You hear people talk about setting boundaries but what does that mean? For me, it means being true to myself and knowing when something is outside of that. It means having a strong set of values and acting in accordance with them. Understanding what I need to live as healthy as possible and listening to my body as much as possible. It means saying no when something feels off, and yes when something feels good. The concept of integrity comes to mind, but not in a moral sense. It’s more about honoring your word and what you do (or don’t do) to make that happen.
I had conversation with my dad that took an interesting turn regarding boundaries. He told me about increasing job expectations getting in the way of his life balance. He also said he was having conversations to get assistance because he wasn’t happy about the situation and it needed to change fast. I thought, “go dad!” because he knew very clearly where his boundaries were and crossing that line wasn’t an option. But I also wondered why it’s so hard for us to speak up to honor our boundaries if they mean something to us.
Here’s the energetic spin. When you set boundaries you are saying, “this is what I’m willing to expend my energy on or willing to accept when it comes to something entering my energy field.” There’s a give and take that occurs and your actions have direct implications on your body or energetic container. You know the saying “your body is your temple?” well, this is the same except we’re not talking about food, we’re talking about energy. Have you been in a conversation with someone who pulls your energy? Or a location where you felt obligated to be, but wish you had said no instead? We’ve all felt the drain...that’s our boundary talking!
It’s one thing to set boundaries, but another to honor and hold others to them. And it’s much easier to enforce boundaries when it comes to other people, but you also have to hold yourself accountable to your own boundaries. Things like bedtime, events, eating that food, or saying certain things...those all count toward boundaries.
What happens when your body says you haven’t set or followed your own boundaries? I had a bout with this recently. I was feeling a bit run down and still tried to push because that’s what I do. I’ve gotten much better at listening to my body, but sometimes I’m a little stubborn. I made small adjustments, but didn’t fully stop like I should’ve. So, my body said “okay, fine. If you won’t stop, I’ll stop for you.” My couch and I got reacquainted for a few days. Of course you don’t want to get to that point, but sometimes that’s what it takes to let the lesson sink in. I’ve even gained weight due to stressful situations and filtering others’ stress for them. Yup, that’s possible too!
So what do you think about boundaries? Do you have your own and keep them like your life depends on it or do you keep them loose to keep your options open?