What are boundaries?
Do you ever wish you could reliably create compassionate boundaries with the people in your life? Download our popular e-book on boundary setting through the link tree in our bio for detailed, actionable tips and tricks on being confident on saying ‘no’ with love.
Setting boundaries isn’t easy! It is a valuable and integral skill in your Harmony Toolbox, and when you learn to do this confidently and compassionately, your life will change. The people in our lives deserve to know exactly where we stand and what we’re okay with. We are constantly teaching people how to treat us and that includes communicating a commitment to our own comfort- or a lack thereof. You’re not doing anyone any favors by overextending yourself or continually putting yourself in situations that are uncomfortable for you.
It’s not as hard as it seems and you’ll get better with practice.
What Are Boundaries And Are They Cruel Or Selfish?
A boundary is the mental or emotional equivalent of a line you will not cross. It’s aligned with your core values. When you establish a boundary, it communicates those boundaries to others.
But boundaries also communicate something to yourself. They let your authentic self know that you listen, you understand, and you prioritize its needs.
Over time, this can improve your self-esteem and becomes a foundational act of self-love.
Boundaries are about empowerment not about controlling others. As we seek to forge meaningful connections with people in our lives, we owe it to them to be radically authentic. We owe them honesty. In fact, being true to ourselves gives the people in our lives true agency. It offers a look at who we really are and once they see us, they can decide if their authentic self is safe and nurtured in our presence.
Boundaries actually help us find our soul tribe! They cut through so much social masking and help us all gravitate toward people who bring out the best in us.
If your boundaries challenge someone, that provides them an opportunity to understand and grow, even if they decide to move away from you at the time.
For all these reasons, boundaries aren’t just tough love, they’re true love.
How Are Boundaries A Self-Discovery Tool?
You probably know that establishing brutal but compassionate honesty in your inner dialogue is vital to your authenticity. And, we seek authenticity because it helps us be happier and fosters more harmony in our lives, right?
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try to keep it real with ourselves, we get caught up in judgment and fear which can cloud our perceptions. Additionally, our value system feels like such an integral part of ourselves, we don’t always take the time to analyze it. Shadow work, mindfulness, and developing your authentic self all require an analysis of your own value system. These three terms are pretty interchangeable, by the way.
- What are your values?
- Where do they come from?
- Are they still serving you and do they serve the authentic person you’re moving toward?
Although letting your feelings rule your life can bring you out of harmony, using your emotions as indicators can help steer you toward things that resonate with your core self.
Keeping this in mind, are you starting to see how the cognitive dissonance we feel when something challenges our value system might hold useful messages for us?
Let’s go a step further. When we feel uncomfortable around others because of their behavior, is this sensation giving us insight into our own value system? Once that happens, aren’t we naturally prompted to notice, reflect on, and analyze what’s important to us?
A healthy response to this sensation and the inner work that follows is to communicate with whoever is causing you distress.
What Are Boundaries And How Can We Communicate Them To Others
Building on the situation we’ve established, how could we communicate our boundaries effectively but with compassion?
‘I notice this makes me feel uncomfortable because it takes me out of alignment with my value system. That’s not ok with me because I value my core beliefs.’
If the person you’re communicating with is open and safe, you might pose a question now. ‘Can you ________?’ or ‘Can we compromise so we can both feel comfortable with this?’
If you don’t feel safe with this person, it’s usually best to make direct statements that clearly outline what you will and won’t accept. You may even need to provide a consequence.
‘I’m not ok with ______ and can’t ______ if you continue this way.’
These are simply some very basic examples to help illustrate how your authentic self hears boundaries (an honoring act of self-love) and how you can be firm with others without being aggressive or cruel.
For even more examples of boundary setting and situations ranging from parental relationships to romantic relationships, we recommend our Boundaries eBook.
Setting Limits And Mindfulness
Boundaries and mindfulness are utterly linked. Actualized people who honor their authentic selves practice healthy boundary setting. Achieving that level of harmony takes attention and intention, i.e. mindfulness.
Furthermore, the very act of setting a boundary requires a deliberate act that involves self-reflection. That’s a mindful practice too.
If you’re having difficulty with boundary setting, don’t hesitate to work on it while you meditate, in your journal, or even through role-play with mindful friends. This is a process and you’ll improve the more you practice. We promise!
Harmony And Mindfulness
In a real-time chick or egg situation. Does being in a state of harmony make it easier to set boundaries, or does boundary-setting create a greater state of harmony?
Good news, it’s both!
Are you seeing how this all connects like a beautiful web? Each deliberate act creates a loving environment that nurtures truth and love.
In fact, if you’re interested in placing more focus on creating a healthy, centered, authentic life, we recommend starting with plenty of assets in what we like to call your Harmony Toolbox. This is a figurative representation of all the skills and knowledge you’ve gained about mental wellness, self-care, and activating harmony in your life. We want to help you build a robust bag of wellness tips, so we’re creating all kinds of content that you can trust. To see all the eBooks, courses, and free materials we have to offer right now, visit us here.
And why not prime your body for all the wellness work you do by trying Harmonize today.
These are all pieces to the gorgeous puzzle of life and it might just be our purpose to live in total alignment with who we are so we can inspire others to do the same. Happiness and connection could be the reason we’re here.