Do you want to say NO but you don’t feel able to, or if you do, you feel guilty? Setting personal Boundaries can help you to overcome blocks like this.
“Your personal boundaries protect the inner core of your identity and your right to choices.”
― Gerard Manley Hopkins
Imagine for a moment that you are looking through a microscope and you are seeing some tiny cells moving around in a liquid. You can distinguish one cell from another because each one has a very well defined limit: a membrane (the outer skin of the cell).
For a cell, its membrane is its Boundary.
If the membrane of a cell is punctured, the cell is badly damaged or ceases to exist.
On a human level, if our Boundaries are badly damaged our sense of identity, freedom, needs and wants, are badly affected too.
Some Signs When Boundaries Need Adjustment
Bellow you have a list of issues when Boundaries need adjustment:
- Great difficulty to say NO
- Saying NO and feeling guilty afterwards
- Acting but not taking into account your personal values or integrity
- Feeling responsible for other’s emotions
- Avoids speaking up when has something to say
- Believes that happiness depends on destiny or others
- Avoids intimate relationships
- Often neglects personal needs (food, rest…)
- In order to be accepted easily adopts another person’s beliefs or ideas
- Very difficult to call out someone who mistreats you
- Accepting to be physically touched or have sex when you don’t really want it
- Easily accommodates other person’s immediate needs and wants
- Have difficulty asking for what you want or need
- Allows to be interrupted or distracted by others
- Gives unsolicited explanations and to much of one’s self in order to be perceived as useful
- Difficult to set and communicate emotional needs even in the closest relationships. Takes care of others’ needs, but not your own
- Feeling personally involved in someone’s difficulties or problems
- Allows people to say things to you or in front of you that makes you feel uncomfortable
- Gives great importance to what others think, reaching the point of dismissing your own intuitions, thoughts and opinions. Others’ opinions are more important than your own
- Very difficult or even inability to make decisions
- Feel anxious or afraid, and not really sure what you feel
- Take on moods or emotions of others around you
- Overly sensitive to criticism
“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated.”
― Brené Brown
Wide Open or Closed Boundaries?
Boundaries happen in a continuum, ranging from wide open to totally closed Boundaries. The consequences are different in each case. Let’s first approach the wide open Boundaries.
Wide Open Boundaries
Having wide open Boundaries can be the result of early traumatic abuse, which in turn leads the severe damage of self identity.
Ideological indoctrination also leads to wide open Boundaries, specially where one believes that the individual (himself or herself) is of lesser importance than “being one with God/Universe” or that “we are all one”.
Wide open Boundaries leaves you more receptive and accommodating to external influences and less able to be critical of those.
On the other hand, wide open Boundaries can allow you to attain mystical or fusional states of pure bliss and ecstasy, either on the spiritual (for instance Trance) or carnal levels (for instance Tantra).
Also, wide open Boundaries equate with low grounding (earthing) and the dismissal of physical level issues, like handling money, everyday routines, self care, assertiveness, objectivity and responsibilities.
Wide open Boundaries let everything come in. There is no precise scrutiny or in depth judgment of what is coming in. People with wide open Boundaries become desensitized to potentially harmful situation such as toxic relationships or dangerous situations (thus repeating the pattern unconsciously).
Having closed Boundaries can also be the result of early traumatic abase. Here the defense mechanism switches the Boundaries to become impervious and always on alert mode on, a hyper sensitive state to any slight sign of potential danger (living in worry, doubt, and fear).
A mindset of distrust, avoiding human interaction, prioritizing independence and critical thinking, might enforce closed Boundaries.
Closed Boundaries leaves you more able to analyze, reflect or even criticize external influences, circumstances or people, without constraints. Closed Boundaries facilitate a “down to earth” approach to things and issues, making it ease to handle routines and money, being assertive, objective, assuming responsibilities and being focused.
On the other hand close Boundaries can lead you to isolation, lack of social contacts and relationships, less able to be open to new ideas, suggestions, and opportunities. In general, to be less open to have fun and joy in life.
Having close Boundaries leads people to exaggerated deep analysis, judgments and scrutiny on what life is presenting and offering you, resulting in a most likely rejection of those. Close Boundaries can protect you from harmful situations and relationships, but it can also deprive you of amazing opportunities.
Boundaries and Spiritual Development and Awakening
As you progress in your spiritual development and awakening process, it is likely for your Boundaries to become more open. Being more open means that you are able to let in and accommodate more people in your heart with less judgement. This will allow more of the “good” to come in but also more of the “not so good”.
Just because you are threading a spiritual path that doesn’t mean you will be rewarded or that suddenly things in your life will turn into sunshine, puppy dogs and rainbows.
Having open Boundaries will lead to a more intense experience of the everyday life as you profit from the “good” that comes to you but also from the “not so good” that is shown to you to be dealt with or resolved.
Which is Best: Open or Closed Boundaries?
We saw the consequences of having open and closed Boundaries. Both have positive aspects and downsides. So, what would be best? The straightforward answer is both: having flexible Boundaries.
Having flexible Boundaries is the best option, as you can adapt your Boundaries to different situations in your life, depending on your needs.
Imagine that you are in exploring spiritual Oneness, deep love, mystical states, or Tantric sex with your partner. If you are not able to bring your Boundaries to wide open state, it will be very difficult for you to connect on a very profound spiritual level and have an amazing experience, even breakthrough.
On the other hand, you will need close Boundaries if you go about planning, organizing, and managing money in a more effective way in your life (even washing the dishes). Other aspects that benefit from closed Boundaries are: routines, being respected, accountability, and reliability.
Flexible Boundaries Please
The main issue when changing Boundaries into flexible Boundaries is twofold:
- Boundaries tend to stay in default mode created by previous past experiences (love, abuse, trauma, expectations, etc.)
- Most people are unaware of their own Boundaries as they function on automatic mode
To alter your Boundaries default mode you need to engage in new life experiences, psychotherapy, bodywork, or psycho-energetic guided meditations. By engaging in this type of work, you will become more and more aware of your Boundaries and their state.
The following step is to start managing your Boundaries. You can change your Boundaries default mode by focusing your attention and using simple visualization techniques.
Flexible Boundaries Will Help You
It is of primordial importance to be aware, set and manage your Boundaries in order to:
- Be conscious of your own freedom and personal rights
- Start and maintain healthy relationships
- Foster your harmonious spiritual development
- Feeling safe, secure and protected
- Find your Personal Path
- Emotional health
“Setting boundaries is a way of caring for myself. It doesn’t make me mean, selfish, or uncaring (just) because I don’t do things your way. I care about me, too.”
― Christine Morgan
Read the second part of the article by clicking on the link How to Set Healthy and Flexible Boundaries – Part 2