Boundaries & Constraints

When Your Truth Evolves To Become Your Boundaries

Kathryn Maloney M.A. ABS

A consulting advisor to leaders, founders and teams, Kathryn weaves systems change vision and initiatives into strategy, priorities, and operating from outcomes. From her wheelhouse, she taps into how you communicate, relate, operate, work, lead, and group think; infuses presence, power, and self-awareness onto broad, prioritised organisation strategy; and designs tangible change for your more coherent, modern, and future-forward system.

more about Kathryn
, Brooklyn

Boundaries create health.

They are enablers for your agency and self-expression. The unseen lines that create the container for where you begin and end. Where another begins and ends.

Boundaries are constraints.
Constraints are boundaries.


First, think about boundaries from the vantage point of yourself. What you currently know about you and your truth, an integrating whole in constant process.

You can also think from the various roles you play in life and work. Which self? When? Why? How? Where?

When upleveling your boundary game, exercise with awareness how you think of your parts and fragments. How do they relate and integrate (or not) with your own whole?


Equally useful and usable is to think about boundaries as key structures of a team, an organisation, its strategy. Consider the interrelating and interlocking co-systems and sub-systems, all consciously and unconsciously, boundary drawing within the broader system.


Next, you also consider the other wholes and parts. The ones external to yourself.

You sit with interrelatability.

You wonder about the good of the collective — how and when your participation adds and diminishes. Giving and constraining for a larger purpose.

You practice asking yourself, in service of which end? Understanding your stardust speck of a position amidst a vast whole.

Reflective Questions To Consider
  • Who are you and who are they?

  • What are your needs, wants, and preferences?

  • What are theirs?

  • What are your belonging needs?

  • What are the rules around belonging in the dynamic(s)?

  • What accountability do you hold?

  • What accountability do they hold?

  • What part of the vision do you hold?

  • What part do they hold?

  • What are the spoken or unspoken rules and norms?

  • What are the shared values?

  • What values are unshared?

  • What is the positional, emotional, energetic, or verbal power balance? Imbalance?

  • What enables the collective outcome?

  • What enables a local outcome, personal to you and the role(s) you play?

  • What isn’t about pleasing — or blocking — others?

  • What progresses you forward?

  • What is your disembarkation port?

  • What are you directing from within the well understood container of your point of view, known purpose, and strategic position?

  • When are you holding that well understood container without bleeding its boundary?

Situating Alternative Boundary Thinking

Exercising intentional thinking in the three ways above can serve as an organiser and tool for expansion beyond your present boundary constructs.

Boundaries from a theory basis are momentary. Firm, yet flexible. Permeable, yet clear and evident.

They are a dance between you and other.

Goal posts more than walls.

They move, shape, and become. They emerge, draw themselves in direct experience.

Always within contrast.

Boundaries are the crayon and the paper. The masterpiece being what emerges in the ongoing, never-ending story of becoming.

The universal field is constantly prepared to give you more than you are expecting. The boundary game then becomes about surrendering to plentitude, rather than actively behaving into scarcity.

While seemingly counterintuitive, boundaries create.

The unseen lines can initiate a subtraction.

And, that subtraction is direct action.

Direct action being the means by which evolution occurs.

Your Beingness Animated Becoming Your Boundary

Small Self

Boundary drawing that derives exclusively from reaction to, pushing against, and as your way to cope is eventually a depleting and exhausting instrument.

This is because dragon slaying is tiresome as a way of being. Boundary drawing to merely cope and survive, as a means to ward off, protect, and imagine oneself safe from harm, is limited in evolutionary scope.

In societies (whether cultural, familial, religious) where boundaries are not normalized because personal agency is seen as a threat to control structures, learning boundaries as a coping mechanism is highly useful.

  • Coping mechanisms can serve as scaffold to realise and root agency in control-based systems.

  • Coping mechanisms can move the needle from no boundaries to usable, perceptible boundaries.

However, this shape of boundary setting has an expiration date in your personal growth. In your team’s operating ways. In a system's evolution.


Because drawing boundaries as a means to ward off that which you don’t want, in reaction to, as merely a means to cope e.g. survive your life, to remain safe, avoid growth and growing, prevent collaboration all out of subconscious fear — begins to shape repeating loops of attracting exactly that which you don’t want.

