“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack which they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behaviours or a choice.” – Brené Brown, The Gift of Imperfection
Contrary to popular beliefs, boundaries are not hare borders nor fences. We tend to put them up before anyone even threatens them; our fight or flight systems are perpetually firing pumping out harmful cortisol in our bodies. We use any transgression to show our strength and power to those around us. These perspectives result in the perpetuation of anger, hate, power, division, etc. As with many other of these aspects of humanity we act from our experiences with our external world, whereas we experience the world from outside our body, not from a self-reflective perspective. We insist on viewing our experiences as opportunities to learn about our our environment and people around us, not to learn about the only consistent factor in all our experiences; ourselves! They are not tripwires for us to react to, but rather opportunities to observe and learn about ourselves.
Boundary work is an ongoing practice and requires patience and trust to succeed. Your boundaries are fluid and dynamic and change with every moment and experience you have. They depend on every conceivable element that you or anybody you interact bring along to the experience. It is far complex for us to work out for ourselves how to modulate our boundaries in any given moment. Only your work on your own baggage will determine how well you modulate your boundaries. How you react to your boundaries being violated are measurements on your ability to remain mindful and present in your moments. How do you respond to your boundaries being crossed? Do these reactions serve you?
We can maintain our boundaries and still act compassionately. Communicating your boundaries authentically from your space of compassion is all you need to do. Others can then choose to respect or violate our boundaries; this is out of our control. We can only control our thoughts, our words and our actions. When we don’t trust our boundaries, or rather that we know where our boundaries are, we go into fear mode and start operating from our core wounding and conditioning. The work we do on ourselves will reward us with increased trust. The more we respect and love ourselves, the better we will know ourselves, and, thus, the more we will trust ourselves.
Know thyself and you shall know your boundaries. Good luck with your work.