This is something that comes naturally for most people. If you are like me and struggle with setting boundaries in your life, then stick around and we can explore this simple yet difficult thing to achieve together.
I have difficulty setting healthy boundaries in my personal life and this is something that I am working very hard to change. Not setting these boundaries results in opening myself up to things that I do not have the strength to say no to and inevitably end up in a situation that I am uncomfortable in. Tricky.
Boundaries were once described to me like the layers of an onion, and that one should learn to place different people in different layers of the onion, with the centre being your true self. This is where I go wrong. I let too many people into the centre circles of my onion and therefore expose myself by being too trusting. The problem I have experienced with changing this, is that people have now become used to my lack of boundaries and feel left out when I decide not to include them in certain aspects of my life or fail to divulge certain details. They need to get used to my new boundaries and naturally there is resistance to this.
Courtesy of Tiny Buddha, here are some tips on how to achieve this:
If you’d also like to maintain healthy boundaries to feel more centered, these three steps will be a good start:
1. Check your personal engine light.
Think about how you feel when you’re around someone who drains you and upsets you, someone with whom you feel you lose yourself. How does this feel in your body? How does it feel in your mind? How does the presence of this person affect you?
Now look at this list of feelings and sensations you’ve made, and imagine that your body is like a car, with a dashboard full of warning lights.
You’ve just identified what I like to call the “check engine light” for your personal boundary system. It’s a security system warning that your personal energy field has been breached, and you’re letting in stuff that isn’t yours.
This is really important. When our boundaries are weak, unguarded, or unclear, we let in all sorts of stuff that isn’t actually our stuff, and we give away our own personal energy unconsciously.
That means you’re dealing with a breach of your energetic security system and a leak of your own personal energy. You’re looking at warning signs indicating that some work needs to be done, some boundaries need to be shored up, and you need to return to center.
2. Ground yourself as preparation for maintaining boundaries.
Grounding is akin to the way a tree sinks her roots to stay secure in a storm. It’s the first tool in creating healthy boundaries—nurturing a connection with ourselves, our centers.
Our root system is both our anchor and our boundary system. It keeps us from being blown about in other people’s winds. It gives us a way to focus and still ourselves to connect with our heart and our intuition. That’s what keeps us steady and connected and focused.
There are as many ways to ground as there are people. I like to take five minutes to actually imagine my root system connecting me into the earth, like a giant oak tree. Here are some other ideas:
- Saying a prayer, affirmation, or mantra in the shower in the morning
- Offering a blessing over your morning meal or beverage
- Chanting or repeating affirmations in your head as you walk to work or school
Try different ways—you’ll find the one that works for you!
3. Notice the people and places that tend to drain you.
Before entering those places or exposing yourself to those people, take a few minutes to imagine breathing a bubble of protective energy around you. Think of it as a space that will only allow love and positivity inside it, deflecting anything else. Really see it and really feel the force of it around you. Then recognize what you need to do to maintain that space.
These three steps will help you create and maintain healthy boundaries. Building boundaries is like any muscle or practice—the more you work with it, the better it serves you!
Remember Robert frost’s poem Mending Wall? Sometimes good fences really do make good neighbors and we need to learn that there are some things that are better not shared and unsaid.
I will not give up on my quest to set healthy boundaries in my life, but there is hard work ahead!