Learning About Boundaries: Your Garden

Your life is a garden, and you choose who goes through the gate.

Imagine your garden is a circle. You are in the middle, the gardener, and there are rings of different crops or plants surrounding you, the most favored being closer to you. On the very edge of your garden, there is a cute fence, keeping out all of the things you don’t want in your amazing garden that you take care of.

Think of it as Plants VS Zombies.

What is the Garden Metaphor?

You live your life from the middle, dictating whom you would like to accept into the beautiful, luscious garden that is your life.

People on the outside of the gate don’t deserve to have a particular place in your garden just because they say so or because you feel guilty for leaving them out. You give people a place in your garden because they are the kind of people you want to have in your life. 

The outer layer are the people who meet your bottom line- they meet your least important condition in your list of important qualities. How you interact with the people outside of the gate (the world’s inhabitants) determines how they fall into the rows of your garden.


Determining Your Garden Metaphor

Ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. What qualities do I value the most in people? Which qualities are the most important? 
  2. What am I growing? What plants are you particularly fond of that will make your metaphor seem real and relatable? (Note- I changed “squash” in this list to “sweet potatoes”.) 
  3. Which plants represent each quality?

Learning Tools

  • If you’re a visual/kinesthetic person: Draw it out
  • If you’re an audio person: Listen to Your Kick-Ass Life Podcast Episode 124: “How Nice People Set Boundaries, with Randi Buckle.” If you just want to hear the Garden Metaphor, skip to about 19 minutes.

Understanding and Summarizing

The people who meet your minimal quality, the outermost row of your garden, the thing that isn’t the most important to you, may enter your garden if you choose.

The people who are unworthy to be in your life, and do not meet the qualities you want, stay outside of your adorable fence. Think of them metaphorically like deer that will nibble on your turnips, or cougars that will eat your cattle. AKA- Take away your happiness. It’s not mean to keep them on the outside- you are just protecting yourself and your values. 

As people become more and more what you’re looking for in human characteristics, you allow them to get closer and closer to the garden’s center- you.


Sharing My Garden Metaphor

  1. If they’re creative, I’ll let them in the gate and to the Pumpkins.
  2. If they’re fun and creative, I’ll let them past the Pumpkins and the Tulips.
  3. If they can keep a conversation, are fun, and creative– I’ll let them pass the Pumpkins and Tulips, and chill with my beloved Sunflowers.
  4. If they show me kindness & affection, as well as hold the ability to conversate, are fun, and are creative, they get to go through the Pumpkins, Tulips, Sunflowers, AND my Sweet Potatoes.
  5. The most above and beyond, worthy individuals get to chill with your most precious crop, which in my case, are my Baby’s Breath. They are the ones who have the opportunity to get the closest to you, because they deserve it and fulfill what you need in your life. In my life, what I value the most, is trust earned through honesty and especially loyalty.


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