When it comes to setting and communicating boundaries, we must first know what our boundaries actually are and the various types we can have. Boundaries can be drawn in chalk, changeable and fluid. They can be set in stone, non-negotiables that are held strong and steady. They can also be everything in between. The practice is being in constant relationship with your boundaries and knowing them so intimately that you can hold them in ways that are best for you, regardless of what the outside world is telling you. One way to know your boundaries is checking in with physical sensations in your body when you’re around certain people or in certain situations.
Take a moment of pause when you’re with people or doing certain things and ask, “how does this make me feel?” If there’s tightness, restriction, exhaustion or heaviness, maybe this is showing you that it’s not for you or your best interests. If you feel things like openness, lightness, fluidity, or anything else that is expansive, it could be a good indication that these people or situations nourish you or invite growth. Now, as with anything, it’s not this black and white. There will be times when you feel tightness and a full-body-no but the thing/person is actually good for your growth and taking you out of your comfort zone, this is for only you to decide. I’ll be sharing journal prompts, insights, and videos in posts to come about getting to know, setting, and courageously & compassionately communicating boundaries. Watch this space and share any questions or insights you have in regards to boundaries as we dive into this exploration :)
Journal prompts for getting to know boundaries
(you might include the whole “get comfy, set the environment” that we’ve included in past posts - your call)
Here are some points of curiosity as you begin or continue to explore different boundaries and what they mean to you…
What boundaries am I already aware of? For each of them reflect on what type they are (hard/non-negotiable, soft/changeable)
Why are boundaries important to me? What benefit do they offer?
Where in my life are my boundaries feeling strong and healthy?
How do I feel when I honour my boundaries?
How do I feel when I neglect my boundaries?
Where in my life can I bring in more powerful boundaries? What do these boundaries look and feel like?
From here, continue to reflect on how you know this to be true and where you are next inviting in powerful and compassionate boundaries.
Just like boundaries aren’t black and white all of the time, neither is the way we set and communicate them. Some boundaries need to be set firmly and with fierce intention, others are soft and met with curiosity and a willingness to be fluid. The best and hardest part of this is that only you know and only you can implement and enforce them. We can’t expect anyone else to respect or hold our boundaries; we can explicitly communicate what we need, but at the end of the day we must be the guardians of our own boundaries.
Types of boundaries:
Spiritual, Cultural, Ethical
How to create & hold boundaries:
Say no (compassionately & sometimes fiercely)
Put measures in place
Here is a framework you might use when establishing boundaries:
I feel ____ when _____ because _____.
What I need is _____.
This can feel awkward and overwhelming at first, this is why support is so important. Find the people in your corner who can help you navigate the challenging waters of boundary setting. Share in the comments any useful tips you have when setting/communicating boundaries, I’d love to hear more!