This past week on retreat in Chianti, Italy, I had the great privilege to lead a group of women through a series of personal development workshops specifically designed to lead them into greater awareness of how they are co-creating their lives. This group was filled with thoughtful, open-minded, and compassionate women eager to do the self-inquiry it takes to uncover their truth. I was astounded by their vulnerability and trust in the process and combined with the fun excursions throughout Tuscany, needless to say, it was a wonderful week together.
After a retreat ends, I generally do some thoughtful journaling and reflecting on the week. One of the questions that came up during one of the sessions was about Boundaries and how do we integrate them into our lives in a healthy way. I didn't have time to respond in depth as the session was coming to a close however this question has been floating around in my consciousness since then. During the week I had been challenged with my own question around personal boundaries and how far and for how long you allow someone to trespass in your space, whether it be physical, energetic or psychic. I realized this concept of boundaries is one of great depth and not linear in the least bit because as we strive to move towards a healthier state of being, we find our individual, unique balance of giving and receiving of one’s energy to the world while honoring the fluidity of boundaries and how they can change from day to day. Furthermore, if our goal is to achieve a balanced life, it leads us to question the relationship we have with ourselves and the level of self-control we exert in our own lives. Balance and health start from the inside, building self-trust and self-love, one good choice after another.
We, as individuals, based on our own sensitivity and how we learned to relate (and survive) in the world, grew up with a certain level of tolerance for others. It has occurred to me that the more sensitive and empathic we tend to be, the more we create a habit of giving others abundant allowance to trespass, as we strive to create peace in our surroundings. However, what many of us come to realize over much time and too many negative experiences is that without clear boundaries of our own time and space, there will always be intrusions that inevitably cause us to leak our energy leaving us feeling drained, frustrated, and victimized. In more extreme circumstances, we find ourselves in situations of being in a pattern of allowing abusive behavior, and possibly from a family member. Creating stronger boundaries for ourself within the family dynamic can bring up a lot of resistance and foibles as we find our voice, but it’s an incredibly courageous step forward towards healing, self-love and healthy relationships.
That being said, every situation and every interaction is different and is always presenting us with an opportunity to define what our boundaries are and learn about what our needs are. The process of implementing boundaries into our lives is just that, a process. There is re-programming that needs to take place, a change in our values towards self-love and self-care and a change in our belief that giving to others more than ourselves is the highest way to love or what makes us “good” people.
If you’re setting the intention to create more energy and freedom in your life, here are some self-inquiry questions that with thoughtful consideration could lead you towards beginning a new orientation to healthy boundaries:
1) When and with whom do I feeling most drained in my life? Is there a pattern I can identify? What emotions are present when I feel like I’m being pushed?
2) What emotions come up when I think about telling people “no” or what my needs are? Do I have self-judgment around having stronger boundaries?
3) How would my life change if I were to implement boundaries with others? Identify 1 place in your life that you see an opportunity to shift your boundaries. What steps can you take now to begin the process?
4) Is there an area of your life you feel you could integrate more boundary/self-control with yourself?
I hope these questions have sparked some awareness for you and help you get clearer on who you are and what your needs are. As always, I’m here for extra facilitation and send much love to your process.