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Creating healthy boundaries

One of the hardest and yet, liberating, aspects of living true to your Self is creating healthier boundaries for yourself. As you take the path of discovering your Self and becoming more aware of what you need in your life that resonates with your true Self, you start to understand yourself on a much deeper level. As you understand yourself better, you are able to identify your own personal values system. By using your personal values system to guide you, you will begin to understand the messages your feelings are sending you.

Our feelings are one of the most valuable resources we have available within ourselves. If we are able to truly listen and understand what our feelings are telling us at any given time, we will find ourselves making healthier choices for ourselves.

It’s taken me a long time to get to a space where I am able to sit back and identify what I am feeling in any particular situation before making a response. Note: I am talking about “response”, not “reaction”. When we respond to a situation we are doing so with responsibility – we have weighed up all the options given to us, and that includes our feelings. Only then can we respond. When we react, we are doing so out of fear. This is not a healthy situation to be in.

What do I mean by “feelings”? Think of a time when you did react out of guilt. Go back one step and try identify what feeling/emotion was surging through you at that time. Did you experience a wrenching churn in your stomach, that “sick to the gut” feel? Did you find yourself saying “yes” when deep down you really wanted to say “no”? How often do you ignore these feelings, letting your mind convince you that it’s okay to have your boundaries pushed to such a limit that you ignore that sinking feeling in your stomach as, once again, you commit yourself to someone/something because they make you feel guilty if you dared to say “no”?

On a daily basis, we are faced with people coming into our space. Some bring joy, excitement, happiness, laughter, love by being in our space. We know they are right for us when our bodies create feelings that make us feel good in a healthy and positive way. We feel energise around these people. We feel safe. We feel valued.

Then, there are those people who come into our space and demand a part of us through manipulation, control, selfishness, greed etc. Immediately, feelings of anger, guilt, shame, exhaustion – you name them – rise in us. If we are not able to acknowledge these feelings for what they are, we let them override us and we will find ourselves in very unhealthy relationships with these people.

I always talk to my clients about their own “consensus circle”. In this circle we include those people in our lives that we trust, love and feel safe with. Outside the immediate circle are those we allow into our lives on our terms. Those we know who violate our boundaries are kept as far away from our “consensus circle” as possible. However, only if we have a very clear understanding of our own boundaries are we able to create a healthy “consensus circle”. It’s important to give ourselves breathing space within our “consensus circle” as well or else we will find ourselves becoming too isolated through lack of trust. So, trust is important but we can only trust when we trust and love ourselves fully.

When looking at your own “consensus circle” and identifying the people that you have in (and outside of your circle) always ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I honouring myself by allowing this person into my circle?

  • Am I showing myself love and respect by allowing this person into my circle”

  • Am I able to say “no” without giving reasons to those in my circle? Do they accept me without questioning my response?

  • Am I energised by those in my circle?

  • Am I confident with my own personal values system, trusting it to guide me when creating healthy boundaries for myself?

  • Are my boundaries healthy or am I isolating myself out of lack of trust within myself?

  • Have I made myself clear enough to others about my own personal boundaries?

  • Have I shown responsibility to myself with the “consensus circle” I have created?

Through understanding our own healthy boundaries, we need to also be open to respecting others and their own boundaries even if they do not resonate with us. Each and every one of us are unique and special which means that each and every one of us have different needs with a different perspective of what a healthy boundary means for us. By respecting someone else's boundary you are saying, "I see you".

So, learn to listen to those feelings and if they make you feel uncomfortable, retreat until you have understood the discord and who triggered it within you. Then ask yourself, "Am I creating healthy boundaries for myself by letting this person in?".

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