Are you Struggling? Why good boundaries can help.
A lot of problems in life and relationships can stem from boundary issues. When people talk about boundaries they are referring to you and your energy, what does and does not belong to you. The defining line between what defines you and what does not belong to you is your boundary. Boundaries tell us what is our business and what is not our business. What we think of ourselves and other people is our business but it is none of our business what others think of us. We cannot control what others feel or say about us. We cannot know if they are honorable people or engage in gossip. We also cannot control the good things that people feel or say about us, how much they appreciate us and how much they love us. That simply is beyond our control and isn’t entirely to do with us as it involves another person and is also about another person’s perception, feelings, their intention, values in life, baggage etc. It is really good to remember this. Ultimately of course we are all one but on a day to day practical level, it is a reality that we all have individual physical bodies and minds and it is important to have good boundaries to have clarity and show respect and honor both ourselves and others.
Healthy boundaries help us to know who we are and what we truly need in life. They help us to have a better sense of separateness from others and to own and take responsibility for the things we need to deal with. We can get dragged into others stories what they should or should not be doing, what you should or should not be doing or how we can ‘save’ but that is a waste of time both for yourself and the other person. You can be there for other people and you can help other people but it is not our job to be saving someone, taking responsibility for another person’s life. That is not healing for anyone. Life is best when we are really looking after and honoring our own needs and helping others from a space of sharing and genuine respect for that person. When you care about a person, you take the time to build a relationship with that person. If you help anyone you should do it from an informed and experienced space and you recognize that the person is front of you is an equal: not above you and not below you, equal in importance to you and capable of finding their own solutions in life. When we respect people, we really listen to that person and we get to know them. We don’t listen to hearsay about people or engage in stereotypes or prejudice. Stereotypes or prejudice do not relate to or connect with the uniqueness and individuality of people. As most of us will know before World War 2 or with recent tragedies in America With George Floyds tragic and unjust death, huge stereotypes and prejudice were rampant before the atrocities that later took place to try and justify barbarity so really before you innocently engage in or tolerate such things- think twice. You can only believe what you actually know for a fact to be true about another person. You only know the truth of a person through truly knowing them. The truth is we often dont know what is truly going on for other people and when we presume that we do know, we can often get it wrong. That’s not helpful to anyone. Be mindful of your perception and allow people to truly show you who they are and tell you what they want.
Knowing who we are, what we believe, what we think, feel, like and want means that people cannot walk in and out of our lives at will-using and abusing us. It also means that if others actions are less than ideal or less than professional, we can know that this has nothing to do with us and just wish such people a deeper understanding and appreciation of life.
Healthy boundaries help us to choose relationships that we want to be in as well as let go of those we don’t want to be in. We can step away from someone as we may not feel seen, respected, heard, valued or understood by this person or just may not feel they are a good match for us. Life is short and precious. Make sure to choose who you give your energy to very wisely. If someone doesn’t fit with your energy or make you feel good you can wish them well but we are in no way obliged to spend time with people who we do not feel genuinely wish us well or respect us. You are here to be true to the completely unique individual that you are. Celebrate who you are and be happy for others and just wish people well or bid them well on their way if you don’t feel that you wish to know them or don’t feel that their values are a good match with yours. Make time to value and cherish the people who love and appreciate you just as you are and who you love just as they are and let the rest go. Our time is very limited in life. We simply don’t have time to waste as its all so precious.
Healthy boundaries come from knowing ourselves well and this offers us great freedom and peace. When we are free to be who we really are, we are better equipped to make our choices rather than someone making them for us. We all have needs. It is important that we know our needs and the needs of others close to us in our lives. We need to be in touch with our feelings, thoughts and desires and to be able to connect with others from a genuine and authentic space.
Healthy boundaries help us to have deep intimacy and authentic joy in our lives, they also bring order into our lives and determine how we will or won’t be treated by others. Boundaries define how far others can or cannot go in their relationship with us. Healthy boundaries empower us to have self-discipline, maturity and strength of character. They can allow us to be quietly confident and yet stand up for ourselves when we need to. Boundaries also teach us responsibilities in all areas of life.
In relation to this recent pandemic, good boundaries are essential for our wellbeing. We have the boundary of very clear governmental advice of social distancing and respecting that advice which has been important to adhere to and which of course we have had no choice but to adhere to. Within that however, we have had the boundary of choosing what we tune into and the boundary of our own wellbeing. Media and Social Media have been riddled with fear about this pandemic. Although it is obviously important to act responsibly and to stick to best practice, it is not healthy or wise however to be constantly bombarding ourselves with news or worrying about illness. Take careful precautions certainly but also trust your body and reassure yourself that you will be fine. Take time to also value simplicity and what you are grateful for. Tune into things that you love and that uplift you along with staying abreast of news if you want to and helping out in whatever way if you can and wish to. We cannot always control what goes on around us but we do have control in how we respond or react to things around us and that makes all the difference.
We also need to have a boundary in relation to sticking to reliable information. There has been a lot of surmising within this situation and certain things are unclear. However at the end of the day life is largely about being the change we want to see so get involved if you feel strongly about certain issues and contribute towards what you feel needs to change if you wish to do that and then let go and relax. So much peace can equally come from acceptance and resting into our own energy and peace. Although we can shine our light within the world and make our own difference in our own way however big or small, we simply cannot control life. As Milton once famously said “Man can make hell of heaven or heaven of hell” and in the book “Mans Search for Meaning”, Viktor E. Frankl, a survivor of the concentration camps, made it clear that he saw both the best and the worst of people within these camps. There was incredible and inexcusable brutality but then also incredible acts of kindness and courage that he witnessed within his friends in these camps. What I’m saying is that regardless of any circumstance we are in, there is always a certain amount of choice into how you are dealing with that situation. This pandemic has been tough but there also have been some positive things that have resulted from it; there is less pollution in the air, people generally have more quality time for themselves, its been a time to transform things about ourselves and grow, some have found time to be grateful for nature, many have realised just how much certain people and groups mean to them etc. When you empower yourself through the choices you have and the things and people you give your energy to, you reap the benefits of change and wellbeing. Enjoy loving and respecting your boundary and the boundaries of others, it can lead you to a deeper appreciation of life, of others and of the current situation we are in. I hope that this article is of use to you and if you want further information on boundaries and how to really strengthen them in concrete ways, please have a look at my “Strengthening Self Care and Immunity Course” on http://www.soulfulliving.ie.
I’m a health and wellbeing coach and this course consists of relaxing mindful yoga, healing Qigong, calming meditations and nourishing shiatsu self massage. It is a lifelong access online course consisting of 12 videos (of approx. 1 hour each) and a course guide that are sent to you by email through a dropbox. There is currently a very special offer of forty euros to make it accessible at this moment in time to help people improve their health and wellbeing.
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