I recently had a client come to a session who wanted to learn how to deal with other people. Her whole life, she had been making sure other people weren’t mad, or she herself was mad at people but was not telling them. She was angry and she didn’t know how to deal with it. We had been working together a few weeks and knew that there were some younger parts of herself that were involved, but she didn’t know what to do. This is common for some of my clients, that they don’t realize that the anger they are feeling is actually a signal that a boundary is being crossed or ignored. And that’s what I want to talk about today. Boundaries.
Boundaries are a big buzz word in coaching and therapy circles that we need to have good boundaries. Brene Brown talks about boundaries as simply what’s ok and what’s not OK. Most of us don’t set boundaries, and then we are angry and resentful or feel hopeless. We worry more about what people will think and we want everyone to like us. So when someone asks us to take on that one more project, or stay late at work, or even if it is our kids pushing our parental boundaries of what is ok and what’s not ok, we get to a point where we get resentful, angry- or the phrase I like is an “exploding doormat”.
We take it and take it, say yes to all the things other people want us to do, but don’t actually do what WE want to do, or take care of our our own emotional needs.
Boundaries and the 5 Wellness Bodies
If we aren’t setting boundaries in each of the wellness bodies, we can begin to feel not only resentful and angry, but also stuck.
As a reminder, the 5 energetic bodies are the physical, emotional, mental, energetic and spiritual bodies. These all influence our health, wellness, and well-being. When one of the wellness bodies isn’t in alignment or isn’t cared for, then it starts to influence how we feel. We’ve already described the emotional wellness body boundaries: noticing how you are feeling and saying no when you can’t take on one more thing, or speaking what is ok for you to another. This is taking care of your emotional boundaries: saying “This is ok for my emotional body, this is not ok for my emotional body. “
We can also have boundaries on our thoughts, or part of the Mental wellness body. The things that we are thinking everyday become the self-conscious soundtrack to our lives. If you are thinking how horrible everything is, and how it will never get better, those lay the foundation to the day and also to your tomorrow. So setting boundaries for the thoughts you have can be important too.
The first step in this is practicing being the watcher and noticing what thoughts are present without judgment. This could be through journaling, keeping an Excel file, or just jotting them down in Evernote. When you begin to get to know the thoughts are, you can get a sense of the mental landscape.
Then, you can begin to check in with how the thoughts FEEL in the body. If they feel heavy, that is a sign that you might want a boundary with that particular thought. You can find a better feeling thought that actually feels lighter in your body. Changing a thought from “it will never get better” to “I’m learning to try new ways to make it better” is an example of setting a mental boundary.
Physically boundaries can vary depending on what aspect of the physical body, so I’m going to focus on the concept of taking care and nurturing you physical body with food, movement and sleep. Often we stay up too late, which means we skip exercise in the morning, or eat at the place that doesn’t have a gluten-free option, or reach for comfort food. All of these are examples of us not holding our own boundaries for the physical wellness body.
I’ve mentioned before the boundary that is really challenging for me is the bedtime boundary. I get so excited about the kids going to sleep and the house is quiet that I stay up doing what I want to do. Setting better boundaries during the day can be helpful. I know I need nourishing food, quiet time, time in the woods to move my body. This physical wellness body boundary is an important skill to grow if you are trying to change your energy level. The questions I often encourage my clients and students to use is “What would love do?” and use that as a boundary reinforcing question. Remember that it’s not about forcing or willpower, it’s about loving yourself.
When we talk about the energetic wellness body, I’m always going to preface it that this is very different from what we typically talk about in well-being circles. We all have an energy signature and as we walk around in the world, we have our own energy, but we also encounter everyone else’s energy. We head off to work and we are hanging out with all those other energy bodies, or we go to the grocery store, or even in the house with our own families.
Energetic boundaries are the way that we create the much needed separation between ourselves and others. Without good boundaries, we can accidentally pick up on other people’s energy or other people who would like to take our energy can create cords that attach to us, and siphon off our energy. That can lead to us feeling drained and stuck.
Even if you are saying no as we discussed, if you haven’t learned how to maintain your energetic boundaries, you could feel drained and stuck. You might feel angry and resentful too, but usually, there is more of an emptiness or stagnation that follows. The good news is there a way to create good energy boundary maintenance, and to create an energetic boundary that doesn’t let other energy in. There are many techniques to do this, and I offer one to my clients that I’ve found particularly beneficial. Also there are ways to clear the energetic cords that are attached to us, or that we attach to others.
The spiritual wellness body also has boundaries similar to the energetic body. It’s not something that we talk about in mainstream. We can have boundaries with spirits or guides in the same way we do with people in the 3-D form. We can say no to spirits waking us up at night. We are sovereign beings who have a right to our own lives and our own decisions. We can ask for help and support if we want it, but we can also not ask.
Compassionate and loving spirits of the light won’t help unless you ask. they know. Intention can be a powerful boundary in the spirit world. “I ask for support and assistance in drawing to me the resources necessary to support my family.” or A boundary can be “I no longer will allow spirit guides into my house at after dark” The intention and the worded stated of what is ok, and what is not ok is a powerful way to set boundaries. Know what you need. Feel it in your body.
So there you have how to create boundaries in your life using the 5 wellness bodies. Whether you are saying no to work, friends, family, spirit, or other people’s energy, you will notice how much more energy you have when you set your own boundaries.