Establishing healthy boundaries and enforcing them allows you to step confidently into your authentic self. We are breaking down our differences to cross the emotional, spiritual distances between us. Understanding language, in all of its forms, is our partnership with the world around us. This is our story, this is our journey. Along the way we will all be pushed, pulled and possibly enlightened.
Each of us is truly unique. How we relate to the world around us is unique to ourselves. It IS the individual experiences’ which give us a fuller picture, of the WHOLE. It is critical that each of us have our own thoughts and feelings, and for each of us to take responsibility for our actions.My journey through shamanism, has been one of pushing through my boundaries, and barriers, to understand my deep, true self. A lifelong journey.
Boundaries are as tangible as the Chinese wall, and as abstract as the veil between the worlds. I believe through exploring our own boundaries: emotional, physical and spiritual; we are more secure when exploring other, less tangible, boundaries.
Dogs, they love you whenever, however and even if you are not feeling very loveable. They have very close boundaries. They will awaken, jump off the bed, just to follow you to the bathroom. Cats, they love you, sometimes, maybe, yesterday was good enough right?? Cats have more distant boundaries.
As extreme as the example is, there are many types of boundaries:
- Leaky ones – sharing inappropriate information
- Absorbent ones – taking on another person’s mood or energy – spouses
- Distant boundaries – very wide boundaries – can lead to neglect or abandonment
- Close and Distant – invade a space demanding personal information, yet sharing none;
- Estranged from Life – negative nellies – rigid – unable to experience new ideas
- Too flexible – the chameleon – avid mask wearer
- Enmeshed boundaries – where does one end and one begin
These are just a few. We can have different boundaries at the same time. As an example, we have different boundaries with our closest friends than our co-workers. It is unavoidable, we are all going to feel differently about each other. It is a gift that each of us can give the other to be aware of our boundaries and work from our true authentic selves. I read once the difference between focus and mindfulness is:
- Focus is paying attention to what goes on inside the body.
- Mindfulness is paying attention to what goes on outside and around the body.
Understanding our boundaries requires both focus and mindfulness. Learning to set healthy boundaries takes time, it is a process. For me it is an ongoing process. Learning to set physical boundaries with the people in your life, helps to establish a safe place to communicate. We are imprinting our energy onto our sacred space. Establishing boundaries of personal safety.
This is a quote from the book~ Boundaries: by Anne Katherine
“Emotional boundaries define the self. Assaults to boundaries threaten the self. One’s unique self is composed of a complex of ideas, feeling, values, wishes and perspective that are duplicated by no other. Emotional boundaries protect this complex.”
What strengthens emotional boundaries? The right to say no. The freedom to say yes. Respect for feelings. Support for our personal process. Acceptance of differences. Enhancement of uniqueness. Permission for expression.
What harms emotional boundaries? Ridicule. Contempt. Derision. Sarcasm. Mockery. Scorn. Belittling feelings. Stifling communication. Insistence on conformity. Arbitrariness. The need to overpower. Heavy Judgments. Any kind of abuse. Abandonment. Threat. Insecurity.
A very important aspect of any spiritual work is removing our false masks. Masks are just another word for boundaries. With masks on, we are on one hand protected, and on another, vulnerable. Masks can be created for events; such as when we are asked to be, or expected to be, someone we are not. It can be worn when we are denying our own physical comforts such as saying “no I’m not cold”, when in fact you are. This sends an express letter to ourselves that we are not important enough to get our basic survival needs met. Masks takes on a personality of their own. Is it possible, spiritually, that we can attract like energies to the masks we create? Hmmmm… The longer we deny our true selves, the further out of touch we are with our true, authentic selves. Taking good care of ourselves is incredibly strengthening and promotes intactness.
Emotional boundaries are constantly changing. We constantly revisit, renew or release strongly held wounds. If we had been very surprised by a ghost, as a child, it may have grown into a fear of ghosts. Your true self is a medium. But you are terrified. Or reluctant – cause remember that one time. The closer we move towards uncovering our authentic self, the quicker we can challenge preconceived notions others may have of us, or better yet, preconceived notions you have of yourself.
Emotional Boundaries Within the Body.
An example: Think about how you feel when you’re around someone who drains you and upsets you, someone with whom you feel you lose yourself. How does this feel in your body? How does it feel in your mind? How does the presence of this person affect you?
Now look at the list of emotions/feelings you’ve written down. I am borrowing someone’s idea to use the image that your body is like a car, with a dashboard full of warning lights.
By identifying the emotional/feeling response just identified you have seen the “check engine light” for your personal boundary system. It’s a security system warning that your personal energy field has been breached, and you’re letting in stuff that isn’t yours.
As spiritual practitioners (although I really like the term spiritual warrior, but maybe it is too early to pull that little zinger out) we understand how important it is to pay attention to our boundaries. When our boundaries are weak, unguarded, or unclear, we let in all sorts of stuff that isn’t actually our stuff, and we give away our own personal energy – unconsciously.
That means you’re dealing with a breach of your energetic security system and a leak of your own personal energy. You’re looking at warning signs indicating that some work needs to be done, some boundaries need to be shored up, and you need to return to center. Building boundaries is like any muscle or practice—the more you work with it, the better it serves you! Healthy boundaries protect without isolating, contain without imprisoning, and preserve identity while permitting external connections. Good boundaries make good neighbors.
There are at least 100 theories on what emotions are; defining them; some of the theories are even very interesting. We are not all here to agree on what they are; indeed we probably won’t, however the exercise allowed you to consider the possibility there were differences between feelings and emotions and that each of us has a different theory. Each of us has our own perceptions and vantage points. There fore each of us FEELS our boundaries differently. We perceive what we are experiencing based on what we know. All we are doing today is delving deeper into what each one of us knows.
I hope the exercise allowed you to think of ten different emotions.
For a great article on emotions, including listing many primary and secondary emotions, check out this page!
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