Internal Boundaries

I’m continuing with my internal work with the website courses from bloomforwomen. I’m just finishing up the “emotional wabi-sabi” course. I really like the woman teaching the class because she seems rather artsy in how she dresses. A solid reason for sure. She also reminds me a lot of my psychologist in Calgary….so there’s a slightly more legit reason! 

Anyway, one of the issues that she was speaking on today was setting internal boundaries. I stopped the course and took a few screenshots because  I figured I wasn’t the only one who might need to see these things. Signing up for the website courses is free so I don’t think I’m infringing on any monetary gain..please correct me if I’m wrong!  

This is what it may look like if you’re not setting internal boundaries:

photo credit: Emotional Wabi-Sabi/bloom for women/Stace Christianson.

The first and the last one in the list were like a blow to the side of my head. I said to myself “I remember that! totally true for me!”

I had coffee with a dear friend shortly after kicking out my ex. I was still in the midst of pain and stress and uncertainty, but she said something to me that helped confirm that I was in fact going in the right direction. 

“You know” she said “for all the time I’ve known you with ____ , you’ve always had an edge to you, especially with your kids. That edge is gone now. You seem way more grounded and at peace and you have a softness to you that I haven’t seen before.” 

How validating is that! And how right she was.

I knew that about myself, that I was edgy and short tempered and irritable, but at the time I didn’t know why I was the way I was. I had lost my connection to myself. I was listening to all the parental voices in my head instead of what I needed. I wasn’t setting internal boundaries with myself, and therefore I wasn’t setting boundaries with others about how I needed to be treated. I was miserable and it came out in how I treated people, especially my children.

I also felt powerless to make a change in my life. I didn’t know how to take those first steps so I ignored what I needed because I didn’t know what to do. Read further to find out the answer to how to make changes.

Here are some ways we tend to live when not setting internal boundaries for ourselves:

photo credit: Emotional Wabi-Sabi/bloom for women/Stace Christianson.

Just to clarify, that one line is supposed to read NOT keeping commitments to yourself and others.

Do you see yourself in any of them? 

For me I’m currently working on negative self talk and parental voices. 

 I remind myself a lot that I am a paintbrush. That I am painting a picture with my life. I use my body as my paintbrush to create beautiful things for others. This helps me get out of the negative self talk about my body image. I set an internal boundary with myself that I won’t talk about myself to myself in a negative light. I also remind myself to be as kind and gentle with myself as I am with other people. It helps. 

Here is a definition of parental voices taken from today’s course:

photo credit: Emotional Wabi-Sabi/bloom for women/Stace Christianson.

The teacher specifically mentioned those voices of people in authority over us. Maybe our pastor or our small group leader or our really sophisticated and educated friends or family that we want to impress. Or maybe even our spouse or our parent.

 When we give in to what those voices say we should want for our lives, instead of listening to our own conscience or authentic self, we aren’t setting internal boundaries for ourselves. 

Holy cow did this one ever ring true for me! I lived this for so many years! I wanted the approval of the people around me, and I listened to what they thought I should do or be or think, over what I knew I needed to do and be. 

It’s funny how once you start setting internal boundaries for yourself, you can start to set external boundaries for yourself as well. You can start to act and react in new ways. You start to see what you need on the inside coming to fruition in concrete ways that affect your every day life. 

Something as little as cutting your hair the way you’ve always wanted, instead of listening to other peoples opinions of how you should wear your hair, and never really liking it .

Something as big as saying to your partner or your mother or your leader “No. I won’t do that for you anymore. Instead I’m going to honour my own boundaries and choose to leave this house/church/place.”

 Listen to your conscience first and set internal boundaries, this is when internal growth happens. Internal growth leads to outward change.

Setting internal boundaries requires taking time to stop and be introspective. It requires being honest with yourself. It requires humility to admit that you’re not being true to yourself, you are in fact looking for the approval of others. It requires bravery to follow through on setting boundaries that others may not like.

But you will be happier. You will be at peace with yourself. You will be able to be who you were created to be, and there is such strength and such joy in that!

This is so exciting to me! 

Sometimes I think we get stuck in a pattern of thinking or behaviour that we know we don’t like, but we don’t know why. If we stop and think and take a look at the list of signs telling us we aren’t setting a boundary for ourselves, we are able to figure out that a boundary needs to be set. The answers may not happen right away. The boundaries may not be put in place immediately. But what a hopeful tool for us to have to do our internal healing and help bring our external lives into balance. 


Featured image credit: Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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