Where do your boundaries lie?
Are you aware of them?
And most importantly, do you honour them?
When I arrived in Haarlem, Netherlands a few days ago to visit a wonderful, enigmatic woman whom I met in India 4 years earlier, we very quickly fell into a deep and comfortable conversation around all things important, life, self love and acceptance, trusting your inner wisdom and of course relationships of all kinds.
At some point I asked Linda how she would explain how to recognise and set boundaries in life, especially the ones where you have to say “no” or “this isn’t right for me” to people that you love and care about.
She very simply and beautifully explained that boundaries are when you no longer feel comfortable or good in a situation. When the feeling of discomfort starts creeping into your experience, it’s a sign that in this moment, right now, this place, person or situation is no longer serving you. That it’s time to change your experience.
Knowing and honouring your boundaries is inherent to loving yourself and respecting your own needs and feelings on a day to day basis. It’s about putting yourself first and making space for your needs to be met rather than simply meeting the needs and expectations of those around you.
Saying “no” and “this isn’t for me” can be very challenging for all of us when we have to state our boundaries to someone we love. In loving ourselves we also care about how those around us feel.
Here is the key factor however. When the person responds with love and understanding that this is how you feel in the moment and accepts your decision without violation, you know that your relationship with them is a healthy, loving and supportive one.
If they respond with resistance, anger or some kind of negative remarks, remember that this response is about them, and not about you. Accepting others comes from accepting the self first, and clearly the loved one has some work to do on themselves.
Remain calm, loving and firm that this is what you have to do for yourself and that your love and care for them is in no way diminished by your saying no and respecting your own boundaries. Maybe not at the time, but later they will come to love and respect you for standing your ground and may even learn to love themselves more through your example.