Sometimes self-care must be less about pampering ourselves, and more about protecting ourselves. It’s all too common to feel overwhelmed by other people’s expectations, beliefs, and judgements, especially around the holidays.
It can be HARD WORK to set and keep boundaries. To say no. To feel like you’re letting someone down.
Yet, boundaries are the ultimate form of self-care as it is an act of SELF RESPECT and allows you to stay connected to your autonomy and power.
When we give our power away by not listening to ourselves, it’s an act of self-betrayal and creates internal conflict. The relationship with Self is the most important one you’ll have your whole life, and it is worthy of protection.
YOU are WORTHY of PROTECTION
I find that many empaths, sensitive people and spiritual folks tend to have a really hard time setting and holding their own boundaries.
This is due to many reasons. Here are a few common ones:
- Feeling guilty, selfish, or “not spiritual enough” for putting your needs first.
- Fear of bad things happening if you stand up for yourself.
- Fear that your boundaries will not be respected.
Setting boundaries is not meant to be comfortable. In order to have boundaries, you will likely have to move through difficult emotions and beliefs.
But once you move through the discomfort and create a shield of protection around what’s valuable to you, you will become more:
- and joyful.
It becomes easy to lose touch with our inner needs when the outer world feels so much louder and more impressionable.
DISCOVER YOUR NEEDS
The first step to healthy boundaries is recognizing what your needs are. Then it simply becomes a practice of remembering that your needs are worth honoring and protecting.
Your needs change in every circumstance and situation. Bring to mind a current life situation that has been rubbing you the wrong way. Consider the following:
- What are my needs here?
- In what ways am I honoring these needs?
- In what ways am I ignoring them?
REMEMBER YOUR VALUE
Use one of the following affirmations to support the situation above:
- It is reasonable to place limits on my energy.
- My needs are valid and worth expressing.
- I have every right to take space and attend to my needs.
- It’s okay to be misunderstood.
Put your affirmation on a sticky note somewhere you’ll see it every day (mirror, fridge, steering wheel, etc.) and repeat it as needed.
For an empathic person, it can be easy to fall into the trap of negotiating boundaries rather than holding them firmly. It’s easy to see another persons side of things and needs, and to scapegoat one’s own needs to make another person more comfortable. If this is a habit you have, it’s beneficial to get in the practice of not negotiating your boundaries. Identify what they are, and then hold them firmly.
ACTIVATE YOUR BODY
The most important aspect of setting boundaries is to activate them within your body. Feel quite literally into where you end, and the space around you begins by tapping your body or shaking your bones. Use a deep and active breath to fill your your lungs and body with more worthiness and power, and exhale to carve out more space around you.
If you have a hard time with setting boundaries, it may be helpful to practice martial arts or focus on strength training. Core strengthening especially is helpful to activate the sense of worthiness, courage, and warriorship that is needed to assert boundaries in a protective way.