For a while, the term "boundaries" repeatedly came up in conversation, prompting nods of agreement from me as I acknowledged the concept, yet without any clue of what it meant or how to apply it. In 2017, I embarked on a quest to understand boundaries and how to integrate them into my being so that I could finally be myself. I wanted to know how to create boundaries without being rude or avoiding people, and I was determined to learn how to have healthy relationships. Boundaries seemed like the answer, but where to start?
Like most people, I turned to my therapist first. His explanation, although ambiguous, offered some direction. As I skimmed through my notes from our session, I found a statement that read "boundaries are about communicating what I need." This initial thought launched an exploration of the topic with various books and courses.
My desire to understand boundaries came from my relationship with my parents. For five years I avoided them and though I missed them, I felt that I was compromising myself to have a relationship with them. I pondered communicating my needs but I was dealing with individuals who did not seem to respect my boundaries. I wondered how to assert myself in front of people who are constantly imposing and often dismissive of my words, leading me to feel incapacitated in expressing my needs.
I continued on my search, and because the universe is so divinely giving in her ways, I had opportunity after opportunity to define my boundaries. I learned that boundaries aren’t about shutting people out and then not letting people in. I was tested and observed myself having some very mushy boundaries: saying yes when I didn’t want to, allowing people to talk to me in disrespectful ways, attending events I didn’t want to be at, or avoiding certain people or places. My list goes on.
The word "boundaries" continued to resonate around me in the zeitgeist, and I couldn't help but question whether it was just a trendy term propagated by influencers and mainstream personas, or if it truly held significance. My therapist defined communication as central to what a boundary is, but not how, when, or where to communicate it. Internet culture defined boundaries in blanket terms when I discovered boundaries are a subjective personal process. Determined to comprehend what boundaries meant beyond communication, I delved deeper into understanding the essence of what having boundaries actually means. I took workshops and spoke to people from many paths, from energy workers and shamans to psychiatrists and professors.
The revelations, emotions, and wisdom that unfolded were life-changing. I learned why I didn’t have clear boundaries and where the lack of boundaries came from. I discovered I was stuck in people-pleasing mode and was focused on the desire to be liked. Once I realized this, I finally found my sense of self. Through boundaries, I discovered my sacred purpose, learned how to speak my truth and set healthy boundaries to avoid burnout and resentment from over-giving.
Fast forward six years later, and I am now ready to share all of my research and findings in this 10-week workshop. After all, a single article can't cover the breadth and depth needed to create, maintain, and understand personal boundaries.
Here are the benefits of boundaries, from discovery to integration:
Discover Your Authentic Self: Recognizing your true self is the foundation of stepping into your power. This process will teach you to develop your intuition, rely on your bodily signals, and affirm your individuality. This will empower you to prioritize your needs while contributing to others' lives significantly.
Regulate Your Energy: The journey to set healthy boundaries starts with discarding the urge to please others. Regulating your energy allows you to acquire the ability to detoxify your social circle, assertively say "no" when necessary, and nurture the energy that bolsters your talents.
Words of Power: The secret to forging profound, meaningful connections lies in effective communication. Practical skills to manage relationships with direct, empathetic, and assertive communication will be your arsenal. By appreciating your self-worth and openly expressing your emotions, you'll invite greater intimacy and connection with those around you.
Master Your Fears: Fear can be a major obstacle to unleashing your true potential. There are many processes I pass along in this workshop where you'll work to overcome past pain and heal from the fears that drain your energy and keep you stuck. You'll learn to handle the fear of fitting in with your newfound gifts, overcome the tendency to dim your light, and embrace your sacred purpose with confidence and courage.
Embrace Your Power: Regular self-reflection and nurturing our energy lets us truly step into our power. Learn to distinguish between your self-confidence and ego. Realizing our boundaries involves more than mere acknowledgment. It requires profound work.
For a deep-dive into the journey of boundary setting, consider joining the 10-week "Master Your Boundaries" course starting on September 7, 2023, every Thursday at 4pm PT on Zoom! This course is affordable because I believe that knowledge belongs to everyone and should be accessible. Join us in a profound space where you’ll rediscover yourself, have a deeper understanding of what boundaries truly mean to you and how to practice them.
This article was edited by Emily de Armas.