Defining our boundaries is about defining our limits, healthy boundaries are important to our well being; our physical and emotional health. When boundaries are not defined or when they are breached we end up feeling drained. The lack of boundaries can be a result of many factors: conditioning from our upbringing, a fear of rejection, a well intended but misplaced desire to help another, or even guilt.
From an energetic perspective it can be the results of the sacral chakra (personal power) being deficient, a heart chakra (love and balance) being excessive and/or a deficient crown chakra presenting as someone who doesn’t think for themselves but follows another.
Physical boundaries include your personal space. These may be invaded by someone touching you uninvited, standing too close to you or even someone going through your personal belongings. Emotional boundaries have to do with defining our own thoughts and feelings and keeping them separate from those belonging to others. Examples of this would be allowing yourself to be unhappy because of someone else’s mood (codependency - an excessive heart chakra), sacrificing your own dreams or desires to make someone else happy, trying to solve someone else’s problems for them (again – codependency) or even blaming your own problems on someone else rather than owning them and therefore owning the healing process. Energetic boundaries are breached when someone takes your personal energy or when your willingly give it away.
We can address this both in the physical world and from an energetic perspective. A helpful self-assessment from Terri Cole (http://www.positivelypositive.com/2012/06/29/how-to-create-healthy-boundaries) is as follows:
HEALTHY BOUNDARIES allow you to:
· Have high self-esteem and self-respect.
· Share personal information gradually, in a mutually sharing and trusting relationship.
· Protect physical and emotional space from intrusion.
· Have an equal partnership where responsibility and power are shared.
· Be assertive. Confidently and truthfully say “yes” or “no” and be okay when others say “no” to you.
· Separate your needs, thoughts, feelings, and desires from others. Recognize that your boundaries and needs are different from others.
· Empower yourself to make healthy choices and take responsibility for yourself.
UNHEALTHY BOUNDARIES are characterized by:
· Sharing too much too soon or, at the other end of the spectrum, closing yourself off and not expressing your need and wants.
· Feeling responsible for other’s happiness.
· Inability to say “no” for fear of rejection or abandonment.
· Weak sense of your own identity. You base how you feel about yourself on how others treat you.
· Disempowerment. You allow others to make decisions for you; consequently, you feel powerless and do not take responsibility for your own life.
Tips for Setting Healthy Boundaries - (Modified from the book, Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin, by Anne Katherine)
· When you identify the need to set a boundary, do it clearly, calmly, firmly, respectfully, and in as few words as possible. Do not justify, get angry, or apologize for the boundary you are setting.
· You are not responsible for the other person’s reaction to the boundary you are setting. You are only responsible for communicating your boundary in a respectful manner. If it upset them, know it is their problem. Some people, especially those accustomed to controlling, abusing, or manipulating you, might test you. Plan on it, expect it, but remain firm. Remember, your behavior must match the boundaries you are setting. You cannot successfully establish a clear boundary if you send mixed messages by apologizing.
· At first, you will probably feel selfish, guilty, or embarrassed when you set a boundary. Do it anyway and tell yourself you have a right to self-care. Setting boundaries takes practice and determination. Don’t let anxiety or low self-esteem prevent you from taking care of yourself.
· When you feel anger or resentment or find yourself whining or complaining, you probably need to set a boundary. Listen to yourself, determine what you need to do or say, then communicate assertively.
· Learning to set healthy boundaries takes time. It is a process. Set them in your own time frame, not when someone else tells you.
· Develop a support system of people who respect your right to set boundaries. Eliminate toxic persons from your life—those who want to manipulate, abuse, and control you.
Addressing Boundaries from an Energetic Perspective:
· Be sure to put protection around yourself daily
· Keeping the human energy system – the chakras, body and aura healthy and clear will support healthy boundaries
· Pull in that heart chakra! J An excessive heart chakra sounds nice but it’s not good for us or for others. Mentally pull that heart chakra in to a healthy size. If you’re having trouble with this imagine or see a band of light around the front and back of your heart chakra like an energetic tube top and ask for angelic assistance in holding it in place (Archangel Michael is the angel of protection). Another helpful technique is to make a list of 10 things you love about yourself. Then make a list of things you can forgive yourself for. Offering love and compassion to ourselves is very helpful in maintaining a healthy heart chakra
· Practice breathwork. Air is the element of the heart chakra, breathwork is a good way to get in touch with this element
· If you have a small solar plexus chakra (third chakra) that presents as deficient personal power examine the groups you belong to and your place in them. Your home life, work life, social groups etc… Are there imbalances of power in these groups and how does that effect you? What steps can you take to correct these? Consider any unhealthy attachments you may be carrying and let them go
· If your crown chakra is deficient meditation is very helpful. Also consider reading a book or taking a class in a topic that is spiritually or intellectually stimulating