Creating boundaries is an act of love. They are a doorway to knowing yourself and another to greater depths which in turn provides a field abundant with possibility.
Are you ready to become a Master of your boundaries? This means becoming a master at creating and attracting those ideal relationships personally and professionally.
This is a problem in a world where you want people to know you but you aren’t able to know yourself all that deeply. Boundaries are a means to know yourself and know your partner as beautiful individuals coming together to share yourselves in a specific container you call a relationship.
Have you been raised to think that everyone else’s needs are more important than yours? Do you constantly give until you feel exhausted? How about settling because someone else told you this was all you were worth?
Do you find yourself constantly nagging at others to get what you want, pushing other people to constantly feel they need to put up walls and be firm in their dialogue with you? Do you feel resentful, unfulfilled, even unsafe to be intimate or open in certain situations or with certain people?
These are some of the actions and responses that happen when you have over stepped your own boundaries, allowed others to push beyond your boundaries or have no idea what it even means to have a boundary.
I have heard many ask, “isn’t a boundary limiting?” My response, it is more limiting to have no boundaries.
Maintaining boundaries is an act of love towards both yourself and another. They are guidelines in our human reality which take into account one’s physical, emotional, psychological states in order to create situations that really nourish and provide room for more connection.
Choosing to explore and know your boundaries helps you know and understand yourself. How often have you unconsciously manipulated someone or felt manipulated by another?
Manipulation is quite common, and it’s not that “bad” word we may think it to be. Manipulation can be as simple as wanting to convince a friend that something is good for them, even if they really don’t want to do it.
Or have you pushed your lover into doing something with you when they really wanted to do something else in that moment? Later on, you might feel an undertone of resentment for doing what they wanted versus what was true for you. This is an example where boundaries and all that self-responsible compassionate communication would have been an asset.
Setting boundaries is an act of LOVE. They allow another to know you in this present moment, they allow you to know another. So often rather than seeking to know someone, we place our wants and agenda onto them. This defeats the purpose of true intimate connection.
When you are unaware of your own boundaries you will also not have the ability to be aware of another’s. Leaving yourself and others potentially feeling unsafe, guarded and what happens is that all involved begin to create stronger borders.
The difference is that boundaries change when your state changes. You may have a certain boundary which assists you in feeling safe or which provides certain self-care which, later on, you may find it does not serve you anymore and you feel clear to shift this boundary.
A border is what one places up when they had no boundary in the first place. Borders are like brick walls that get slammed up out of reaction, often when one feels unsafe, has felt emotionally, physically or psychologically pushed. Borders are harder to move due to the emotional state which created them. They often break apart partnerships, disrupt relationships and break up business collaborations as well.
In order to set your boundaries it will take the following steps:
- Understand and Feel your Feelings
We have spoken about the importance of understanding and feeling your feelings. This is a skill set which is required in order to set clear boundaries. During self-inquiry, you may reflect on situations: how did feel during certain conversations? Did you feel overwhelmed, unsafe? Did you feel exhausted after an event and realized it really didn’t match what you were needing in the moment?
When we say yes to something that didn’t really fuel, or matches our authentic yes, you may think you are creating a connection but where is the connection if underneath it all you are contracted, counting the minutes for something to be over, and wishing you were elsewhere? After the fact, you are tired, feeling disconnected, and in time, resentfulness builds.
You are on a route to losing yourself within any relationships which function that way. You may have experienced this form of relating as it can even happen in a business where the people involved become so enmeshed that you no long know what your truth is, you stop expressing your true deep passions and desires. Creativity becomes stagnant.
By choosing to take the time, give yourself permission to really feel what your entire body and state need in that moment before jumping into a yes, you are choosing to stay connected to who you are as that sovereign empowered being. This is where another is going to know you and they also get to stay in tune with themselves.
- Know Where You Have Ignored Your Boundaries
Begin with reflecting and make a list of situations that might benefit from setting boundaries. They may be as common as taking calls after a certain hour and waking up exhausted the next day, going out to a party or event because you felt it was expected of you but you really wanted to stay in and take a bath or write in your journal. Do you have clients that show up time and time again without their home assignments completed, or arrive late or canceling regularly? These are an example of potential boundaries being crossed.
I remember when I was in the business of networking. My desire was to meeting and mingle to find the “right” business relationships. However, what started happening was that I would continuously go out to network, yet feel exhausted, lacking in creativity. And I stopped following what my body, mind, and heart were really being called to. I would get emails asking if I was attending this event or that event and I lost touch with my natural inner guidance for a moment. When I finally stepped back and got real with my feelings, what I needed was to adjust how much I was outputting.
