Personal boundaries are essential to your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.
Without personal boundaries, you are setting yourself up for emotional exhaustion, physical depletion, and disconnection from your true, magnificent power.
And, perhaps surprisingly to many, Chinese medicine holds some of the secrets on how to successfully master the art of setting personal boundaries so you can live your life on your own terms.
The theory behind Chinese medicine is a study of metaphors and associations.
You might think of it as poetry to Western medicine’s more cut-and-dry prose.
But while Chinese medicine might seem floofy and woo-woo at first glance, a deeper look reveals truths that are undeniable to anyone seeking guidance on the path to a life well-lived.
Every season has a Phase-Element, and this Phase-Element sets the tone for what should be prioritized at that particular time of year.
For example, autumn is the season of Metal in Chinese medicine.
And Metal is associated with cutting things loose (as in a metal knife), finding balance (as in a metal scale), figuring out what is truly valuable to you (metal treasure), and, essential to the successful execution of all of these qualities, the art of setting healthy personal boundaries.
Every autumn is an opportunity to revisit these themes in your life.
By reflecting on, and reevaluating, what your priorities are at this point in your journey, you are then able to make clearer decisions on what is important to you.
This practice is an essential part of a life well-lived.
Because if you don’t identify your priorities and set personal boundaries, you end up spending your energy on things that don’t serve your Higher Purpose.
You find yourself living a life of self-betrayal.
Self-betrayal due to a lack of boundaries can look like:
- Constant exhaustion and/or overwhelm
- Frequent feelings fo guilt
- A tendency to ruminate and worry
- Feelings of stuckness
- Lack of vision/foresight
- Unclear goals, inability to follow-through
- Feelings of resentment towards people (a sure sign that you’re giving them things you don’t want to give)
- A deep fear of criticism
- “Cinderalla Syndrome” (where you give everything to everyone but have a hard time giving to yourself)
And all of that, my friend, is a waste of your life.
A life well-lived is one in which you, first and foremost, feel good.
You feel secure, taken care of, excited and expansive.
You know what you want.
You are able to stay true to your own needs and desires, even when they contradict what others might want or ask from you.
You are able to say “no” enough that you have full confidence in all the “yes”-es that you give.
You value your time and own your choices.
So, how do you go about setting personal boundaries and living life on your own terms (instead of everybody else’s)?
First, you have to define what your terms are.
And one of the best ways to do this is to daydream.
Spend some time with a journal and a pen to write down the things you most want in your life.
Dare to dream big.
Watch for any “yes, but’s” that come up in your mind as you do this.
These aren’t your voice.
They are echoes of what other people have told you in the past and limit your ability to connect with your own Truth.
Cut these comments out in true Metal-style the second you notice them, and refocus on your daydreams.
Next, do a daily practice that feels good in your body (even if just 2 minutes!)
Meditation, yoga, qigong, a mindful cup of tea.
Anything that gets you to slow down and tap into how your body feels in the moment.
Find a practice that feels good to you, schedule it, and follow through.
(That was an accidental rhyme on my part, but I encourage you to use it as your mantra!)
If you practice tapping into what feels good to you, you’ll have an easier time with the next step, which is saying “no” to anything that doesn’t feel good.
And the more you practice feeling good, the easier it is to tap into those good feelings in moments that feel more stressful.
All of this will help you connect with your inner Truth and help you live your life on your own terms.
Scheduling a time to practice is essential.
If you don’t schedule it, it probably won’t happen.
And that’s a sure-fire way to continue the habit of self-betrayal, which will perpetuate all the issues we’ve already identified in having a lack of personal boundaries.
So write it down.
Make a promise to yourself.
And keep your promises.
This can be tough at first, especially when you have a long-engrained habit of self-betrayal.
So the key here is to be gentle with yourself.
Recognize the fact that this has a learning curve, and it might not be easy at first but it will get easier with time.
If you reach the end of your day and realize you broke a promise you made to yourself, you have two options.
Either you can get out of bed and do it (this is the best option, because you’ll be repaving the neural pathways in your brain and proving to yourself that you can, in fact, follow-through).
But if that’s not possible, then make sure you follow through the next day.
You might wonder what this has to do with boundaries.
It has everything to do with boundaries.
Because you have to strengthen your inner integrity before you can let go of the security you feel in allowing others to call the shots for you.
Finally, yay “No” to Anything That Doesn’t Feel Good
Really don’t want to?
Wish they wouldn’t’ve asked?
You can say “no, thank you,” if you’d prefer.
But whenever something doesn’t spark joy in you, say “no”.
Say “no” so much that you have absolutely no doubt in your mind about the things you say “yes!” to.
Say “no” so much that every “yes!” has an exclamation point embedded in it.
Because saying “no” is how you practice honoring yourself.
It is where you find your worth.
It is how you prioritize the things that really matter to you.
It is how you make space for the things that will allow you to be the best version of yourself.
And consequently, saying “no” is the only way you can fully show up for anyone else.
Because when you practice saying “no” to anything that doesn’t light you up, you know that you’ll have the energy to put everything you’ve got into the things you say “yes!” to.
But even better than that, the things you say “yes!” to will start to come more easily.
You’ll let go fo the hustle.
You’ll let go of the overwhelm.
You’ll tap into your joy.
And everything will start to flow.
Now I’d love to hear from you.
What parts of your life do want to practice setting boundaries in?
Leave a comment and get the conversation started.
Because your experience is guaranteed to help someone else who feels the same way you do.
I can’t wait to hear what you have to say!