The other day I heard from a teacher of mine something about boundaries that I hadn't heard before. She said that for many of us when we are learning about boundaries we interpret it as if it's about knowing when to say no. We think its about checking in with ourselves and knowing when to say "no" instead of "yes" all the time to all these demands and favors that others ask of us. We think it's about saying "no" to others so that we can say "yes" to ourselves. But, as she said, that's not what boundaries truly are. She said that boundaries are about knowing when to say yes as well as no. To set boundaries means to make it known what we do want in our relationships rather than what we don't want.
This got me thinking — and, upon further reflection, I find this to be incredibly true. I have seen many people (myself included) get caught up in setting too strong of boundaries by saying no so much that it cuts us off from truly having healthy, fulfilling and satisfying relationships. We find ourselves frustrated, stressed, and unfulfilled all over again but we can't figure out exactly why. We think that we've done all the right things because we've made it known as to what we don't want. The problem is that we haven't admitted to ourselves — and others — what we do want.
So how can we begin to set more balanced boundaries? How can we begin to set boundaries that place equal importance on what we don't want and what we do want? The following steps will help you begin to establish boundaries that are more open to satisfying the desires of your heart so you can create more openly loving connections.
- Check In With Your Heart's Desires: Ask yourself, "What is it that I desire in my relationships? What is my soul craving to experience? How would I like to deepen my relationship(s)? How do I want to be more intimate with a certain person?" If you are having trouble with this, sometimes it's easier to flip the question around by asking, "What am I unsatisfied with? What do I wish other people would do? What do I wish existed in my relationship that doesn't exist now?" Maybe you desire to have a deeper connection with someone. Maybe you desire to feel like you are a part of a community. Don't try to make it complicated. Just one word or a short phrase can be enough to establish what you desire.
- Establish A List Of What It Is That You Do Want: Once you have realized what your heart truly desires, then the next step is to create a list of all the practical things that you can do to satisfy your desires. So, for instance, if you want to feel like you are part of a community that feels like a "second family," then maybe you can to join some kind of group with similar interests. Or if you desire a deeper connection with someone, then maybe you can reflect on what a current relationship where you would like it to be more intimate on an emotional level. Another example could be that you simply want a romantic partner because you don't have one right now.
- Discover What You Can Do To Create More Of That In Your Relationships: One of the keys to remember in creating boundaries is that we want to be personally responsible for our own desires. So if we want a certain relationship to become more intimate, then we need to step up and be the guide. We have to initiate it. For instance, that doesn't mean doing something like telling the other person to be more vulnerable (because that's totally codependent, by the way). Instead, it means to be more vulnerable ourselves to set the example for the other person to reciprocate. Now, of course, that doesn't guarantee that the other person is in the same place that you are. It doesn't meant that they are ready to move to that next stage in the relationship, but it does open the door for the possibility in a respectful and healthy way. So ask yourself, "What is it that I can do today, tomorrow, next week or next month to say 'yes' to my desire? What can I do to make it known to the universe what it is that I do want?"
Take action now! In the comments below, share what it is that your heart currently desires. What desire to do you have that you need to start saying "yes" to?
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