“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others. We can't base our own worthiness on others' approval. Only when we believe, deep down, that we are enough can we say "Enough!" - Brene Brown
This month’s Soul Sanctuary theme is such a wonderful and important one in our everyday life - boundaries. It is dedicated to learning about the boundaries which you have already implemented and those which you wish to create and set. It is about becoming aware of which boundaries you need to put in place and when, to protect your energy as well as those you might already have in place that are no longer serving you or limiting you.
So what is a boundary? A boundary is a limit you can set on what you will accept of another person’s words or actions as well as what you will accept of your own relationship with yourself.
“Boundary setting helps you prioritize your needs over other people’s wants” - Lauren Kenson
Healthy boundaries help you not to assume responsibility for other people’s feelings and problems whilst internal boundaries can help you manage negative thoughts and feelings that empower you, as does the ability to follow through on goals and commitments to yourself.
There are several areas in our lives where we can start to explore our boundaries:
Physical - personal space, privacy and our body.
Emotional - separating your emotions and responsibility for them from someone else's
Mental - apply to your thoughts, values and opinions
Spiritual - relate to your beliefs and experiences
Intimate - protect your comfort level intimately
Material - determine whether you give or lend things
As an exercise, take the time this week to reflect on areas in your life where you could set healthy boundaries to protect your energy. You could do this during your meditation or whilst journaling. Below are a few journal prompts to help you. Remember that saying ‘no’ is ok. Many times we feel the pressure or guilt to say yes to things or to people, or to over extend our generosity and we end up running on empty. We need the time and space to refill our own tanks and to rejuvenate in order to help ourselves and help others.
During your reflection or journaling, it is also worth considering where you may have set a boundary at some point and from having it in place for so long it has become a habit, or you have built up fear. A prime example of this is off the back of a relationship breakdown. You may have set a boundary after a breakup to give yourself time and space from dating or looking for another relationship to work through your own self care and pain. You may be at a point now where you have worked through this and still have the boundary in place to avoid dating so as not to get hurt again, but if you don’t release this boundary you will stay in a place of fear instead of openness and block the opportunity to meet that special someone. In these situations we need to release the hold of the boundary in place and work on love, abundance, law of attraction, our inner trust and intuition.
Which boundaries do you have in place and are they serving you?
When could you practice saying ‘no thanks’ to protect your energy?
What habits or routines limit your experience of life?
When are you most exhausted and in need of limits with others?
What are your biggest fears surrounding setting boundaries?
Are you taking too much responsibility for the emotional well-being of another? Are you taking on their journey at the expense of my own, and if so, why?
Which people in your life make you feel unhappy or insecure?
Another area in our life that boundaries apply is on our mat.
Most of us come to yoga to find a good full body stretch and off the back of this are wonderfully surprised at the depths of teachings yoga has to offer, not only physically but mentally, emotionally and holistically.
As we dedicate more time to our practice, we unblock our energy channels (chakras and meridians), we create more openness in our bodies, more awareness in our minds and learn to channel our breath. Many would say they experience an awakening when they start practicing yoga.
We learn quite quickly to listen to our bodies and we also start to become aware of our thoughts, our ego (our shadow self) and our emotions connected to these moments. It’s within these pivotal moments during practice, where we want to push ourselves more than we are maybe prepared for, or our intuition is telling us too, that our ego comes into play.
This is actually the perfect opportunity to honour our boundaries. All yogis, beginners through to advanced, need a reminder to honour boundaries every single time we step on to our mat.
Yoga is called a practice! There is no perfect pose or perfect yogi. Each time you step on your mat it is the opportunity for you to tune into your body, mind and soul within your own limits, no one else’s.
Learning about your own boundaries will lead you to more freedom; the freedom to respect and love yourself first.
The key question you can always come back to is: Am I doing this for me? If not, how do I preserve my energy?