Love and Boundaries, Do You Need Anything Else?


There you have it. The shortest blog ever. Thanks for reading.

Ok, you might need a little bit more. Flapjack for example, and Bruce Springsteen. And wine. But we aren’t far off. All that we really need as parents, as children, as employees, as people, is some love; confirmation that we are ok and that we’re doing ok. And some boundaries. To know where we can safely go and to learn when we’ve overstepped the mark.

We know that love is the key factor in the development of children. Without it there are physical changes and psychological problems that can last a lifetime. With love comes self-confidence; secure attachments can provide the basis for a happy life.

But love on its own without boundaries? You only need minutes in a playground at the end of school, or in a Toby Carvery on a Sunday, to see the difference between a child who’s been given boundaries, and has learnt behavioural skills like respect, and those who can quickly create a cold, wide lake of Coca Cola at the press of a button.

As employees there is an old saying that you join because of the job, but leave because of the boss. It’s a pretty safe bet that the managers we leave are those who constantly provide us with boundaries and negative feedback without a drop of appreciation; without a drop of love.

Evolutionary psychology suggests a simple reason for the power and simplicity of love and boundaries; we survived for millennia as a species by keeping our offspring safe within physical boundaries and within a nurturing family or community.

But why do we care? What’s so interesting about love and boundaries?

At Real Clear we like our sticky ideas that make a difference. Remembering that we all need love and boundaries is a simple rule of thumb that we can apply in our daily life. We can start by considering which relationships in our life would benefit from more love, and which need clearer boundaries.

Whether you’re a person with friends, colleagues, a team to look after, or you’re meeting up with fellow members of the Bruce Springsteen fan club, remember that any relationship can benefit from both.