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Finger drawing a line in the sand-My Secrets to Better Boundaries- boundaries, coach jo, desire, forgiveness, life coach, life coaching, setting boundaries, truth

My Secrets to Better Boundaries

Boundaries are one of those things that coaches can’t stop going on about.

But there’s a reason. Learning to set and sustain healthy boundaries with others is key to living a full, authentic life.


As Marc Manson says (to paraphrase):

Healthy Personal Boundaries = Taking responsibility for your own actions and emotions, while NOT taking responsibility for the actions or emotions of others.

People with poor boundaries typically come in two flavours: those who take too much responsibility for the emotions/actions of others, and those who expect others to take too much responsibility for their own emotions/actions.

Neither of those options seems like a great way to live a happy and healthy life. And trust- boundaries are more than about your emotional well-being. We all know that when we’re emotionally unwell, our physical and spiritual bodies are also getting shit on.

As I’ve said before, setting boundaries isn’t a one-time thing that you do over brunch with your bestie. They require maintenance and re-visiting. Our relationships change and flux as our lives transform. And a huge part of boundary making lies in forgiveness.

So ya, just go ahead and forgive everyone right now. Voila- you’re perfect.


Just kidding. Forgiveness is tough shit. It is a practice, a ritual (I love rituals!).


So here’s my process to get the forgiveness ball rolling, even for those really dark relationships. 

  1. Get real about what your relationship is. Like really real. Grab some paper and dig in. Write a letter to the person with whom you need better boundaries. Write to them about your grievances- the small to the large. Spend some time here, feel those emotions (anger, guilt, shame, frustration might be a good place to start), and get them down on paper. Get it all out. Now crumple it up and burn it (or destroy it in a way that creates release for you- I prefer the BURN).
  2. Mourn the relationship that never was. So your relationship with your mother was never the Lorelai-Rory relationship of dreams (REAL TALK: they had no boundaries AT ALL). Write out all the ways you wish your relationship had been or was. What you would have done together, how you would feel, how you spoke with one another. All of it. The ideal relationship. Let this entry marinate for a few days in your journal.
  3. After a few days have passed, go back through your ideal relationship and identify the ways that you can stand in your power. At this point, we need to realize that relationships are two-way streets. We all make active choices in the way we relate to other beings. Right now, we know that the way we are acting in this current relationship is not good. It feels bad. It needs to change. The important piece here is that you cannot control what the other person does- you can only control your own actions and reactions. You have to tell people how you expect to be treated, so figure out how that is and ask for it. Ask yourself- what is my real ideal relationship? what are the things I need to let go of (i.e the things I cannot control)? how can I be different in this relationship so that I feel good?
  4. Ask for it. This might feel tough, but it’s the only real way to make change. You cannot will someone to treat you differently via The Force (yet). You must use your words. This is where you really stand in your power. And you must use them again and again. It gets easier.
  5. Self care, babe. People do not change over night- Heck they might not ever change. But you asking to be treated in a way that makes you feel good is a remarkable feat. So celebrate. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done. You spoke your truth, and that is amazing.
  6. Develop a forgiveness ritual. Remember, there will be tough spots. When you’re with the person in question, they might still sometimes disrespect your boundaries (AKA be a jerk). People are only human, and to make change in an act of courage that not everyone is capable of. We need to make peace with this, but we also need to stand firm. Acknowledge that it’s okay to feel a bit shitty or exhausted. Take time for yourself and feel into those emotions. Don’t ignore them, acknowledge them and let them go (Burn them up? YES!). A great ritual for letting go is to light a candle, speak your emotions aloud, breathe into them for a few minutes, and then affirm forgiveness (I am willing to forgive, I forgive… wherever you’re at). Blow out the candle, visualizing forgiveness.

What do you struggle with when you’re developing new boundaries? Do you have a boundary action plan? Let me know in the comments!


Hello my name is Guilt-When boundaries eat you from the inside-Jo Tucker-boundaries, guilt, relationships, resilience, setting boundaries

When boundaries eat you from the inside.

Dealing with difficult people is one of those wonderful parts of life. You can’t really avoid a run-in with jerks who just seem to want to ruin your day- get into your groove and royally f it up. If you’re one of the lucky ones, these difficult people have minimal impact on your life- they’re a friend of a friend you see at a party every now and again, or they’re that strange co-worker who works on a different floor who you only see while you’re waiting in line for your free hotdog at the company BBQ.

Unfortunately for a lot of us, difficult people are often found in our family. Immediate family. Say, your mother for instance. The issue of setting healthy boundaries gets a bit more murky- and there’s a lot to be said about setting boundaries with loved ones- stay tuned. There is a lot of information out there about releasing the guilt associated with creating boundaries.

But, this is not that post. Instead, this is the post-boundary guilt post. You’ve worked hard. You’ve set and re-set boundaries. You’re standing strong in your desire to manage your reactions to their actions. You stand firm in your power.


Then out of nowhere, it hits you– THE GUILT. Oh the guilt. You thought you got over this when you banished the guilt you felt for even considering boundaries to begin with! And now this? WHEN DOES IT END?

Spoiler alert: it doesn’t. Guilt and shame are our ego, and unless you’re Ekhart Tolle or of the enlightened, this little buddy is going to come up again and again. So what do you do? The point of boundaries is to take care of your needs, not carry around more ick.

1. Breathe, babe. Those big, mindful breathes. My favourite: breathe in for 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 8, hold for 3. Repeat until desired calm has arrived.

2. Express gratitude. This uncomfortable feeling is you being conscious of your emotions and not letting them run your life! Thank yourself for this. Gratitude is the foundation for resilience. Be your best cheerleader. Or email me and let me cheer you on. You got this.

3.  Remind yourself that taking care of you is taking care of others. Staying in the toxic relationship you had pre-boundaries wasn’t taking you anywhere positive, was it? Consider what it is that is making you feel uncomfortable. Write them down, journal them out. Maybe consider writing a letter to your boundary-partner outlining your feelings. Maybe you send it, maybe you don’t. Chances are, the thing that you feel guilty about is not the actual thing. Dig in here, this is the good stuff. Make adjustments to your boundaries (or your relationship to those boundaries) as you see fit.

4. Find support. You’ll be amazed how liberating it is to speak to someone. And it literally can be anyone- a coach, a stranger, even. Sometimes we come to our own conclusions when we talk it all out.

5. Express gratitude again. Not only to yourself for putting yourself first and for working hard at building a better relationship with yourself and others, but also for taking a chance on being vulnerable. This is huge. Go you!

CalvinguiltAnd finally…

6. Renew your commitment.This is tough stuff. And it’s going to take time. But it’s so so worth it.


Setting and maintaining boundaries is an art that requires practice. What are some of the boundaries you have set, and what do you do when you feel guilty?


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