So I’ve come to realise that I tend to be inspired to write a blog entry when I’ve noticed a re-occurring theme in my clinic during a week or even month. It makes me think that is this is something our society is dealing with at this time. Or perhaps it's about my own learning. Or all of the above :)
This month’s theme is boundaries. It opens from the Heart Chakra. Loving, trusting and respecting ourself and others.
What is a boundary and how do know where they lie? Boundaries can mean so many different things for different people. Often it is perceived as selfish and closed off. But to me, it is the opposite (remember Heart Chakra). Here is how I interpret this word;
A boundary is knowing when you’ve given enough of yourself to a person or situation and still feel comfortable about this. It is not necessarily your limit, often we can give more, but the repercussions of this additional giving is that we are left feeling resentful or unappreciated.
It is about cherishing yourself and maintaining your energy so you can be of true service to those you love.
When we have clear boundaries we can say no and not feel guilty or shameful.
If you are not clear on where your boundaries lie you can find yourself Burnt Out. Exhausted. Resentful. A deep feeling of discomfort about a situation may arise.
You say YES to something because you feel obliged. You think it's the right thing to do. Deep down, you know it's not right for you.
So it seems pretty clear to me that it pays to take some time to work out what you are able to give and where your boundaries are.
Here are some tools to help this drop in;
- Consider where your limits are being pushed at the moment or have been in the past.
This involves looking at your life and considering the aspects that are causing feelings of discomfort or resentment. This could be relationships, work situations, family life or really anything at all. FEEL your way. Try not to think too much. What is making you FEEL uncomfortable or unsupported. You have most likely not upheld your boundaries in these situations.
- Once you have identified an aspect of your life that need attention, ask yourself WHY did I end up here. Is this based on a belief, is it based on guilt, is it based on childhood patterns? Eg. Have I always been required to be the caregiver since childhood? Do I feel guilty if I ask my husband to help out at home if he has worked all day? Do I believe I must do it all? Do I believe only I can do this correctly?
- Start to question this. How else could I approach this? Is this belief true? Do I want to change this? If this is a pattern that has been running for a long time and if so why?
You might need some help with this step. Talk it out with your partner, friend, counsellor etc. Write about it. Mediate on it. Breathe. Really spend some time here working out why it’s happened.
- How can you approach this situation from a different angle? Ask yourself what would have to change so I could feel comfortable and supported in this situation. Be clear and concise.
- Give yourself permission to put this into action. Know it is OK (in fact, imperative) to have boundaries and be honouring yourself. Long term, this will actually help you to serve people on a deeper and more sustainable level.
- Communicate. Express yourself. Clearly and openly. Be prepared for conflict and perhaps even surprise. The other person may have thought this was totally OK (you have probably even told them it is). The clearer you are on the reason why you are feeling crappy and how you want to change the situation, the easier this will be. It is not about blame or shame. It is about you being clear on what needs to change and why.
How to word this; “I feel like x and I need y to change which will enable me to feel z” It is not “You are doing this and it is crap and I hate everything about you” (don’t laugh you have probably said this before!)
- Stick to it. Follow Through. Commit to yourself. Remind yourself constantly of the WHY. Know you are worth this change. This might just be the hardest part.
- Connect and assess how you FEEL about the situation once these changes have been applied. This is the pat on the back moment.
This is a constant journey. You will need to keep reminding yourself. Ask for help if you need it. Write about it. Express yourself. Believe in yourself. Love yourself.