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Boundaries Are Not What You Think

When you hear the word “boundary,” what do you think of?

You might think of a wall or some other barrier (either literal or metaphorical) that secures your personal or energetic space and keeps everyone else out.

Or you may think that a boundary is about controlling other people’s behavior, to ensure that they follow rules that have been agreed upon in the relationship.

Or you might think of a limit—specifically, the absolute limit of what you are willing to tolerate in a given relationship or situation.

Or you may think of a line where you end and other people (and their expectations) begin. 

And if you’re like a lot of people, you might think that boundaries are about saying “no” to other people, and therefore that they disconnect you from other people.

I am here to tell you that a boundary is none of those things.

A boundary is not a wall.

A boundary is not even a limit.

And a boundary is definitely not about other people.

I want to offer you a radical, life-changing, paradigm shift: 

A boundary is the energetic expression of your authentic self as it relates to honoring your needs, desires, values, and priorities.

If that sentence isn’t landing with you (don’t worry, I won’t be offended), read on.

Here are some things that are true about boundaries:

Our boundaries are in service to our needs. They are what protect and support our needs in practice.

Boundaries are 100% about you and your needs, wants, desires, values, and priorities… and 0% about other people or their behavior.

Boundaries are about saying “yes” to something true, authentic, and alive within you.

Boundaries are emergent. They emerge naturally as an expression of inner truth and are ever-changing as our needs and circumstances change.

Boundaries are the container of trust in which connection and intimacy (across all types of relationships) occur joyfully and consensually. 

Honoring our own boundaries is an essential aspect of respecting, trusting, and partnering with ourselves.

When we override our own boundaries—which may look like ignoring or not attending to our fundamental needs (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, etc…), or acting against our own values or priorities—is when we get burnt out. 

And finally, importantly…

Burnout cannot happen when we are in integrity with our boundaries.

In other words, if you’re feeling overworked, overwhelmed, exhausted, and/or burnt out, there’s a boundary issue at play.

We’ll be digging into all this and more during Boundaries for Burnout: Four Weeks to Becoming More Resourced & Resilient as part of my Self-Care Summer Programming. I hope you’ll join us!

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