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Walla Walla, WA
Friday, December 8, 2023

Boundaries and Your Time

February 9, 2023
Austin Price

What Are Boundaries with Dr. Jim Boyd

Austin Price

Dr. Jim Boyd, a social work and sociology professor at Walla Walla University, highlighted the importance of boundaries, which allow for healthier decisions regarding our time and our values.  

Where do you derive your personal value? This determines many of your decisions regarding what you will say yes to and what you will say no to. The act of saying yes and saying no are insights on where you derive personal value.  

Dr. Boyd said, “When you base your personal value on other people and their opinions of you, then you’re going to have very poor boundaries. You’re just not going to be able to say no, you’re not going to protect your time, you’re not going to be able to protect your personal space or your physical person.” [1] 

Saying no is a crucial element for having boundaries; for having the balanced life we all crave. To know who you are and what you can and cannot do based on the sharp truth of time. We have limited time, thus we can’t do everything or please everyone. 

Dr. Boyd later recognized, “But I also understand how much guilt people can feel in setting boundaries, especially if they’ve been raised to believe that their personal worth is based on how much they’re willing to say yes.” [2] 

Pleasing people promotes a feeling of satisfaction. However, when pleasing people becomes all we are doing with our time, we are consumed with the stress that comes when trying to please one more person, when we have already helped multiple people, leaving us emotionally unsafe and tired.   

Staying safe is something important for Dr. Boyd. He said, “In terms of safety, setting boundaries for yourself is about keeping physical distance between you and other people. So, in a relationship that would basically mean how far am I willing to go in a relationship physically and still keep myself emotionally, physically, and psychologically safe.” [3] 

This space is different for everyone, and so, in developing a relationship of any kind, there should be mutual respect for each other’s boundaries.  

People who set boundaries are aware of their limited time, and with that awareness, say yes and no to things with a certain urgency that determines how they live a balanced life. 

Dr. Boyd said, “Boundaries really are about taking care of yourself and recognizing that it’s okay to do that. It really is okay to say no and set your own boundaries and protect yourself. The bottom line is nobody else is going to do that for you. Nobody is going to set your boundaries for you. If you don’t do it, it’s not going to happen.” [4] 

With an emphasis on the necessity of your own initiative in creating boundaries, Dr. Boyd knows this is where boundaries must begin if you want to change your life to live more freely and securely. 

Similarly, in the book Boundaries, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend cover the yes and no dilemma by giving biblically based answers to setting healthy boundaries. They simply wrote, “The driving force behind boundaries has to be desire. We usually know what is the right thing to do in life, but we are rarely motivated to do it unless there’s a good reason.”  [5] 

With all this said about boundaries, it’s important to not be too hard on yourself. We can get better at developing a balanced and healthy lifestyle if we forgive ourselves first and move on in the right directions.  

This quote by eighteenth-century poet Alexander Pope can be found in Boundaries: “‘To err is human; to forgive, divine.’”  [6] 

Later, the book continued, “Do not keep seeking a bad account. Let it go and go and get what you need from God and people who can give. That is a better life. Unforgiveness destroys boundaries. Forgiveness creates them, for it gets bad debt off of your property.” [7] 

The choice to want to change, to want to have more security over yourself, is where boundaries begin. This is an invaluable realization that helps in relationships, jobs, eating habits, and more.  

On choosing to set boundaries, Dr. Boyd said, “A lot of people won’t choose for themselves and won’t protect themselves and then they end up either feeling guilty or they feel used or abused by other people.” [8] 

If you know that you are overwhelmed and controlled by other people’s standards, then take a moment to step back and reflect on where your value derives from, and how important your time is to yourself.  



  1. Interview with Professor Jim Boyd, 02/02/23.  
  2. Ibid. 
  3. Ibid. 
  4. Ibid. 
  5. Cloud, H., & Townsend, J. (1992). Boundaries. Yates & Yates. 
  6. Ibid 
  7. Ibid. 
  8. Interview with Professor Jim Boyd, 02/02/23. 
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