Do you find boundaries hard, confusing or challenging?
Then this post is written for you. And let me tell you, you’re not the only one!
What I’ve noticed within myself and my clients, is that it’s often not that we don’t know what we’d like to say or what boundary we’d like to create “if only I could just say….”
When we tune in with ourselves, we often know EXACTLY what it is that we’d like to say but there are things that hold us back. Sometimes we know what they are eg. afraid of how someone else will take it & other times we don’t know why but it just feels REALLY REALLY DEEP.
One of the reasons it can feel really deep is that this can actually feel generational and it’s in our bones eg. that you need to always say yes, or not rock the boat, do what’s expected of you… it wasn’t too long ago that women weren’t even asked how they felt, many of us carry that memory and imprint in our cells which is why it can feel so deeply unsettling to speak up for ourselves, to say yes, or to say no. Speaking up & creating a boundary can even trigger a sense of flight or fight survival mode.
We have got to a point in time where many of us feel “enough is enough” I can’t go on not having boundaries, being walked over… and there is a disconnect between mind and body here because our mind may have cognitively understood “I need boundaries” but our body is carrying that memory and says no. And vice versa… we may feel that inkling from deep within our intuition but on a cognitive level there could be an inner critic playing out “you can’t do that” “who do you think you are” disconnect.
Let’s dive in to three of the main reasons why boundaries can feel so challenging, often they can be flying under the radar.
We all have a CORE need to belong and this is often triggered when it comes to boundaries. There’s a myth that boundaries is only about cutting people out. Occasionally, yes, that is necessary and the best thing we could do for our wellbeing! On the majority, setting a boundary is actually an effort to keep someone in our life AND to maintain our own wellbeing at the same time. Because we have a core need to belong, we can feel like, “I don’t want to rock the boat” “I’m going to be outkast” “what will people think of me” if I set a boundary. Back when we lived in tribes perhaps our very survival depended on having a completely united front, on all agreeing, being the same. Our modern climate has evolved and we actually need an updated definition of what it means to belong, that gives space for our individuality and sovereignty, too.
No one says it better than Brene Brown, “true belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness.”
Sometimes you may have to lead the way in your family, friendship or community circles. We are introducing a new paradigm, that boundaries are part of the norm. You are brave to do this work and sometimes when it feels really hard I think about what example I want to set for future generations, that gives me a second wind. This is where we start to re-wire and create a new blueprint that healthy appropriate boundaries actually strengthen our relationships…cue “boundaries are beautiful”!
Much of our perception of self worth is established aged 0-7. Most of us growing up in the Western world will attach our worth to what we do or achieve, we are a product of the culture (let yourself off the hook, it’s not your fault & your parents were doing the best they could with the information they had, as well),
‘Treat people nice and be treated nice’ thermometer that can be linked to our worth, too.
A big aspect to this is false guilt. Healthy guilt is important, when we have done something wrong, made a mistake and need to course correct.
But let’s say we had a coffee date planned with a friend. That morning we get our period and after sitting with ourself decide we’d like to stay home and be in our own energy. We let our friends know and she writes back “okay”.
This is where false guilt can kick in and our inner critic can make a range of assumptions here… “she doesn’t like me” “she’s upset with me” “I should’ve just gone” and what we can be left with is a sinking feeling in the pit our stomach. Rather than the deep rest we planned, we spend the time ruminating ~ maybe we turn to distractions, scrolling socials, binge eating, etc. to try and escape what’s present, this is not to be ashamed of, we have all been here.
3.SPEAKING YOUR TRUTH
Apparently public speaking is feared more than death in our culture. Not just public speaking though, speaking up for ourselves can trigger immense, very real fear. If we have experiences of being spoken over the top of, or not asked how we feel, or been shut down for speaking up, we can find it incredibly hard to do express this. There can be blockages in the throat area.
Things like singing, chanting, guided meditation for the throat, crying when we need to (to allow energy to flow) can all help to open the throat. These are things that can be practised, like warm up for the ‘big event’ of speaking to someone face to face.
Due to these three factors at play - self worth, belonging and speaking our truth, many people don’t move off the starting blocks when it comes to boundaries. And I get it! This is hard core inner work. The gratitude, the affirmations were fun but when it comes to boundaries, we are getting down and dirty on the personal development journey that’s for sure!!
What I’m going to encourage you to do is turn these limits around, creating healthy boundaries so that you can:
~ experience true belonging
~ elevate your self worth
~ strengthen your throat chakra
How do we do that? By practising them!
We can feel discomfort before setting a boundary as well as afterwards. This is not the time to shy away, you can do this! I wish I had an easier answer for you but the truth is that the only way out is through. The growth lies is in sitting with that discomfort and moving through it. You are creating a new paradigm, you are healing ancestral patterns and this is BIG STUFF.
What you can do is SELF SOOTHE as you expand in to new levels of SELF WORTH. This is an invitation to hold space for yourself, sit with the discomfort & put yourself first anyway, regardless of the guilt, the fear, the anxiety. We don’t get it right every time and I love this quote from Tiffany Petersen “perfect - no, committed - yes”.
Sometimes it’s messy and we need to course correct, pivot, adjust, learn from them, do better next time, etc. But with commitment, over time this our boundaries muscle is strengthened and strengthened. Boundaries that you previously lost your shit over with worry will become a piece of cake. There will always be another level of self worth to grow in to and once you’re practising them, the momentum you build, the ever-increasing self trust, self love and self worth, will be undeniable. And will be so, so worth it.
If you are looking for support and mentoring as you navigate creating healthy, appropriate boundaries, I have a feeling that my upcoming online course Boundaries are Beautiful might be right up your alley. Enrolments are open until August 2nd, course starts August 5th, 2019. Check it out here, I’d love to support you as you grow in to your next level of empowerment.