Do you ever find yourself saying yes to things you don’t want to do? Do you have difficulties controlling your time, money, and affection? Perhaps you are a people pleaser. The book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend clearly points out the problems of people pleasing and teaches practical, effective methods for setting healthy boundaries in our everyday lives.
Both Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend are highly qualified individuals to speak on the subject of boundaries. Townsend is a clinical psychologist and marriage and family therapist. He also serves as the Clinical Director for the American Association of Christian Counselors. Cloud is also a clinical psychologist with a wide background of experiences to draw from. He specializes in leadership and media advice.
Cloud and Townsend co-authored Boundaries, with the goal of helping people gain a life of love, freedom, responsibility, and service. After thoroughly reading the book, I can safely say that their goal was accomplished in my life. While Christians are called to love others as themselves, we often times forget the part about loving ourselves. Boundaries makes clear when, where, and how to draw the line between the two.
Cloud and Townsend make the point that we can’t love fully if we are giving out of guilt, pressure, or a sense of “feeling like you should.” When we set clear limits on what we will and will not do with our own resources, we experience more freedom to do what we want. In this fashion we love more readily and prohibit people from stealing our resources, time, and affection.
The layout of the book is tricky to follow at first. Step by step instructions, countless examples, and dozens of stories left me feeling confused and overwhelmed initially. After digging in to the book a little further, I quickly saw how important boundaries really were. The rest of the steps in the book began to make more sense as I read on.
Boundaries is a great read for anyone, but especially those who struggle with telling people no or pushing people beyond their limits. Cloud and Townsend communicate limits in a practical, biblical way that helps clearly define our own personal responsibilities.