Setting boundaries can be a very elusive topic. I never had any awareness around this subject until about 3 years ago. Since then I have worked very hard to understand how to move from being a highly defensive person into being someone who stands her ground and speaks her mind (but with kindness and love).
A defensive system means you don’t make your expectations known. You aren’t letting people around you know what you need and what works for you and what doesn’t. Being defensive is super hard work and at the end of the day you end up feeling angry and resentful and totally taken advantage of.
Boundaries are an offensive system. You don’t have to be ready to strike or always worried about being hurt, taken advantage of or walked all over by the people in your life. You are clear about your needs and wants and not only can you speak about them you project them in your energy so people really understand where you are at.
On the real though, this is not easy to do especially if you have lived most of your life on the defensive and around others who are defensive as well. Setting up clear boundaries takes time, patience and lots of love.
So why should you set boundaries?
Boundaries create a beautiful ebb and flow between you and life. Its like having a gorgeous fence with a flowery trellace rather than a brick wall. Boundaries enhance your relationships, they increase your power to manifest the things you want. They keep joy alive!
Brick walls decrease your joy, they keep people out, and they keep you separated from the world and when you are separate you can’t enjoy the beauty of connection, intimacy and vulnerability that so many relationships offer.
Keep in mind though that boundaries are often only set after you realize you need them. This is a learning process and setting boundaries most of the time will not be a preemptive strike. Its more of an “Oh, I didn’t like that so I need to be honest about it and put something in place here to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” Setting boundaries means you listen to your emotions and act accordingly.
The beautiful thing about this is that if you did feel taken advantage of or resentful over a particular situation but you decide to listen to that and put a boundary in place the resentment leaves, the anger leaves and you feel peace instead. Boundaries do that – they offer peace even after the fact.
How to identify where to start setting boundaries
Feeling angry or even resentful is your biggest clue-in that you need to set some boundaries. Anger can be such a wonderfully motivating emotion when its looked at and properly addressed. Find out what you are angry about and look at the situation or circumstances while asking yourself these questions:
~ What do I want or need in this situation?
~ What could I have done differently?
~ What steps can I take now to rectify this?
~ What is my Total Truth here?
Find out what you need, what works for you and what doesn’t. Be totally honest about this with all the parties involved. It might seem scary at first but often people are more receptive to an honest conversation than you might think.
Listen to your gut! Your intuition will tell you who you can trust in the deepest valleys of your heart and who you need to keep at arms length. Not everyone gets the privilege of your full vulnerability. Actually, very few people will and sometimes there are people we think we can let all the way in only to find out later that we can’t. That’s ok. Life is trial and error and the more we accept this as fact and learn to ride the waves the better life gets.
Be Kind. Again setting boundaries isn’t ever about being defensive its about being honest in the kindest way you can. However, if your defensive walls are still up inside this can be hard to do. Just start where you are at. The more you are willing to place boundaries and be honest with yourself and others the easier it gets and the kinder and sweeter your truth becomes.
If you haven’t already I highly recommend watching some of Danielle Laporte’s info on setting boundaries. She has been one of my biggest influencers in learning to do this and I truly admire her outlook on this subject.
So what do you think? How do you set boundaries and what have you discovered works for you and doesn’t? I would love to know!