Setting boundaries is a beautiful, empowering practice.
Awakening our capacity to set boundaries helps us define ourselves. It’s not what we do that matters most, it’s how we do it. As social animals, we are always in a state of change and becoming. Even when we are on auto-pilot, our nervous system is most interested in only one thing: safety. It’s not enough to take care of our physical needs; taking an approach for the whole of us takes a level of awareness that includes boundaries. This means taking good care of ourselves on an individual level and a collective level.
Body language cues others by what we do and how we do it. For example, how we stand, sit, use our arms and hold our heads signal others about who we are. Self-assertion behaviors deliver information without using words, revealing the underbelly of ourselves through our body’s posturing. We emit, if you will, signals about who we are and where our boundaries stand. By our body language, we are essentially telling other people what we are and are not available for.
Boundaries can be works in progress. We can learn what feels right and wrong as we know ourselves. With limits and life being full of them, boundaries can provide a different approach toward defining ourselves. Some of the most innovative people have worked within systems and created problem-solving opportunities.
“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” – Shirley Chisholm
We live at an intersection between limitation and disruption, where boundaries can give us freedom. We need to know what we’re working with to uncover who we are. This gives us much-needed intel to develop interpersonal strategies for thriving. Setting boundaries and adhering to the limits all around us will help us feel whole. There’s an abundance in the now. Finding joy within the present allows us to embrace who we are and what we are becoming.
Setting boundaries is an empowering practice. We learn what is accepted and not accepted and what specific verbal and physical cues are. From a nervous system perspective, we are only looking for safety all the time. Strong, clear boundaries create functional relationships that last. They create the sense of safety that we need to deepen our closeness. Setting those boundaries allows us to express what we need and want. They are a way to communicate from our inner knowing and create paths for richer connections. Savoring what is by noticing limits is a radical act of empowerment.
Photo credit: Top (Darina Belonogova) & Middle (Ron Lach)