Look, here's the thing:
If fences exist to prevent other dogs from shitting in your yard, then boundaries are the relational equivalent. And the dogs are people. People that annoy you and really want to climb your fence and leave a big nasty stink-pile of drama all up in your pretty rainbow-filled Mental Playground.
Just like fences, everyone's boundaries are different. For example, mine are wrought-iron and have spikes and turrets and a moat and a dragon and gargoyles that spit fire if you get too close and godammit-I-will-turn-them-on-if-you-interrupt-me-while-watching-Parks-and-Rec-so-help-me-God.
Ok not really. That's what I wish my boundaries were like, but by my own fault it's more like they're made out of marshmallow, which attracts all sorts of peole to come and taste and then eat through to the other side and then ask me how to treat their newly-aquired diabetes just as I'm sitting down to paint. Or stalk people on facebook.
So right, back to the point. If boundaries are fences, your yard is your Safe Zone. Your yard is where you get to play, where you feel comfortable, where you can run through the sprinkler naked without anyone judging you. Because we will, freak.
Then how do you know when a boundary has been violated? You know by how you feel. Just like I talked about how stopping to pay attention to your feelings, that becomes even more important when you need to stop and examine a crack in your boundaries. When you take a moment to really pay attention to just how pissed off you are that you answered the phone during your bubble bath, you realize that you haven't been constructing your fence very well. You are a shitty carpenter.
We all need a yard that takes time and care and tending. But it's only when we notice the excess dog shit and abundance of weeds that we can see where the fence has been trampled. You're pissed off because you haven't been feeding the guard dogs and they're dead and someone called Animal Control and now there's a LOT of people ALL OVER YOUR YARD.
But just like you need to cop to your feelings in order for them to be real, your boundaries don't exist until you act upon them. Until you admit them to yourself. No one will know that you don't want to hear about their bitchy coworker while Gossip Girl is on unless you tell them. Or DON'T PICK UP THE PHONE. And don't you dare complain to me about imaginary friend's big mouth ruining Season Five because look, you didn't lock the gate.
It all works together. Our feelings serve to let us know where our Safety Zone is and our boundaries protect it. The resentment you feel for all those annoying dogs around you is nothing but a constant violation of boundaries, but it is no one's job but your own to acknowledge it. And unless you take care of your own yard, you're going to end up shitting in someone else's, too.