Sacred boundaries … do you have them, and do you honour them?
Do you often find yourself feeling resentful when you look at your schedule, and it occurs to you that:
a) you’re either doing way too much in general,
or, b) you’re committed to things you never wanted to be doing in the first place?
Or, do you feel like people are constantly taking all your energy … and you just can’t seem to put a stop to it?
As an (almost) recovered people pleaser, I have learnt the boundary lesson time after time after time.
Committing myself in advance even though it felt intuitively wrong to let that yes fall out of my mouth … and then deeply regretting it.
Giving from (and beyond) my precious energy on the internet, through emails, through phone calls … and then deeply regretting it.
Letting people take advantage of me because I didn’t feel I could say no … and then deeply regretting it.
It has taken me my lifetime thus far, to truly realise how truly important it is, to honour my intuitive guidance when it comes to committing my precious resources – which includes time, energy, love, money, expertise, and whatever else I so willingly extend to others.
The thing is, I deeply understand that I am only one person.
I am only one person – and I have very valid needs as well, just like any other person.
I am only one person – with 24 hours in the day, just like everybody else.
I am only one person – and I don’t have a never ending well of energy, for other people to draw from, whenever they feel like it.
The boundaries lesson was ramped up for me when I started to have a little bit of an online presence with my business.
All of a sudden – people who I had never met, could email me (or, message me on social media!) with their entire health history, asking ‘what should I do’, as though I could help them in a facebook message (obviously, this is different from people who email with the intent to book a consultation!). All of a sudden, I had clients texting me between consults to ask what I thought about the latest health trend that had made its way into the media. All of a sudden, I found that I was a constant source of information for a LOT of people. All of a sudden, I found that I was never disconnected from the world!
I don’t think it’s normal to be energetically available to people 24/7 – but this is what technology has done, and this is what I experienced.
Everyone can access you – all of the time. Somehow, in some way, they honestly can. So when I had my business stuff being thrown in on top of my personal life, I felt like I was constantly being totally over-available to people – to everyone! – and it took it’s toll.
(Please don’t get me wrong – I absolutely LOVE my business, I love that I can reach people online, and I love, love, love when people drop me comments, emails and messages to say that something has resonated, to share an insight or story from their own experience, or to offer another perspective. What I don’t love, though, is when people think I can offer them personalised health and life advice in a facebook or instagram message. I offer so much for free online, every single day of the week. If I am consulting for free, too, I would never be able to make a living, and I would have to quit my business!).
Early 2017, when I found myself really struggling to get out of bed and walk up the stairs in my house each morning, I knew I had to work on this very important area of my life.
So, one by one, I peeled back the layers of my over-availability.
I had to explore exactly WHY I felt that I needed to be so available. Underneath it all, was a deep fear that if I didn’t continue to give, give, give … then people ‘wouldn’t like me’, wouldn’t want to work with me, blah blah blah … you get the picture! A whole bunch of lies based on inadequacy was fuelling my people pleasing, energy depleting ways.
Suffice to say, 2017 was truly a year of getting slammed with the boundary lesson – time after freaking time! – and eventually getting so fed up, that I entered 2018 with an extremely strong resolve to make change.
I am glad to say, I have made change. The amount of boundaries I have created (and honoured) for myself, even just in the last 12 months, has been life altering. I have my energy back. I have my space back. I feel like I can breathe again. And … I don’t feel guilty for any of it anymore.
Was it easy? No.
Honouring yourself often isn’t easy, because it usually means that other people don’t get what they want from you. Cue, guilt. But, I’ve learnt that guilt is a futile emotion. It serves no one. And I don’t have time to feel guilty for trying to be the healthiest and most fulfilled version of myself, anymore!
Instead of being over-available to everyone, ALL of the time, try this:
Every time a request for your energy and resources comes your way, listen to your instant, innate, intuitive hunch.
It IS there. You will instantly know whether something feels resonant to you … or not! If it feels resonant, it will feel expansive, light, and free. It won’t feel oppressive, overwhelming, or like a burden.
It is THAT SIMPLE. Truly.
We could save ourselves soooo much angst, if we listened in to the inner wisdom and guidance that is always present.
For me, I do this with everything. When the phone rings. When a text message comes in. When someone wants to catch up. When interstate visitors want to come and stay. When people email me. When I receive an invitation in the mail. Every single thing – I tune in to my intuition. If something doesn’t serve me in the moment, I will put it off until a time when it does serve me.
Because, while I would LOVE to be able to be everything to everyone, I just know that I can’t. I don’t want to be ‘adrenal fatigue Beth’ anymore. I want to be ‘healthy, happy, content, well-rested, fulfilled Beth’. And that’s where sacred boundaries come in.
Please know, I have been called selfish for having boundaries. But like I said to one reader who commented on a social media post the other day, asking how I cope with people in my life not supporting me putting myself first: I don’t care anymore. I don’t care, because I know that if I do not honour my own needs first, then I am useless to everyone. I am a useless, crying, exhausted, fatigued, PMS-ing mess. And there is more to life that that.
And to finish up, here’s what I know for sure about boundaries:
It’s generally no one else’s fault when our boundaries get crossed.
Usually, it’s just us, not being willing to declare what we need, and honour it.
When my boundaries get crossed? I take responsibility from that. I learn from it. I take the opportunity to clarify – yet again – what the boundary needs to be. And then I go ahead and do better next time.
You don’t need to feel guilty for having sacred boundaries for your time, energy, love, money and other resources.
And please, amazing woman, always remember that YOU are equally as deserving of these things, as anyone else in your life is.
All love –
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Naturopath / Women’s Life Coach // Melbourne, Australia / Skype
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I work as a Naturopath + Life Coach in Melbourne, Australia, and via Skype.
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