Lately I have been coaching many clients whose lives are in chaos and they are feeling challenged in relationships in all areas of their lives. As we do the re-alignment excavation work, it becomes clear that they are struggling with boundaries.
We teach people how to treat us. Let that sink in for a moment. Sink into the place where you know this to be your truth. Think about the last time that someone treated you with love and kindness…that came from your love and kindness. Now think about the last time someone treated you in an unkind way and how does that reflect how you treated yourself or how you allowed them to treat you in the past? The Universe is a brilliant intelligence and it is always reflecting back to you what is happening in your inner world. So, if you don’t like what you are seeing in the mirror of the Universe (or your partner, children, colleagues etc), then you need to change your inner world.
Boundaries are a powerful way to change your inner world. They are an opportunity to say to yourself “I love myself”, “ I am worthy”, “I, as much as anyone else in the entire Universe deserve my love and affection”. Unfortunately, many people set boundaries and they are not clear or firm with them and the boundaries become malleable. They become negotiable. They lose their potency because you, the creator of your boundaries, possibly created them from a place of control or fear and not from a place of love.
When boundaries are created from a place of fear, they are created with the intention to control another person and not from a firm stance on what you need to be loved. Here are a few examples of unhealthy boundaries that come from control with a partner: “you cannot go out with your buddies”; “you must call me 3 times a day”. Instead, you can make your boundaries from a place of love and about your needs not controlling or changing their behavior. If you find yourself in a place on needing to control or change another’s behavior, it is likely that you will benefit from doing your own inner work and look where you need to create more healthy boundaries in your body, mind and heart.
Boundaries that are created from love, respect, and trust, are firm. NO is a complete sentence and needs no explanation when you know it is your truth. And there is power and strength in that sentence. When is the last time you created a firm NO in your life and it felt sooooo good?
No is a complete sentence
At first you will probably feel selfish, guilty or embarrassed when you set a boundary. Do it anyway and tell yourself you have a right to self-care. Setting boundaries takes practice and determination. Don’t let anxiety or low self-esteem prevent you from taking care of yourself.
If you never set limits with people they will just keep taking from you because they have an unhealthy sense of entitlement and you will not be firm with your boundaries. Setting boundaries takes courage – the courage to love yourself at the risk of disappointing others. The courage to acknowledge that your time and your energy and your life are precious, and you deserve to choose how you use it. These can be boundaries with your time, in activities that you chose to engage in, in people you wish to let into and out of your life. And, although some of your time (e.g., at work) is not as flexible, you can still find your voice and set your boundaries. Most of the time, when you step into your power from your heart and clearly affirm your boundaries, they will be heard.
One of my clients recently had to set firm boundaries at a social event where she was ridiculed. She expressed that she would not tolerate being spoken to in that manner and would leave if it continued. Her boundary was clear and firm. She did not get into a story or narrative bringing in the past, just a clear “no” moving forward. The behavior stopped immediately, and she later received a text message (while still at the social function) with an apology from the person. We imagine so much fear around setting boundaries, we imagine that it will offend others or they will abandon us however most people are simply unaware that they are crossing a boundary until we let them know. You have nothing to lose and everything to win.
Here are some ways that you can practice healthy boundaries:
- Say no without guilt
- Ask clearly for what you want or need
- Take care of yourself
- Say yes because you want to not out of obligation (and I know we all have responsibilities and are juggling taking care of others and you have a right to also decide when you say no and when you say yes because the reality is we are all free to make changes, to change our lives and to make healthy choices)
- Behave according to your own values and beliefs and not based on societal conditioning
- Request that you be given the freedom to express emotions and have disagreements in a healthy way
- Request that you feel supported to pursue your own dreams
- Be treated as an equal
- Take responsibility for your own happiness
- Not feeling responsible for another’s happiness
- Be in tune with your own feelings
- Know who you are, what you believe, and what you desire in your life.
Life without boundaries is chaos so create your boundaries, set them in place to let the world know how you expect and deserve to be treated This will send out a clear message as to what behavior is acceptable to you, not them, but you. Their boundaries are their concern. You get to set the parameters in your life of how you want to live.
So…what boundaries do you need to set up in your life?
Diana Lockett, M.Sc., is a Re-Alignment Coach, a Motivational Speaker, A Teacher, a Yogini and an Adventurer. You can connect with her at dianalockett.com.