Finding my boundaries has been one of the most challenging journeys of my adult life. And one of the most rewarding. They were not something I felt I was taught very well as a child. And why we don’t learn about them in school is beyond me?!
I love Brene Brown’s simple definition “Boundaries are a clear understanding of what’s ok and what’s not ok, for you”. For me!? That feels like the most challenging part. There is no set list. It’s what feels ok, for ME.
And what feels ok for you may not feel ok for me. Which means it is fully my responsibility to get clear on what feels ok for me, and what doesn’t, and then hold my own boundaries.
Our boundaries delineate where our mental, emotional and physical space ends, and where another’s begins. When we have healthy boundaries we take responsibility for our own needs, our thoughts and our feelings.
And, just as importantly, we allow others to have their own needs, thoughts and feelings without taking responsibility or needing to somehow change them – this part has been really hard for me!
When someone in my life was feeling sad or disappointed, in the past I would feel it was my responsibility to make them feel better, to change the way they felt, rather than simply being compassionate and allowing them to feel whatever it was they were feeling.
In truth the reason I did this, albeit unconsciously, was because it was hard for me to sit with the pain they were in, as it triggered my own. And I was scared they wouldn’t like me if I didn’t make them feel better.
Boundaries are about what we say yes to and what we say no to. They are not about separation or division they are about respect and love for others and for ourselves.
My journey with boundaries has taken me from often being resentful, blaming, angry and exhausted to deeply trusting myself, to assuming others are doing the best they can, to speaking up when I need too, to saying yes and no from a place of authenticity and integrity and to making self-care primary in my life.
It’s been hard. Hard to even work out what my needs are. It still can be. But slowly I have learnt to honour my needs, my thoughts and my feelings. Slowly I have found the courage to learn to set boundaries and love myself.
With great warmth Jo