Building Emotional Boundaries
Building healthy emotional boundaries puts you in such a powerful place in the world – firmly on your own path, with oodles of love and compassion overflowing to share around you. It’s a journey that beckons us all. So how to tackle it?
Why build emotional boundaries?
Knowing exactly who you are rocks. It’s a powerful place to be, knowing your self-chosen place in the world, knowing what’s important to you, knowing how you want to live your life, and knowing that the only person whose judgement matters is you.
Claiming that power means you’re completely in charge of your own life. Nobody else can tell you what to do; they can’t make your decisions for you; and they certainly can’t pressure you, guilt you, manipulate you or coerce you into anything at all. Any of those little tricks will simply hit a brick wall, because not only can you sense and deflect those patterns a mile off, but you’ll also be sending out energetic signals to those who operate that way to stay away – you’ve got higher standards.
That beautiful brick wall blocking all that rubbish is one of your cherished and carefully developed emotional boundaries.
Building good emotional boundaries with compassion and joy is an ongoing journey in life – we get lots of opportunities to learn how to keep ourselves safe, nourished, treasured and peaceful, while also judiciously opening ourselves up to people and places who enliven us and who we want to help.
What’s it like within those blissful boundaries?
You get lots of gifts there, and they multiply as you gain skill at exercising your emotional boundaries. You get to enjoy abundance of:
- Peace and quiet, without continual intrusion (physical, emotional or psychic).
- Respect, through demonstrating that your time and space is important and not to be trampled on.
- Attraction, because your standards are so high you know your own precious worth, and everyone else will too.
- Confidence – you have space to know yourself inside and out, and you know that you can control how your world interacts with you.
- Privacy – you have time to yourself when you need it, and complete leisure to share as much or as little of yourself as you choose.
- And the list goes on…
Plus of course, your beautiful emotional boundaries allow you to have infinitely healthier relationships and a dramatically stronger capacity to handle your own journey of life change.
Compassion doesn’t mean no boundaries!
Many, many times, we subconsciously choose not to activate our boundaries. One common reason for this is that we feel cold-hearted or rude creating space with people when they’re seeking us out – it feels like we’re “shutting people out”. We feel for them and want them to feel warm and cared for. This is a big one especially for women in our culture.
At the end of the day though, if we’re run dry and exhausted ourselves, we’ve got nothing to give to others anyway, plus we’re subtly sending out the message “taking care of me is less important than taking care of you”. Not so!
It’s a tough shift to make sometimes, but we can have enormous compassion toward others, yet not give ourselves to them at that time. If we need to recharge and take time for ourselves, it is possible to send the message “I love you and I feel for you, and I can’t help you right now. I’m taking care of me.” Beautiful emotional boundary!
Letting others wear their own consequences
The flip side of your beautiful compassionate boundary is that you let others bear the weight of their own decisions. You trust them, to learn to take care of themselves and to walk their own path. If they’ve stuffed up, they learn to recover. If they’re in trouble, they learn to resolve it. They’re not always going to be on their own, but trust that they can be – the smooth running of others’ lives does not depend on your involvement.
You’ve got your own important life to lead, so carving out your own personal space to honour it is crucial – gift others the full weight of their own paths, so you can claim yours.
So how will you be building emotional boundaries?
Low emotional boundaries usually make for pretty draining personal interchanges. You’re building ways to change these, so you can keep all your energy within your own self, and so you can flex that muscle that keeps others’ energy out if it doesn’t benefit you.
And so how to do it, how to walk that path to blissful peace within our own portable bubble?
1. Talk straight
Learn to speak your truth – slowly, with lots of practice. Learn and practice how to say where you’re at and what you feel, and what you want. You’re building your inner faith that you can control your world through your words, in your utmost integrity. You can investigate Nonviolent Communication (also called Compassionate Communication), for strategies to practice this.
2. Opt out
Learn and practice how to opt out of anything that doesn’t serve – walk away. There’s nothing to be gained from staying somewhere that’s not supportive for you. Move through the fears of what you’re missing out on by doing so. Building your emotional awareness will help you stay tuned in to what’s nourishing you and what’s harming you, plus insights into why you’ve developed those patterns. Ask for support to move through it.
3. Ignore others’ opinions
Practice pulling back from what others think of you – can be a tough one, but tackle it little by little, with support. Direct all that reclaimed energy into what you want instead.
4. Get healthy
Take care of yourself – the stronger, healthier and more vital you are, the strong your personal will energy is and the stronger your energetic boundary structures are. Repair work directly on your energy boundaries will also help if you’ve got chronic invasion patterns.
5. Get support
Seek support for your efforts from encouraging and affirming people. Probably some of your relationships will change dynamics, and those people may resist that – seek out extra support to bolster your journey, to resist dropping back into the status quo to keep things unchallenging. Coaching and counselling are great for total affirming focus on you, your needs and how to meet them, and there are many other support relationships that will help too, from friends to support groups. Learn more about finding good support.
Most importantly: practice, practice, practice – play with your own learning journey. It’s a big shift and one that takes effect gradually.
Enjoy your growing sense of self, confidence and spaciousness in life! Dream big with what to do with all the energy, time and inspiration you’ve claimed back. Share and support others to build their healthy emotional boundaries too!
Would support in this journey be helpful at the moment? Get in touch to discuss what will work best for you, with support available in person at the Bulimba wellness centre or via phone/Skype/distance.
Complimentary 15-minute Initial Consultation: available to discuss your needs and what holistic support will be most helpful for you.
About Elle Reynolds
Elle Reynolds is an Energy Therapist, Transpersonal Life Coach and Holistic Counsellor, specialising in life change and the deeper embodied experience of our energy systems. Her work merges cognitive learning and awareness with the felt sense of embodied inner knowing.
Elle works in private practice with personal appointments and workshops to support others in this journey. She lives in Brisbane, practicing in Bulimba and with phone-based appointments around Australia.
Contact Elle – she loves to connect.