Many people are aware that having strong boundaries is important. We are bombarded with a myriad of energies throughout the day and it is easy to pick up beliefs and ideas without every questioning whether they are in line with who we are.
Having strong boundaries is not the same as being closed off. Strong boundaries do not block life, but they keep the inner space clear, safe and sovereign. They actually enable the person to be open, to have intimacy with themselves, other people and the world around them.
On the other hand, a closed energy field can feel somewhat safe, but it is also lifeless and empty because it does not allow anything to touch the heart. The closed field does not allow anything through, including the opportunities, sensuality and the enjoyment of life. People close themselves up because they have been hurt in the past and their heart is broken. They are trying to protect themselves because their boundaries have been breached and their trust betrayed.
So what are boundaries, what are they for and how do we bring awareness into this area.
Personal boundaries ensure the autonomy and safety of the inner space and that of the body. They insure that the person themselves define who they are, what they feel, which beliefs they hold, what is important to them, what roles they choose to play for other people, how they interact, who they interact with, what they do with their resources, their bodies, what they consider appropriate, what they identify with, who they love, the relationship they have with themselves and their world. They decide how other people treat them, the kinds of behaviours they find appropriate or not. They decide when to say yes or no, when to stay and when to walk out of situations that don't serve them.
In the world of today, many people do not live in their own sovereign space but are instead entangled and allow others to walk on their turf. They give in to the demands and expectations of others and society, rather than following through on their own ideas, wants and desires. Many people are not even aware that they have a right to their own space, especially inner space, and that there are many choices in this area.
Instead, they unconsciously allow the uninvited guests to keep interfering with their own inner world and make decisions on their behalf. The uninvited guests can be all the beliefs, terms, definitions and identities that the person unconsciously picked up along the way. From the society, authorities, school, religions, mass media and advertising, family traditions, friends and other people. None of these are a problem if they resonate with the person and work on their behalf. They do become a problem when the uninvited guests work to ones own detriment, always placing the needs of the other first. The needs of another person, organisations, culture or society. The person keeps making the decisions based on what they have been taught, overriding their own inner feelings and guidance systems. This creates feelings of anger and powerlessness.
The family member who was designated to always playing the rescuer of other family members regardless of their own plans, wishes and desires. Or the one that always plays the black sheep. The pre-defined male and female roles. The ideas about what success is, what beauty is. The relationship with spirit. The bully who uses force, fear and manipulation to get their own way. The undermining and dismissive language. The martyr and the victim who habitually play these roles but won't do anything to change their situation. Because they use these roles to manipulate others and get their own way. None of these behaviours display strong boundaries.
The workings of our society are based on the lack of strong boundaries. We have a history of violence, fear, manipulation, bullying, deceit and half truths, all used to force and influence others by overstepping their boundaries. The autonomous space of the individual has not been respected throughout our human history. We have also accepted that this is how the business and the governments tend to work.
The change starts with the individual and there are many simple steps to start creating strong boundaries. It requires to first become aware of the current situation. Notice how you interact with your word and the reactions within you. Look at what you believe. Are they beliefs that you would want to have or have you picked them up unconsciously. Do they work for you or would you like to try a different belief. Is it time to let some old beliefs go if they don't serve you any more. Notice if you have people in your life that overstep your boundaries without your permission. And the techniques they are using to do so.
Notice if you are trying to make others believe as you do and if you consider other people to be wrong if they hold different truths. Notice and acknowledge the various techniques you are using to get others to take on your truths, to do things for you that they would rather not. And respect yourself for having the courage to look at this with honesty.
Start defining who you are and the beliefs that resonate with you. Notice the beliefs of others and how they play out in their lives. Open up to new people and their ideas, you may want to apply some of them in your own life. Adjust them to your situation and make them your own, if they suit you. Walk out of the situations that you don't like. Let some people go.
Part of this process also includes redefining the meanings of most all terms and making them uniquely your own. And this can be a lot of fun.
One example could be redefining what it means to be self confident. Self confidence is a natural part of having strong boundaries. But self confidence can often be associated and confused with being overbearing and imposing. The traits of being overbearing and imposing actually show a lack of respect for other peoples boundaries. They are used with intent to step into the space of another, uninvited and with force. Having strong boundaries on the other hand, creates space and respect for self and this translates into a respect for others. Being in your own sovereign space allows space for others to also be open and honest, because there is no need to interfere with the choices that other people are making. Rather, it becomes a sharing of wisdom between people with no obligation from another to take your wisdom as their own. Being able to be truthful and authentic about your own feelings creates honest communication with others and allows others to be honest with you. It creates a new level of cooperation based on authenticity of all involved.
Redefine what cooperation and compromise mean to you. Have you been taught that compromise always involves you putting your own needs last? Is that ok with you? Or are you the one who expects the other to always give up their needs on your behalf? Asking yourself questions like this will open you up to new ways of being and relating that are much more satisfying and rewarding. You can play with this process, it doesn't have to get serious. And congratulate yourself for having the courage to honestly look into these areas.
As you become clearer, you will be able to say yes and no that are in line with who you are. And who you are keeps changing, we are not static beings. Try out new things and then let them go when their time is up.
Initially it is important to define the boundaries. To define who I am, who I am not. There is a lot of freedom in that and it feels incredibly self empowering. The enthusiasm for life flies through the roof. But once the boundaries are established and strong, they seem to disappear altogether. The identity and boundaries become fluid, expansive and changeable because the inner world has become safe and clear. And the outer world will reflect that. Much of the conflict disappears from ones life because there is no more need to convince or defend, to justify or attack.
And this is an even bigger freedom, this space of allowing yourself to be who you are and to let others hold their own truths. To respect ones own choices and those of others. To live and to let live.