My personal boundary was a once-a-month three-hour luncheon, and every so often, when I was invited to speak or co-lead a circle in the groups, I would attend. This fueled me to be more creative again, doing what I loved to do, feeling fulfilled in my business and back in my pleasure, seeing as pleasure is a part of my business.
- Awareness Helps in Creating Your Boundaries
You may have noticed that what most affected my level of energy and creativity was all the over commitments and networking events I had agreed to. Once I knew what was creating this state, and how this state really felt in my body, I was able to be super clear on my boundaries and needs.
Now it’s your turn. Go back to those situations you listed and how you felt during them. For each one, make a list of what you would need to feel more energy, fuel, and harmony in that situation. Does it need to end completely, do you need to adjust the parameters of the situation, or how you and another person engage? Do you need to shut your phone off earlier, make clearer business timelines or set parameters on how often you help a friend that may always be in need of your help?
- Know Your Sexual Boundaries
Your sexual boundaries are just as important. Do you go into relationships, potential intimate experiences or sexual encounters not even knowing what your boundaries are? How often has someone asked you what your boundaries were?
Do you and those you relate with assume everything is a Yes because you are choosing to go on a date? Or have you been asked that question “what are your boundaries?” and you didn’t know what to say, you felt embarrassed, and just said, “I don’t have any boundaries I am a pretty open person.” Well, guess what, I bet I would be able to find one or two boundaries of yours if I dug deep enough. So I am going to invite you to explore this for yourself.
Repeat the same process that you went through above. Make a list of a sexual or a few sexual experiences and what you felt when you were touched in a certain way. Where did you feel not-so-good, and just settled because you were in the moment, or where you felt more open, connected and invigorated? These would be good guidelines to start with.
Once this is clear on how these experiences felt in your body and what your response was to them you can make that list of what you were needing, what you would have liked instead, what would have felt more fulfilling for you?
It could be how you’re touched when you’re touched, where you are touched. It could pertain to which environments or situations you choose to be in and where you feel really safe.
In Sex, we so often leave too much up to guesswork or assumption. You may have also experienced another putting their pleasure agenda onto you or you putting your pleasure agenda onto them. GOOD SEX COMES WITH MASTERFUL COMMUNICATION.
For those of you in long-term relationships, this also extends to you. Inquiring to your partner’s desires, needs, boundaries in the present moment is an invitation to know each other at a new level, and it opens up an experience to have more pleasure because one no longer feels they have to pretend or feel guarded.
Remember, your state changes, depending on your energy levels, the circumstances of your emotions and nervous system. This means your sexual boundaries change.
The bottom line is to be clear on what you are a YES to, what you are a NO too. And remember a MAYBE means NO! Listen to your body, it is where your true intelligence lives Your body knows, so it is time for you to listen.
The development of your emotional intelligence or EQ is key to being more grounded, centered and clear within yourself so you may communicate with a new level of certainty and compassion.
You will find through such daily practices with breathwork, self-inquiry, identifying needs and feelings, and meditation or mindfulness that you can create more ease in this stage to explore your boundaries.
You will need to apply all the compassionate explorations you have done with your communication practice when you communicate your boundaries to another person.
Remember life and relationships give us an environment to practice, we all trip up from time to time. I invite you to let go of perfection and remember you must take one step in a direction to be closer to the quality of relating you desire.
A few things to remember:
- Your feelings are valid. START LISTENING.
- Choose boundaries that help you thrive and be more available for life
If someone else expressed anger or upset about your boundary, invite in a self-responsible compassionate form of communication. Can they express and own their feelings? If they are projecting and blaming or shaming you, this would be a perfect time to set another boundary. It may be “I am sorry but I am unable to hear what you are needing right now due to the strong language or emotional upset, when you are ready to communicate in a clearer, calmer manner I would be happy to return to our conversation. Until that time I am going to pause here and take my space.”
- Self-Care/Self Source! Remember to put your oxygen mask on first. After all the boundary setting and communicating is done, take some self-time. This would be a perfect moment to go into an experience which nourishes you. Maybe a walk in the forest, nature time, the beach, gym or yoga class.
4. When you are fueled, it means your relationships are fueled.
© Tziporah Kingsbury, Soulful Relating Institute