I can set good boundaries and learn to maintain them.Mar 01, 2021
The word boundaries can set up all sorts of images in our mind. Fences, border crossings, walls... They all conjure up the idea of keeping things out or away from us. Danger! Those labels sound cold, but boundaries can feel either prohibitive or safe. In truth, they're both, serving to keep unhealthy or destructive elements out and the healthy or constructive ones in. Seems simple enough. Then some healthy personal boundaries are expressed in ways you might not realize.
So what is the purpose of personal boundaries and how do they relate to the life of creating films? How can we make tangible what can feel so hazy to understand and act on? Well, let’s pretend we’re bubbles. You’re a screenwriter. Go with me on this, okay?
Alright. You’re a bubble in the middle of this glorious bubble bath - and you’ve got company. Many, many bubbles have formed in this bath and they’re all wanting to thrive as soapy fun. Some bubbles come in contact with each other, staying full and formed. For others, connecting means they’ll pop. But you don't want to pop.
A bubble pops when the water in them evaporates or if they come in contact with a water-resistant surface. Surfaces that have a film of water are compatible with bubbles because it's an important inherent quality of a bubble. The lesson is this: know what you are made of and let in what is compatible to your thriving.
Boundaries teach us where we end and others begin. They are the building blocks of our inner and outer safety. Know your values, goals and what interferes with them. Feel your feelings and understand the thoughts behind them. Our personal boundaries are the one thing we can have any control over in our lives. We can only respond to circumstances and other people. Commit to responding in a way that creates the best outcome in a given situation, meeting our own needs and doing our best for others. We get to decide what those parameters look like. In other words, our choices are crucial to our well-being, future and our reputation.
In a screenwriter's life, that can mean a variety of things: sticking to a writing schedule, ensuring you have few interruptions while you're working and creating space for things other than screenwriting. We choose where, when and how to spend time with other writers. Boundaries are a decision to meet deadlines, share your work for feedback with someone you trust, confidently market your screenplay and someday let that screenplay go when it's time for others to have their say in its development.
Boundaries can be complex. Building healthy ones takes self-awareness, empathy and discipline. Then they need to be lovingly enforced. As with everything, always be open to and aware of your needs. Change is the only sure constant in life.
CREATIVITY CATALYST: What boundaries have you established in your life to meet your needs and the needs of others in a healthy way? There may be areas in your life and work that are easier to protect or share than others. In times of solitude, take stock of your recent choices and goals. Think about what is and isn't working so well in your life. Get transparent with yourself, like those bubbles. Make allies of other "bubbles," trusted friends and family, as you share your needs and find solutions. Bravely and lovingly place protection where it's needed. You're an innovator. You create stories - and your own future. Want to learn more? A great read is the book Boundaries, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.
Is your screenplay finished and ready for feedback?
My checklist, "Finished? Find Feedback," will help you find out. The PDF is free and available when you click this link: