How finding your edges is your path to FREEDOM.
I am an empath. This means that I feel others’ stuff. I feel it like it’s my own. I feel their pain; I feel their joy; I feel their anger; I feel their heartache. I feel their stomachache; I feel their anxiety; I feel their panic attack.
The space between me and another is hard for me to understand. As such, finding where I end and another begins has been a lifelong challenge for me. Where the heck are my boundaries?
(And it’s not just we empaths who struggle to find their edges. Those who have experienced situations which result in trauma do as well. For these individuals, an initial denial and repeated denial of feeling their real emotions causes a disconnect in mind and body, thereby producing difficulties with making beneficial boundaries.)
Everything I experience hits me deep, raw, and intense. As an empath, I feel the energy of myself and others. As I age, this ability only grows deeper and stranger.Sebastian McNutt III
Yep. Just turned 56 and this describes me to the tee. As such, doing my best to feel into my boundaries and then lay them down is challenging. Hard but vital. Vital for the sake of my relationship with myself and my relationships with others.
When people set boundaries with you, it is their attempt to continue to relationship with you. It’s not an attempt to hurt you.Elizabeth Earnshaw
Because I am so sensitive, there’s been this underlying guilt for drawing a line in the sand between myself and others. Like, if I loved them unconditionally, I wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t say, “this is me and this is you and you stay over there and I’ll maintain my energies over here.” Like, only somewhat hateful and selfish would do something like that, right? ;-/
As empaths, we are not here to be sponges or enablers. We are here to be helpers, guides, and supporters.Aletheia Luna
It dawned within me that creating boundaries was supportive of both my journey and others’ journeys, and that finding my space and kindly protecting it was enabling others to do the same. I allowed myself to entertain the thought of being both compassionate and curious about where I end and another begins… and then gave myself permission to create a safe space between us — call it a boundary — where we may meet. Kinda like a fence over which two neighbors meet over their morning cup of joe, conversing about the latest goings-on around town.
Honoring another means allowing them to let you know where you are allowed to meet them… and then meeting them there.Lisa Augustine Glasier
During a coaching session, my client and I were discussing boundaries. She too had experienced a distaste for them, believing that boundaries were for bitches… or for those too selfish to share themselves. Upon asking her what a boundary would look like to her, she shrugged.
Her: “I would have no idea… a blazing fire, perhaps? so high that another couldn’t get close enough to hurt me? or maybe a wall, so high that another couldn’t scale it and surprise me?”
Me: “Possibly. Someone with this boundary must be awfully afraid that she was at risk of being hurt, would you agree?”
Her: “Yes. But don’t boundaries have to keep the bad guys out?”
Me: “This is one perspective. Boundaries are for our safety. Sure. But boundaries can serve another purpose as well. They could let others know how we prefer to be treated. Less active protection, aggressive and assuming the others have ill intentions, and more teaching, open-hearted and open-minded. Kinda like, I am here to let you know that I am open to a conversation, but only in this space here. And I want you to feel at ease at my borders.”
Her: “Hmmmm. Less fending off and fencing off… and more directing and educational… kinda like a map. Here’s where you are and here’s where I am. I’m not pissed off at you when I tell you that this is my space and you’re not allowed in or on it until I give you permission. I’m just informing you that this is where I feel most comfortable to engage with you.”
Her: “This feels better to me. My body doesn’t feel so defensive.”
Me: “Nice! Question: what would that boundary look like for you now?”
Her: “Uhm, I’m still not sure.”
Me: “That’s okay! May I share what mine looks like to me?”
Her: “Yes, please.”
Me: “Wildflowers. A beautiful array of lovely smelling flowers. Some days, it’s a large field, as far as the eye can see. Not a soul in sight. Those are my more sensitive days. Some days, it’s just a strip, and I can easily see the next person through the bright, happy colors of alfalfa, orchids, and anemone.”
Her: “Oh, I like that!”
Me: “Me too. Makes me feel more peaceful than the large moat and drawbridge I used to contain myself within. I actually feel more safe among my wildflowers than within the castle I’d created.”
Her: “Hmmmm. Lots to ponder.”
Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.Brene Brown
How about you? Have you ever thought about your edges? others’ edges? How would you describe your boundaries?
As an Holistic Wellness and Empowerment Coach, I am here to guide you every step of the way on your journey. Appointments available here.
P.S. Check out my Wildflowers On The Path journal series, 30-day prompted journal, Self-Love For The Modern Mystic… an exploration of Love and the empowerment of Self-Love for sale here. 🙂