by Beth Haley
Five years ago…
…I started on a journey to investigate the topic of boundaries: What are they, how do they work, and how do you clearly define them?
I started out with Armadillo Medicine. You draw a shield, and inside the shield you write everything you want to see in your life. Outside the shield you write down everything you don’t want. This was an interesting exercise but it wasn’t a key for me. There was something I was missing. I worked on it for a while, then gave up mid-journey.
A few weeks ago, I read a story in the Reading Nook called The Rabbit and the Garden, and it struck me today that I had picked up an old subject I had unfinished business with, without realizing it.
I didn’t connect the story with boundaries until yesterday when I was listening to a video called Personal Boundaries versus Oneness with Teal Swan. I started to hear the jingle of keys. Finally, the topic of boundaries started to open up for me. Food for thought.
Then I came across a podcast with the most unlikely title (to me) to have anything to do with boundaries. I pushed play with the subject of boundaries nowhere in my mind, and again: it was on boundaries. It was at this point, that I started to take notes.
I’ve always thought of boundaries as fences, walls, or armor keeping something unwanted out.
But really, boundaries are about knowing your authentic self and what is best for your life; what you like and don’t like and what choices are for your very best. It is knowing your inner voice and learning to follow it.
Following your authenticity and that genuine knowing of what is right for you, places you in the right groups, the right situations, with the right people, and in the right relationships. This is because, the more you know about yourself, the more painful it becomes to constantly be putting yourself in the wrong spaces. You’ll become aware of what the wrong choices and the right choices are for your highest happiness and health.
How do you know…
What truly works for you?
What you really want?
How you really feel?
What you really believe?
What you really need?
What direction you are being called to go in?
What purpose you have for work and life?
These are things that can’t be defined by what anyone else thinks or believes about what you should like, what you should be doing, how you should live, who you should be with, or what you should believe.
This knowing is what you learn as you spend time truly listening inwardly and in learning your responses and what those responses and reactions mean.
As an example, as I’ve watched Marie Kondo from Tidying Up on Netflix, I’ve learned to know what “yes” feels like and what “No” feels like, by considering things I want to keep and what things I need to get rid of. I love her saying, “Does it spark Joy?”
What sparks your joy?
Who sparks your joy?
“A boundary is not about resisting what you do not want.” -Teal Swan
Building walls against people, pain, the world, and intimacy is resistance. This is unhealthy. It is being shut off, closed down, and places one in a self-imposed prison, built by the belief that these walls are ways of staying safe.
Like the story of The Rabbit and the Garden by Mark Nepo, when we wall up our lives and try to keep things out, we trap things in that need to be set free. We also block things out that may need to get in, not knowing that we resisted their entrance with a wall they couldn’t penetrate.
“Healthy boundaries are not about controlling what other people can and cannot do to you, they are entirely about you personally defining and then following your individual sense of happiness, desires, and personal truth. It is a state of self-awareness, integrity, and self-love.” -Teal Swan
It’s hard to step into the things that are for your highest good, when you’re walled up and fenced in. On the other hand, learning to know what feels like a “yes” and what feels like a “no”, steers you around those things that aren’t for you, without you having to place yourself behind bars.
Walls barricade us inside. But knowing what our boundaries are, is freedom.
From Teal Swan:
“If you feel like doing something, then do it. You are not violating a boundary.
If you feel like not doing something, and you do it, you are violating a boundary.”
I’d like to dedicate this post to some amazing influences and teachers:
To Marie Kondo for helping me learn how a genuine “yes” and “no” resonates and feels like like within me.
Without knowing yourself, you don’t know what is authentically you, what boundaries are yours, what your dreams are, and what path is right for your feet. What an amazing class!