Boundaries are the foundation for trust in yourself and thereby trust in others and life. Effective ones come from an honest awareness of yourself. We’ll start by exploring what that is.
An honest awareness of yourself is acknowledging:
what you like, what you value,how you feel, what you want, and what’s right for you right now.
what you *think* those things should be, what they are for you partner, mom, neighbor, or boss, what they useta be or might be later, or even use what you *think* they need to be for your lovers ‘n friends.
Our culture trains people away from that honest awareness. We’re led to believe there’s a ‘right’ way to think, be, feel, or do that’s different than what we’d do naturally. Our schools, media, and language quietly encourage us to stifle our real selves and front the ‘right’ thing instead.
Don’t worry, you can find and cultivate the awareness of yourself again with practice. It looks like these kinds of habits: taking a pause before you order the same lunch again and sincerely asking yourself what you’re hungry for today.
You can’t have real boundaries unless you know yourself. What would you be advocating for if you didn’t? An honest awareness of yourself tells you what you want to share, ask, and protect and why. It identifies what you need to function and what you want to feel satisfied. Knowing that creates the desire and ability to communicate it when necessary. That communication makes it possible to authentically connect and effectively collaborate.
Letting yourself hear and see yourself drastically improves your ability to interface with everything. It’s the first step in establishing boundaries.
Boundaries honor yourself. Not who you think you should be, not who you’ll one day become, not who your dad needs you to be. You. You right now. You with all the contradictory ways you think and feel. The genius and dreams within you. The strange or unproductive choices you make. The love in your heart. The embarrassing inner struggles, missing clarity, and general overwhelm. The gifts, experiences, questions, answers, pains, pleasures. You without a bit excluded.
Honoring allll those might seem like the worst thing to do. One because, oh sh!t, you’ll have to acknowledge them as part of yourself. Two because, oh sh!t, wouldn’t you rather be ‘better’ than that? Shouldn’t we start with who you could be? Nope. This is where we start because that’s self-respect. Boundaries usually make us think of other people respecting us, but they’re actually how we respect ourselves.
Our selves are not the cookie-cutter, paper doll, instagram-filtered versions we think they should be. Our selves have varying degrees of complexity, depth, discord, and mystery. The only way to bring those pieces into harmony and working order is to see, accept, and love them as they are. You can’t chop off your shadow. You can’t delegate your pain. You can’t live anyone else’s story. You’re you. You with the pieces you love, like, hate, hide, deny, and project.
Real, true, healthy boundaries start when you begin to accept you’re not going to be nor would you want to be the ‘front’ you think you should. Self-respect begins with saying, “Hey, you. You with the shiny parts, gray areas, and dark shadows. It’s great to meet you. I’m looking forward to becoming good friends and doing this thing together.”
It’s only by valuing your whole self that you can create a life that fits. You have to take the mixed bag because, let’s be real, what choice do you have? You can’t go anywhere without you. And to be real’er, you wouldn’t want to leave anything out. Your angels and demons are two sides of the same coin. Can’t have one without the other. No, I’m not saying those rough and heavy pieces will always be that way. I’m saying you gotta love ’em to transform them to something higher.
I bet you didn’t think we’d be here in our boundaries conversation. Went a lil deep, didn’t we? This is how I found to home-grow ones that are natural and easy to have and maintain. Loving and respecting yourself make honoring what you need and want mind-blowingly obvious. Boundaries reinforce lines that matter because You do.
Boundaries are inside first and foremost. They establish gardens where you can tend to your heart, mind, soul, and ability to be in relationships. It’s cute, I know, but it’s the truth. Boundaries exist to allow you to cultivate yourself and your life in a way that’s meaningful to you.
Boundaries emerge from an honest awareness of self. You won’t tend to a garden about authentic communication unless you acknowledge that it’s hard for you to give and receive it. You can’t allocate resources for music until you accept that you feel better about life when you’re making it. You aren’t going to let that old relationship fade except for when you see that it’s preventing a new one, which you admitted is important to you.
Being so-honest-with-yourself-it’s-funny is essential to boundary’izing your inner world well. That means being open to hearing who and what you like, even if it seems inconvenient at first. There’s no way you can use boundaries with other people until you see and respect your personal experience. Don’t worry, after you get done laughing about who and what you’re surprised you actually don't like, it doesn’t mean you have to do anything. Those changes come naturally over time. For now, just take yourself by the hand, bring you out to where you can see you, and let things be what they are.
The meaningful gardens and the this-is-how-it-really-is info create a possibility for you to love yourself. That means you can BEGIN to take care of yourself as you are, warts, tiaras, and all. This is self-respect. Through this process, you begin to see life with less fear and more clarity. All of that adds up to better decision-making and a belief that you can do new things, hard things, and anything’s.
Wahlah! Now your boundaries are complete. …huh? I know, we didn’t talk about about how to tell mom you aren’t coming to Christmas or that you need your boss to delegate differently. I didn’t tell you how to control your spending or follow your dreams. There’s not one bit about anybody else up there for one simple reason -- once you learn how to see, respect, and love yourself as you are, things get pretty simple.
You come to more readily know what’s right for you and have a growing desire to communicate and act accordingly. No, it’s not instantaneous. Yes, you’ll stumble. Still, it only takes a few success stories to start to believe in yourself in new, powerful ways. Your relationship with everything changes because your relationship with yourself is healthier. Boundaries are a natural expression of self-love and self-respect.
You probably wouldn’t have believed that acknowledging you don’t really like Aunt Paula, you love karaoke, or you need more sleep would translate to being able to tell your partner you need to off-load that project, your lover you want to cuddle more, or your dad you already heard that story. Still, the only person that needs to respect you and your boundaries is yourself. Now you have a pathway to real change. My intention in this article was to assist you in healing the root cause of non-existent or poor boundaries.
Welcome home ❤
My own healing journey, intense desire to help, and divine guidance brought me to the topic of boundaries. I’ve worked with clients since 2016 to organize their minds and habits, transcend limiting beliefs, and break frustrating patterns. If you’d like more information about what working together is like, book a free info call at http://habitbook.com/