"Boundaries"- we hear that word tossed around a lot, don't we?
"You have to set boundaries with that one."
"Sounds like you need some healthy boundaries."
"That person has no respect for boundaries."
We seem to like saying that word, "boundaries"; but it doesn't seem like most of us know ... what the hell a boundary is, when to set one, and how to uphold it.
Boundaries are important enough to talk about frequently, especially for empaths. Ironically, it seems that empathic people have the hardest time setting boundaries; and the people who love to feed on empaths have the easiest time breaking them. After years of recognizing these patterns in my sensitive clients, I decided it was time to write a little diddy on boundaries.
Setting healthy boundaries isn't solely for protecting your energy- setting boundaries is also a way for you to foster self love, self respect, and return said love and respect to those around you. Human beings are animals, and this is something we must never be so arrogant to forget. We need structure, we need boundaries to ground and thrive in the physical world (my Kapha is showing). Think of human beings as water: we need pipes to flow through, or else we spill out all over the floor, and people slip and fall. Boundaries are the pipes.
What the hell is a boundary?
Consider a boundary to be a pipe- a pipe that leads water towards what you want and need, but away from what you will not tolerate. In order to appropriately set a boundary, you must consider your wants, needs, and "hell no's" first. This is a consideration best made alone, without the input from others. What do you want? What do you need? What are your "hell no's"? It is important for you to be of conscious mind when considering these things! Allowing your subconscious mind monster to get involved will likely work against you.
That's right! Boundaries have a lot to do with wants and needs! This is what makes setting boundaries so difficult for highly empathic people. Empaths generally feel uncomfortable with "wanting" or "needing"; and are often far more focused on giving, versus receiving. Please start this wants, needs, and "hell no's" consideration by reminding yourself that you are worthy of what you want and need in this life. Our wants, often times, lead us towards our purpose!
When to set a boundary?
There's not necessarily a perfect time, so the best answer is: anytime. The second best answer: at the genesis of any new relationship, or at the genesis of issues within an existing relationship.
Is it "weird" to discuss boundaries on a first date? It's not nearly as weird as discussing them two years into a relationship. Furthermore, (this is important) it is deceptive to withhold boundaries from your partner. Be honest, and be unafraid about the other person's response. If someone is resistant, dismayed, or hostile in response to your boundaries... great news! You just dodged a bullet discovering this person is not in alignment with you! Toss that fish back in the water (splash)!
Additionally, boundaries aren't just pertinent in romantic relationships. Boundaries are pertinent in all relationships. It is acceptable and healthy to set boundaries with your boss, your mom, your neighbor, or your in-laws. Get that pipe system going!
How to uphold a boundary?
This is where the rubber meets the road. It is far easier to consider and set your boundaries than it is to uphold them. Here are some tips for upholding your boundaries:
Understand everyone is human. Carefully consider how much "wiggle room" you are willing to offer for the learning process.
Have a plan. "If this boundary isn't respected, this is the action I will take."
Promise yourself you will uphold your boundary. Pinky swear! You can never guarantee another person will respect your boundaries; but you CAN guarantee YOU will.
If your boundaries are repeatedly broken by the same person- leave. You're in an abuse cycle. The only way to break an abuse cycle is if someone leaves.
How do I attract people who will respect my boundaries?
Firstly, make sure you are extracting the lessons you've learned in life. Lessons do not go away until you learn them. Extracting the lesson (the gift) from any negative relationship/situation makes it easier to move on, and release the energy from said relationship/situation. Leave the person, take the gift.
Secondly, respect the boundaries of others. Like attracts like. If you are practicing Non-Interference, and actively respecting the boundaries of others, you will naturally attract people who also respect boundaries.
That's boundaries in a nut shell, everyone!
Although it may seem more complicated than this short little diddy, it really isn't. Allow yourself to love, respect, and honor yourself and others through boundaries. Access your strength, and feel empowered knowing that the Universe conspires with you for your highest and best good.