Besides the obvious energetics of crafting repeating loops of protection that simply beat the fear-based drum of self-protection, you don’t actually want to live a life or lead from lines being drawn around your small self.

- The earliest versions of you.

- The ghosts and goblins of your ego structure’s narrative.

- That narrative whose exclusive assignment is to tell you there are infinite scary dragons to be slayed (cue a world fixated on annihilation) in order that you remain safe in your small self, its storylines, and captivity.

- The thirst of unconscious fear, whose hope it is to keep you in its clutch, assigning you the task of perpetually quenching its thirst.

Higher Self

Your higher self is inherently a flexible, permeable, yet firm embodiment. (Your small self meanwhile trends toward calcified, fixed, and immovable.)

The evolutionary objective is that you continually embody newer, refreshed, and more real versions of your conscious, higher self over time. They arise in relationship and negotiation with the flow of new characters, experiences, and ways of being moving about, in, and out of your life.

Your higher self plays best with equanimity and safe sharing, yet you don't want to confuse that for hope and eternal peacefulness. Your higher self finds fuel across the signatures of love and depths and dimensions of inner strength.

  • She finds any tether to outdated sets of unquestioned rules, habit-based norms, autopilot ways an affront to what is the truth.

  • All perceived lions, tigers, and bears (and dragons) are fleeting reminders of your higher self’s evolving agency and sovereignty.

  • They are no longer an identity or basic needs threat.

In this way, and at new depths, you engage a process where boundaries (yours and other) expand and contract, move and reshape, continually and emergently drawing and re-drawing themselves. Substantively, creatively, and responsively.

Your higher self isn’t overcoming anything or gripping anyone.

She is allowing and shaping.

Holding and honoring.

Integrating and bridging.

Inviting and accepting.

Trusting and experiencing.

Forming and fortifying.

Boundary Making is Direct Experience

Boundary making is a dance of direct experience and balancing in play.

Boundary making as an interactive experience expects maturity, faith, and a collaborative headspace. Softening more than hardening. Finding inquiry more than finding argument. Engaging more than resisting. Facing more than denying.

The earlier boundary game of coping takes an unhappy turn in adulthood. That turn can entrench itself in a personal dance of unconscious fear, an insatiable need for control, and denial masquerading as autonomy, agency, and power. The false self dominating what is otherwise your truth.

The evolved, upleveled boundary game, in relationship and as an act of co-creation, becomes lattice work for your internal power grid, co-power generating, and system energy co-expansion.


Boundaries drawn from the continual embodiment of and experimentation with your agency, sovereign self, and deep knowing — in the company of others, in deepening relationship, and in the dance regularly — become resonant in a seismically alternative way.

  • These emergent boundaries become your attractors, magnets, and creative instigation.

  • They can become uplevelers, fodder for spacious and gratifying relationships.

  • Boundaries made in critical and lively discussion are strategy unfolding, possibilities uncapping themselves.

  • They are potentials freeing up to be shaped, grounded, and made manifest.

  • The experience may feel concurrently risky as hell and magically energising.


Interactive boundaries by their very nature act as repellents and protectors. What you don’t want bounces off the energetic field of your evolving self, team, and system.

What isn’t a value and vibe match has less inroad, does not necessitate quite so much expenditure, per the perimeter wall of deflection.

This is because your energised embodiment — your own clarity around your truth, what you stand for deep inside (not proclamating), and your conscious intent, your beingness (self, system, and collective) animated — becomes your boundary.


This migration is one of humility, not ego. Enlivening rather than reactive. Fortifying using applied practice, instead of performative or shadowy.

Your upleveled boundary drawing is evolutionary in theory and in practice.

These new ways of boundary making move, shape, co-create, and emerge in real time, within dialog and conscious awareness.

With strategic, not merely protective, intent.

These are real you. Conscious you. Aware and intentional you — singular, plural, and collective you — in motion.

Truth Evolving

Creating constraints and embodying truth as your boundaries are an act of ongoing courage.

Growing and evolving in your truth and knowingness as a negotiation with yourself and other is inherently s.t.r.a.t.e.g.y.

The embodiment taking place reflects an external invitation, catalyzing further direct action, lived experience, unexpected outcomes, and desired results.

The alternative of merely holding a posture, defending a position, and remaining small.

You’ve got this. x

by Kathryn Maloney M.A. ABS
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