The Blog

Client Spotlight: Boundary Work

In my previous post, I discussed the non-linear nature of healing and its importance in the process. In this post, I want to emphasize the pendulum effect and how it impacts our healing journey.

The Pendulum Effect

Many clients often feel stuck in their healing because they want to be on the opposite side of the pendulum from where they started. For example, if someone struggles with having no boundaries at all, they may feel the need to establish rigid boundaries immediately. This desire to swing to the opposite extreme is a normal part of the healing process.

The Importance of Experimentation

Finding the perfect fit for our healing journey requires trying on different sizes first. It’s essential to experiment with different approaches to find what works best for us. This experimentation allows us to learn what we need and how we can best apply it to our lives.

The Fluidity of Healing

One of the most beautiful aspects of healing is that it’s not static. We can flow and flex as situations change, as we change, and as the people around us change. Our approach to healing must be adaptable to our ever-changing circumstances.

Client Story

To illustrate the pendulum effect and the importance of experimentation in the healing journey, I want to share a client story.

Let’s say that Sarah has always had difficulty setting boundaries with her mother. For years, she has allowed her mother to overstep her boundaries, make critical comments, and dictate how she should live her life. After starting her own inner work, Sarah realizes that her lack of boundaries is causing her a great deal of stress and anxiety.

At first, Sarah swings towards the other extreme, becoming overly rigid and defensive with her mother. She sets strict boundaries and avoids any contact that could potentially trigger her. However, over time, Sarah realizes that this approach is not sustainable. She misses her mother and the positive aspects of their relationship, and she also realizes that her mother’s behavior is not likely to change.

So Sarah softens her approach, finding a middle ground between flimsy and rigid boundaries. She communicates her needs and limits clearly and assertively, but also remains open to her mother’s perspective and feelings. She accepts that her mother may not always respect her boundaries, but she is committed to upholding them for her own well-being.

Through this process, Sarah’s relationship to boundaries has changed. Initially, she saw boundaries as a way to protect herself from harm and distance herself from her mother. However, as she gained more insight and self-awareness, she realized that boundaries can also be a way to create a healthier and more authentic relationship with her mother. By setting boundaries, she is asserting her own needs and values, while also creating space for a more equal and respectful relationship.


Embracing the pendulum effect and experimenting with different approaches is crucial to our healing journey. It’s essential to be adaptable as we move through life’s ever-changing circumstances. Remember that healing is not a linear process, and it’s okay to swing back and forth as we find our way towards growth and transformation.

Does that make sense? How does the idea feel in your body? Do you sense you need support in navigating a new way? I have coaching spots available. Find out more by sending me a quick note here.


The Healing Journey: Embracing the Pendulum Swings

As humans, we crave predictability and control, especially when it comes to our emotional well-being. We want to believe that healing is a straightforward process, that once we start working on ourselves, we will inevitably progress towards a state of constant happiness and inner peace. However, the truth is that healing is not a linear journey. It’s more like a pendulum swing, with ups and downs, twists and turns, as we navigate the complexities of our emotions and relationships.

The Pendulum Swing of Healing + the Myth of Linear

The idea of linear healing is a myth perpetuated by popular culture, which often portrays personal growth as a Hollywood-style montage of self-discovery and epiphanies. In reality, healing is messy, uncomfortable, and sometimes downright painful. It’s a process that requires us to confront our deepest fears, traumas, and insecurities, which can be overwhelming at times.

Furthermore, the idea of linear healing can be harmful because it sets unrealistic expectations and creates a sense of failure when we inevitably hit roadblocks or regress. It can also lead to self-judgment and shame when we compare ourselves to others who seem to be making more progress.

Expert Voices

According to practitioners, the idea of linear healing is not only unrealistic but also counterproductive. They emphasize the importance of embracing the swings and accepting that healing is a nonlinear process. “The healing journey is messy, and it’s not a straight line,” says therapist and author Lori Gottlieb. “It’s more like a spiral, where you revisit the same issues, but from a different perspective each time.”

Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis, a clinical psychologist and professor at Pepperdine University echoes this sentiment: “Healing is a journey, and there will be highs and lows. The lows are not failure or evidence that you have lost progress. Instead, they are opportunities to gain insight and learn how to better navigate your path.”

There is an emphasis on acknowledging and processing our emotions, rather than trying to suppress or control them.

Embracing the Swings: Tips for Navigating the Healing Journey

So, how can we embrace the swings and navigate the healing journey with more ease and compassion? Here are some tips:

  1. Practice self-compassion: Be kind to yourself and recognize that setbacks and regressions are a natural part of the healing process.
  2. Stay present: Instead of focusing on the destination, focus on the present moment and the small steps you’re taking towards healing.
  3. Seek support: Connect with others who are on a similar journey, and consider working with a practitioner who can provide guidance and support. (contact me here!)
  4. Cultivate self-awareness: Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and notice when you’re starting to swing towards one extreme or the other. Use this awareness to make conscious choices that align with your values and goals.

In conclusion, the healing journey is not linear, and that’s okay. It’s a process that requires us to embrace the swings, accept the messiness, and practice self-compassion along the way. As we navigate the ups and downs, we can cultivate a deeper sense of self-awareness, resilience, and inner peace.


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