Boundaries were non existent in my life. For years I would always be a yes woman….saying yes to other people which ended up in me saying no to myself. Always doing things for other people left me feeling uncomfortable anytime I might disappoint others. The mind demons would whisper, “Don’t be selfish” and “They will think less of you if you don’t.”
Nobody likes letting other people down or potentially upsetting them with your response. I always struggled with speaking my truth because the mind demons would come back with, “Be careful what you wish for, you’ll upset others and you will be rejected” or “If you don’t do what they want, you won’t be invited anywhere again.”
My rules on setting boundaries came when I committed to living with authenticity and purpose. It was a journey of leaving behind my fears and perceptions of what others would think of me towards feeling good enough. When your choices come from a place of feeling good enough, there’s less fear or worry of what others will think because you’ve made a decision that’s right for you. The ones that don’t understand just aren’t worth your time and energy.
Boundaries allow us to take better care of ourselves emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Let me just get it straight… there’s a difference between the guy who says and does what he thinks without a care for how it affects other people (these people often label themselves as ‘honest’ which is just an excuse to say and do whatever they want) and then the guy who puts his needs first by setting boundaries and speaking that truth (These people are honest from a heartfelt place.)
Walking My Talk
When I was back in the UK at Christmas, I bumped into someone I hadn’t seen in over 2 years. They were once quite close to me but I hadn’t felt that connection for quite a while. Being in a 1:1 situation with him was actually really uncomfortable. His energy was very chaotic and unstable. The conversation wasn’t a genuine flow, but more of one where he wanted control and had to be right. It felt as though my energy was being sucked out of me and after a while I wasn’t being present at all as all I wanted to do was leave. So it was time for me to walk my talk, literally.
So I spoke my truth and said, “I don’t quite know what is happening here. I’m sorry but the energy really isn’t feeling good to me so I’m going to have to leave.” And then I walked away! When I told people I did this, most people were in awe. They said they wish they had the courage to step away from people and situations like this. We often don’t make these decisions because we either want to please other people, or are scared to disrupt other people’s plans or are afraid of what they will think.
Walking away from a challenging situation with a person is very unheard of for these exact reasons! But is a big reason why we compromise who we are and what is right for us. We must learn to set our own boundaries.
I want to re-iterate there was no judgement on this old friend. I accepted him for where he was. We are all on our own journeys. We have to deal with our own mind demons, ego and past hurts that show up in every day situations. Learn to accept other people for where they are and not pass any judgement. In that acceptance, we can choose whether that’s a person we let into our space.
Know Your Boundaries
In setting boundaries, you are treated with more respect, it creates integrity. We can be generous to others but we must be generous to ourselves. That means setting boundaries and acting with integrity. This creates self respect and respect earned from others.
What are you not prepared to tolerate? If you come into a situation where this happens, what do you do? Do you speak up? Or take it?
This is why I believe spiritual development is an every day practice, for us to observe who we are being and understand exactly who we are and who we wish to be. The more you get to know yourself, you know what you can say yes and no to AND have the courage to do it.
I encourage you to tell people how you feel! If you can’ accept friends not communicating then tell them. If you don’t appreciate people turning up late, then tell them. People aren’t mind readers! It’s challenging enough for most of us to know what we want, let alone other people knowing it too! Just because it is important to you, doesn’t mean it is to them and often people just lack awareness. When we keep these things to ourselves, we will feel exhausted without realising why. You’ll be at the mercy of other people and their actions if you don’t.
You can choose how you feel good every day whether in relationships, friendships, business environments and any situation when it comes to other people. The more in tune with who you are, the more you set boundaries. The more you live with integrity, the more alive you will feel and you’ll be a magnet for attracting more open-hearted, authentic relationships into your life!
Brené Brown in her book Rising Strong talks about the process of living BIG. Boundaries, Integrity & Generosity.
“Living BIG is saying: Yes, I’m going to be generous in my assumptions and intentions while standing solidly in my integrity and being very clear about what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable.
When we combine the courage to make clear what works for us and what doesn’t, with the compassion to assume people are doing their best, our lives change.
Yes, there will be people who violate our boundaries, and this will require that we continue to hold those people accountable. But we’re living in our integrity, we’re strengthened by the self-respect that comes from the honouring of our boundaries, rather than being flattened by disappointment and resentment.”
The relationships I now have are so beautifully open, honest and heartfelt and give me so much joy. The ones that aren’t yet are becoming that way because I’m setting my boundaries. And like I said earlier, the ones that don’t like it are the ones who can’t handle your truth and perhaps aren’t connecting with the person you’re becoming. I hope that you start to honour who you are by setting your own boundaries. Lean into the fear of what people might think and start putting yourself first. You’ll be amazed at how good you feel as a result.
Peace & love