Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Simple Truth About Healthy Boundaries: They're Softer Than You Think

Boundaries can seem illusive. Other times it can feel like they have to be hard and harsh. Maybe not so much.

We're talking about emotional boundaries, as well as boundaries on our time and energy.

One of my clients gave me permission to share this revelation: she said that the term "boundaries" brought visions of a high chain linked fence - electrified - with razor-sharp barbed wire on the top. If you want to extend the metaphor, there might even be some verbal machine gun emplacements.

OK, let's step back a little bit. My experience has shown that the most important boundaries are the emotional ones. And the metaphor that came to mind is two bodies of water.

Think of them as yours and "theirs," one colored blue and one orange. The boundary can be as thin as a membrane that keeps them separate.

Because when the boundary is gone, they mix, the color will be brown, and the source and experience of each is lost.

If we maintain our boundaries, we can observe and even appreciate the others' thoughts, emotions, experiences without feeling the need to take them on as our own.

Freedom. Freedom to be ourselves, freedom from a false sense of obligation, freedom from feeling responsible for someone's experience.

Boundaries = freedom. Not exactly the image of an electric chain-link fence.

When we want to set boundaries, heavy artillery is not required. Only awareness and resolve.

To your freedom!


No comments: