• Bethany Evans

The Art of Remaining Open While Maintaining Personal Boundaries

Boundaries can be tricky. If you are learning about them for the first time, they start out as a huge impenetrable wall, simply because you don't know any better. Everything exists on a spectrum, so in order to find the balanced middle for you personally, you will inevitably need to experience and practice the extremes on either side first, oscillating back and forth until you reach equilibrium. For a lot of people in society, we were not allowed to have personal boundaries growing up. It became unsafe to maintain our own personal identity in a family where conformity was the rule.

So let's start out by defining what boundaries are in my personal opinion and experience, and I encourage all of you to do the same for yourselves. We absolutely could look the up the dictionary definition but I don't believe an answer from a book will suffice this very complex topic. To me, boundaries are personal likes and dislikes, what I will allow and what I won't allow. Sometimes these boundaries change, sometimes they break down and no longer exist, and sometimes I build new ones. It all depends on what I experience in close relationships with others and what I discover I like or don't like about how it FEELS when someone says or does something that evokes a strong reaction from me.

Because they originate from our feelings, they can sometimes become very strong simply because we were hurt by something and never want to experience that feeling again. But when we do this, creating a huge barrier instead of a filter, we end up blocking good things from coming in too. If you have been wondering why your manifestations or creations haven't been coming to you yet, perhaps you are more closed off and guarded than you think. Even if opportunities are coming to you, if you have such strong boundaries around not allowing things in, you may not even recognize when they do, and dismiss them instead due to cynicism.

I do believe that protecting yourself is necessary and okay for a time, when you need to rest, heal, and rejuvenate. But once you've done that work, the only way you will know if you've actually learned the lessons is by going back in and being in relationship again, which means having to open up and receive. This then becomes the tricky lesson - how do I keep myself and my boundaries while also allowing someone else into my world? Especially if the last time you did that, you felt like you got burned, hurt, obliterated. It's fucking terrifying!

But it has to be done. So, how do you do that? First, you get very clear on what your boundaries are BEFORE you come into relationship with ANYONE - friends, family, business, romantic, even children. What is okay with you and what is not? What are the core non-negotiables? For example, lying from anyone in my life is not something I tolerate. If you lie to me, best believe that trust has gone right out the window and will take a long time to be rebuilt, depending on the lie and person. But you see how complex it actually is? It depends upon so many variables and those variables depend upon each individual person and situation.

The biggest way to maintain and create boundaries while remaining open is to continuously check in with your body and how you FEEL when something happens. Do NOT check out, which is numbing and avoiding. This is another reason why we keep such strong boundaries and do not let others in - it's easier. We can pretend like shit isn't happening, but that cannot last forever. You won't experience joy, pleasure, and excitement, just because you are keeping yourself from experiencing pain, heartbreak, and sadness. You cannot have one without the other - both exist and both are needed.

It becomes your relationship to the pain and sadness that needs to shift, knowing that it won't last forever and that you CAN get through whatever emotion you are experiencing. We can even experience being both happy and sad at the same time. This is absolutely possible, and ESPECIALLY when you decide to get back out there again after being heartbroken. The full healing will occur within relationship to another. They will open you up, which will be painful as you relive some of the past hurt and pain, but they will also show you the OPPOSITE of what you experienced before, which becomes the remedy for that pain and sadness.

There is no other way to fully heal without experiencing the opposite of what you experienced before, and you cannot do that locked away behind your fortress walls. You have to get out there and be in connection again, which will absolutely be terrifying, but it will be worth it if you can change that wall into a screen that protects but also ALLOWS energy to flow in and out. The practice will be in recognizing whatever doesn't feel good, checking in to see if it something you need to communicate about, and then being willing to end the connection if that person doesn't seem to be willing to respect your boundaries.

And if someone gets upset and becomes unwilling to listen to what those are for you, they are most likely not someone you want in your life while you are becoming whole again. It doesn't mean you have to end the connection forever, but at least until they are willing to respect you in this way. This is definitely easier when meeting new people - establishing boundaries and gauging whether or not they will respect them. It is more tricky when re-establishing new boundaries in already existing connections where you are acting differently and they are not used to it. If this is the case, and you want this connection to stay in your life, be patient with them as they relearn your new boundaries and make adjustments accordingly. Also, do not waver. Stand firm and be loving about what they are and why they are there. Be the person to stick up for yourself.

If you are struggling with this right now, book a session with me for support! I am sending you so much love, healing, and strength!

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