(A cautionary note: although I did look up the facts I’m not trying to be as scientific or factual as possible, but rather metaphoric)
for a wikipedia image of a dolos see here
Think about the waves breaking over you. Dolos (singular)/dolosse (plural) are used to protect the shore from the action of the waves. It is a very heavy (20 tons), complex concrete structure designed by South Africans and used extensively along our coast. It looks like a block with four fingers: two T-junction blocks attached perpendicularly. When dolosse are packed together, unlike the sea walls which are constructed in one solid cement and steel wall, they are designed to create a structure which interlocks to form a permeable wall.
The dolosse dissipate the powerful energy or force of the waves so that the destructive impact is lessened. A dolosse structure is like an artificial coral reef which gives protection to the coastal land from the force of the waves.
Sea walls deflect all the wave energy back towards the ocean and the energy scours the sea scape. They impact the coast by preventing the natural movement of sand from land to sea; and back and forth. So although it protects the activities on the land from the force of the waves it is not like the dolosse which has a ‘softer’ mechanism and which allows the flow of the waves and animal life to continue while still standing firm when the waves break.
In life you get boundaries for your protection that are meant to keep things away from you like the nature conservation fences keeping lions on the other side; then you get boundaries that keep everything to yourself like a fence surrounding your home and protecting everything within. Neither is the optimum way of relating to people in your life because you need or want to share, both giving and receiving. The important thing about boundaries is to know when to give or receive, when to protect and when to just stand firm.
When others interfere with you, challenging your self-esteem, criticizing, humiliating, shaming, and exerting their will on you as if they have all the power it is like the erosive forces of the waves and tides on the coast. This disruption of your emotions, self-worth and self-esteem is like the coast which interfaces between land and sea becoming scoured and broken; you, like the land, are exposed and vulnerable to powerful forces which you experience in other people. You should not allow yourself to become scoured; nor should you scour.
So you must stand firm when the waves break over you, while not allowing the energy to affect or impact you; but rather hope for new life forms to move back and forth in the safety of the dolos.
Here are some things to think about, know who you are:
Where you have come from - your past and your origin,
Your purpose, skills and talents you have gained over your life time;
Your values, intentions and motives;
What you want or need from yourself and others;
Who the people are who support you;
Lean on your spiritual support and faith in God.
Know your rights as a person.
Know you are blessed.
Don’t panic. Breathe slowly and intentionally. Slow your thinking down before you speak.
We don’t want to create a boundary that is so static that there is no give – like a sea wall- it makes us brittle, but rather we want boundaries like a dolos structure which while withstanding the main force of the tide will also let sea life swim through and the natural exchange of sediment and sand between the coastal shore and sea.
A warm smile,