There is an art in allowing and an art of flow; we have learned to let things go, to accept and allow ourselves to say yes, as a no is often not acceptable in one area or another. We often find ourselves sacrificing our time, energy, joy, ease and wellbeing for the so-called greater good and yet the biggest joy we can bring to the world is that in which we are the most fulfilled, as only a lit candle can truly shine its light and ignite the flames around it.

In a world that is filled with demands on our time and energy, it is healthy for us to have boundaries. However these are often difficult and challenging to set in the beginning – there tends to be an underlying fear of rejection, a sense of guilt or selfishness.

Five signs that you need boundaries:

  • You often feel underappreciated for what you do;
  • You don’t have time for yourself;
  • You’re feeling burnt out;
  • You find yourself dreading all the ‘to-do’ lists;
  • You end up finding yourself more in your head than being productive.

We fill our life with expectant roles and responsibilities deemed vital, exhausting our energy levels and adding unnecessary stress to our lives.

Three ways you neglect your boundaries:

  • You find yourself performing a task or action that often leaves you feeling stuck or uncomfortable;
  • You cave in and say yes to someone in one way or another when you originally said no;
  • You vent and feel frustrated but allow the situation under question to continue.

Everyone is unique – we experience our own sets of likes, dislikes, passions, tolerances and boundaries. Our lives and relationships are unique to our situation and there is no set way to feel or act, there is no distinct handbook. I have found that boundaries differ, not only from person to person, but interaction to interaction. The most useful question I live by in my life is ‘what brings ease to my world?’

It may sound quite simple – overly so perhaps – but it has been the most useful tool in assessing where I am in any given moment. We have different layers of boundaries that come into various situations.

Types of boundaries:

  • Boundaries of conduct: A boundary placed in conduct with colleagues and bosses. We may not hug our clients the way we hug our family members and we may not want to be hugged by colleagues.  There are also various interactions between roles within a family group: A brother would have different boundaries with his mother than he necessarily would with his father; appropriate behaviours in social situations of affection between individuals, of the way individuals speak to one another, as a lover may not say certain things at a dinner party the way they would behind closed doors.
  • Personal boundaries: Physically we have the boundary of touch; mentally of time, energy and focus; emotionally and spiritually of feeling good or feeling infringed upon.

Although we may not have labelled boundaries of conduct boundaries at all, they are indeed boundaries we follow. Boundaries are guidelines of actions that we take or allow others to act on and, with that, it becomes a dance between individuals, a symphony of various components and personal boundaries coming together, hopefully in a sense of respect and mutual understanding to the good of all.

Personal boundaries are more testing and definitely more taxing in the beginning, especially if, as an individual, there has been a large amount of neglect to the boundaries, having made the boundaries almost non-existent. I use the term brainwashed lightly, perhaps it is more trained… We are often trained by those around us to give ourselves to them because, if we don’t, then surely we don’t value them? Surely we need to prove we are enough? Provide evidence that we love them? At what cost to ourselves do we do this – to leave ourselves feeling exhausted by taking care of everyone’s needs but our own.

Important questions to ask yourself:

  • What am I worth?
  • What do I want and need?
  • Where do I feel trapped, unappreciated and unsupported?
  • Where am I spending more energy than is being returned to me?

These questions are simple and yet the answers are not – it may often be a family member, friend and partner or work colleague that has you feeling exhausted and spent in mind, body and spirit.

How to set boundaries:

  • Say no: Easier said than done most of the time; you may find yourself feeling guilty and the person you’re saying no to may not like it either but it is an important first step. Say no to doing things that feel uncomfortable; say no to spending time with people who drain you or leave you feeling frustrated; say no to going out if it isn’t what you want – simply say no to anything that doesn’t fit into what brings your life ease.
  • Learn your Joy: This takes some conscious awareness as you’ll need to really listen to your inner voice when interacting with the world around you – does this feel good? Yes? Do it! No? Say NO!
  • Communicate: A step that requires some finesse to ensure we are communicating from a place of inner truth. Discuss your boundaries with those around you in a concise way to bring across understanding to your needs.
  • Take action: Set an automatic timer of silent mode on your phone to have it not ring after work hours, don’t reply until you have the mental capacity to handle the conversation, take small steps to improving your wellbeing.

The benefits of boundaries:

  • Increased energy;
  • More time to do things you enjoy;
  • Increased understanding of yourself and those around you;
  • An increased sense of inner peace;
  • A sense of being grounded;
  • More freedom.

Begin your journey on the joy of boundaries by starting with something small, often the smallest actions can bring about the biggest changes and inner transformations.

Part ll in this self-care series ‘Trauma and the Decision to Heal’ will feature in the Summer Edition
Trauma is personal. It does not disappear if it is not validated. When it is ignored or invalidated the silent screams continue internally, heard only by the one held captive. When someone enters the pain and hears the screams healing can begin.”― Danielle Bernock

Energy healing enthusiast, anatomy apprentice and believer in possibilities, Angelique Koster has been in the field of alternative medicine for 10 years, with a background that includes colour therapy and various massage techniques, supporting her dynamic AccunectTM sessions one on one as well as in classes with SelfCare. Contact us at [email protected]