Do You Know Your Boundaries?

I felt tense. It was early in the morning. I moved around on my chair to relieve my tension. The trainer gave the instructions for the next exercise. I knew I had to say ‘no.’ What would people say about me? What if I was the only one who didn’t want to do this exercise? I wasn’t sure what would happen. I just knew I had to communicate my boundary.

The day before, I had started another training to become a coach. Full of positive anticipation, I had caught the flight from Barcelona to Belgium. That evening, we had made a new experiment to let go of a limiting belief. We were supposed to scream our new, positive belief as loud as we could. I wasn’t necessarily keen to do this, I don’t like screaming but I didn’t mind to give it a try. I left the exercise feeling weak and full of doubt. It just didn’t feel ok for me. I became aware that I really don’t like screaming and I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t know what to do with it and meditated on it to find my truth. The answer was simple – just say no to the next experiment if we had to scream.

The next exercise was even more intense. We were supposed to scream for five minutes at another person who was supposed to sit still. “Who will be the first for this exercise?” The instructor looked at the group of about 40 people full of expectation. She was the wife of the founder of the coaching school – an authority. I took a breath and spoke up, I will not to the exercise. I felt relieved. It was done. She looked at me with disapprovingly and said, Have you considered this thoroughly? If you don’t do it, you will never achieve the goal you have. I didn’t like that she pressured me. I sighed. My inner conflict between my inner voice and my anxious and adapted part started again. My goal was my greatest heart’s desire. I really wanted to accomplish it. My anxious part became afraid. What if the instructor is right? She felt tempted to change. I felt the eyes of the fellow participants staring at me. It would have been so easy and comfortable to say yes and fit in well into the group. But it just didn’t feel true to me. I chose to not give in to the pressure and took a risk. I took a deep breath and said, no, I will not do it. Though I felt like an outsider – I was the only person not doing this exercise, I was relieved. I had resisted being nice and adapted. I had followed my inner voice and respected my boundaries. Two days later, when I sat in the plane home to Barcelona, I felt a new sense of empowerment.

Healthy boundaries are essential for healthy relationships. Unfortunately, many of us have never been taught what they are and how to keep them intact, or, at least, I never had. However, learning to set them improved my relationships and my sense of well-being. Boundaries are personal. They describe what is ok for you and what is not ok for you, or what you are willing to do and not willing to do. They are deeply personal, which means that my boundaries are likely to be different to your boundaries. And that’s perfectly ok. Important is that you become aware of your boundaries, explore and and respect them. Don’t allow other people to override your boundaries. Your boundaries protect yourself from emotional harm. They also protect your dignity. Setting boundaries may not be comfortable, but it is an act of self-love and self-care.

Where are you in your journey to set healthy boundaries?

Copyright © 2017, Natalie Jovanic. All rights reserved.

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