Posted on July 1st, 2009
“When you do not set healthy boundaries for yourself you are inviting people to ignore your needs.”
Creating a fine line between what you will and won’t accept into your life saves you from miscommunication, heartache, and that feeling of overwhelm from saying yes too often and no too little. Everything you let into your space can have a ripple effect into your whole life. What you say yes and no to today will have an effect tomorrow.
If we don’t have clear, healthy boundaries, we end up with draining relationships, unrealistic workloads, and unhealthy bodies and minds. First we need to decide what is healthy for us and what is not. From what foods you want to ingest into your body, to what you want to spend your time and energy on, to what quality of relationships you want in your life.
For example, what do you want to give and receive from a friendship? If you want friends that are fun and supportive, but you have friends who are negative and critical, then you either haven’t defined your boundaries or you’ve broken them. No one can define your boundaries for you, and no one can cross them without your permission on some level. Do you subscribe to the ‘once bitten, twice shy’ model, or the ‘three strikes you’re out’, or the ‘I’m a welcome matt, wipe your dirty feet on me as you enter’?
It’s not always easy to set a clear boundary, especially when the pros and cons of a situation, a relationship or a job are about even. You want the pros, but at what cost? Each of us has a breaking point, and the clearer we are about where that fine line ends the sooner we can let go of what no longer serves us and open up to healthier experiences.
Insights in Boundaries
♦ Review the important areas of your life such as relationships, finances, work, physical, mental and emotion health, and so on to determine how satisfied you are in each area.
♦ With the areas you feel satisfied, notice where you’re boundaries are being honored. These may be boundaries you were not aware of, but are intrinsic to your values, such as having honesty in a relationship, fun with friends, rewarding work, eating nutritious foods, spending time on what is important to you, and so on. Congratulate yourself!
♦ With the areas you feel unsatisfied, notice where you either have unclear boundaries or you have allowed a situation or person to cross your boundaries. What are you saying yes to and what are you saying no to (like saying yes to someone or something else and no to yourself)? What’s at stake for you to set and honor your boundaries? What will it take to set clear boundaries?
Inspiration for Creating Healthy Boundaries
♦ With the important areas of your life where you are satisfied, identify the boundaries you’ve created within those. This will help you to make choices in the future. As you set your intention to attract new people and experiences into your life (i.e. a new job, friendship, goal etc.) use your boundaries list as a way to define what you want in your life. Whenever you have a decision to make, ask yourself whether it honors your boundaries or not.
♦ With the important areas of your life where you are not satisfied, make a list of what boundaries you haven’t set and/or which ones have been crossed. Determine what boundaries you need to set and how you will do that. Instead of getting caught in blame or victimhood, simply redefine your boundaries and move forward.
♦ If you are unclear or nervous about setting a new boundary, try this guided imagery exercise as a way to gain clarity and confidence. Sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Take a few relaxing breaths and move all of your awareness into the center of your head, a few inches back from your forehead. Imagine the situation where you would like to create a healthier boundary. Notice any feelings of discomfort arise and simply feel them and breathe them out. Breathe in relaxation and as much amusement as you can as you look at this situation. Let yourself see clearly what it will cost you if you don’t set a healthy boundary. Ask your highest self what boundary needs to be set. Imagine this boundary has been set and notice the positive results. Even if it means ending a relationship or job etc. which would be sad for you, see the benefits down the road. Move past any fear or doubt and feel the relief, freedom, joy or whatever comes up as a result of honoring yourself and your boundaries.
You might also find the article, Aura and Energy Boundaries, helpful for setting energetic boundaries around your personal space.