŸ™‚ <3


Tiffany Goik April 4, 2014 at 9:22 am

Amazing post!!! I love that you talk about solution… so helpful. Def tweeting this out.


jenny sansouci April 4, 2014 at 11:02 am

Thanks Tiffany!!


AmeliaT April 7, 2014 at 7:48 am

This is such a wonderful read. You’ve changed my perspective on a few things to do with my own boundaries I set for myself. It really makes one think about it on a deeper level thank you for being so insightful and always providing such wonderful motivating stuff to read and learn. True inspiration in more ways than one. I loved the post about which person are you feeding too: choices are everything why not make ourselves as awesome as we can be? Thanks so much.


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