DBT: Boundaries Activity- Picture Your Boundary

I ordered a book that was recommended by my DBT Facilitators called, “Boundaries Where You End and I Begin: How to Recognize and Set Healthy Boundaries” by Anne Katherine. It’s a short and easy read and I am enjoying the activities so far (I’m on Chapter 3). As I have stated in a previous post boundaries are not my strong suit. It is my hope that reading this book and doing some of the activities will help me get a better idea of how to stay firm in my boundaries and the boundaries of others.

I would like to share with you an activity I modified and completed from chapter 1 called Picture Your Boundary.

  • Draw a circle. Everything within that circle is you.
  • Fill the circle with:
    • what you care about
    • what you believe
    • what you hate
    • what is attractive to you
    • what repels you
    • what you value
    • what you think about
    • what you are really like
  • A million things make you distinct from everyone else. The more you know about these things, the firmer your self-concept.

Blog-Picture Your Boundary

It’s a little hard to read probably so I will provide a few examples from each category.

What you care about: Love, friendship, family, my cat

What you believe: Giving to others, happiness is possible, activism

What you hate: Ignorance, abuse, manipulation, bullies

What is attractive to you: Humour, understanding, lived experience, intelligence

What repels you: (I actually didn’t answer this one as I found it similar to “what you hate”)

What you value: Expression, freedom, work, confidence

What you think about: “Take a chance”, “I just want someone to tell me I’m ok”, “Make mistakes”

What you are really like: Scared, calm, loving, love to laugh, I don’t really like loving


What I learned from this is that I know what I want and what I don’t want. I also know that I am not good at stating these do’s and don’ts  of them to the people in my life. What do I do with this information? Currently, all I can do is look at it and say, “Alright, this is me.” Translating that into boundaries will come later. For some reason, you need confidence to tell people what you do and don’t want and I don’t have that all yet but, we all need to start somewhere!


2 thoughts on “DBT: Boundaries Activity- Picture Your Boundary

  1. “For some reason, you need confidence to tell people what you do and don’t want . . . ”

    I am learning so much from you. I’ve been thinking about doing a support group, but need to know what it is that is lacking for me in most of the groups. This confidence thing would be a good focus. What do we tell ourselves that hold us back?

    I sure hope this makes sense; it is likely an older idea, but it is new to me. A game my T showed me, that is helping, is the, “then what” game. Pretend that I am 21 and I want to, “come out”. First I say, “I want to tell my parents that I am gay”. then what? “if i tell them, it will finally be out in the open no more secrets”. then what? “dad will kill me”. then what? “well he won’t kill me, but he will not be happy”. then what? mom will cry, “no grandchildren for me?!” then what? “I’ll feel guilty” then what? (this is where the rubber hits the road. how these things are answered will solidify the confidence within, to either let the worry go, or, if need be, take it more carefully. If dad really would kill him, his answer would be very different.
    This is done till you exhaust the “then whats”. by the time you get done, you have found that most stuff we worry about is silly (at least I do), but best of all, it helps break it all down into smaller, easier portions to show what IS important and needs a deeper look. Then the CPT comes in, for me anyway. The more I break down the feeling behind it all, the better I feel.

    I love hearing about new treatments that have nothing to do with drugs. Everything I have tried, and continue to do, from yoga to walking, to meditation, not one of them is helping completely, but each part helps a little. Like anything, take what you need and leave the rest.

    And you sure are OK! You are a very bright young lady with a great future I am sure! 🙂

    • I think confidence plays a huge role in holding us back and maybe not always lacking confidence to do something, but a lack of confidence to cope with the process/outcome of the decision.

      I like the sound of this game! I think I’ll give it a try. I did sort of do it once a few years ago when I explained to my ex why I couldn’t pick out a restaurant for us to eat at. It showed how silly my thought process can be 😛 A friend of mine yesterday sent me a little quiz when I kept apologizing to him for ranting. He said, “Did what you do cause any real physical or emotional harm? If yes, apologize, if no, move on AND Did what you say make someone not want to be around you? If yes, apologize, if no, move on.” I answered no to both so we had to move on 😛

      I’ll be writing about a new therapist I’m going to see and her approaches are ones I haven’t tried yet so you may find them interesting 🙂 I think some of us need to try a lot of things to find a good combination that works. It’s good to have a lot of tools in our toolbox 🙂

      Thank you as always for commenting and being so supportive! xoxo

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