Boundaries are a pretty common topic of discussion, especially in spiritual and self-development circles. You might see a lot of content that looks like,
“Healthy boundaries are good self-care!”
“Set strong boundaries so people know how you expect to be treated!”
“Boundaries show you know your self-worth!”
Are any of these statements incorrect? No! BUT, they are incomplete.
During your formative years, how were boundaries defined and modeled for you?
Were you called difficult, dramatic, or too sensitive when you expressed disagreement or discomfort about something you were asked to do or expected to allow?
Were you conditioned to believe that, actually, you don’t know what’s best for you and what you’re feeling isn’t real - it’s all in your head, or you’re taking things the wrong way?
Did your caregivers and the people in charge around you have good boundaries for themselves, or were they prone to over-giving, over-committing, habitually infringing on the space or self-agency of others, and then guilting or criticizing you for not playing by those rules?
If any of that feels familiar and boundaries have been something you struggle with implementing - or even understanding, it’s not you. It’s not your fault. There’s a fundamental part missing from most influencers’ Insta Inspo-quote, and it was under-resourced in your developmental experience as well. Without it, you’re not being set up to succeed.
So this begs the all-important question: “How do I connect with my Self and my needs?”
See, boundaries are an inside job. They exist to protect and ensure your needs, not dictate or control the behaviors of others.
If you never learned how to recognize or prioritize your own needs, how can you expect yourself to effectively establish and enforce healthy boundaries?
There’s so much circulated about being healthy, self-love, et cetera, et cetera… And too often it lacks the context of lived experiences, of internalized limitations, and trauma conditioning. And while the intention is good, the implementation can leave you feeling like you’re failing at something that everyone else seems to just know how to do. You’re not alone in that feeling, and there’s nothing wrong with you.
Boundaries that aren’t anchored in self-connected needs - meaning needs that are tied to your body, your sense of self and safety, your values - don’t amount to much more than sound bites that sound good. And you deserve real healing.
Some simple tools that are readily available to you are intentional breathing, body scanning, and compassionate curiosity. You’ve probably practiced these before in a yoga class or in a guided meditation, but it’s easy to forget about what’s right at our fingertips!
Intentional breathing is exactly what it sounds like. You breathe all day and all night! How often do you notice it? How often are you aware that you are consistently meeting your need for oxygen and the release of carbon dioxide?
Simply observing your breath - without changing it or feeling like you should make it some other way than it is - is one way to seamlessly and simply connect with both a need and your ability to easily fulfill it.
Another way to practice intentional breathing is to purposefully regulate your breathing. Start by checking in with where it’s at - is it deep or shallow, fast or slow? Then ask yourself what you need in this present moment, be it emotionally or somatically.
Is your current breathing effectively meeting that need? If so, great! Keep doing what you’re doing with attention and intention. If not, adjust your breathing to give yourself the experience and embodied environment that meets the need you’ve identified.
Body Scanning is another great practice you can implement almost anywhere and anytime.
Without forcing yourself or feeling obligated to change anything about how you’re sitting, standing, or holding yourself, bring your awareness to the top of your head and gradually work your way down the body.
As you do, find points where you’re holding tension or experiencing discomfort and ask that part of your body what it needs - does it need to be noticed and allowed to be there? Does it need support of some kind? Does it have a message for you about something that needs more space in your lived experience? How is your body communicating a need to you through the sensations you’re noticing?
Remember, you don’t necessarily need to solve it in the moment, unless a clear need presents itself to you. This can be an introductory way that you establish communication and connection with your body, and you don’t have to be concerned with “fixing” anything.
Compassionate curiosity is a practice of intentionally asking ourselves or others what is needed or what is happening, but without assumptions, judgement, shame, guilt, fear, expectation, or any of the other things we preload our questioning of experiences with.
Compassionate curiosity is a practice of holding space for something without an agenda or attachment, accepting it as it is and genuinely intending to understand it. Not analyze it, not improve it, accept and understand it…in that order. Because you don’t need to understand something in order to accept it, but think about how much safer you feel asking to be understood when you know you’ve already been accepted.
It doesn't all have to fall on you...
If you need support getting clear about needs in deeper or more distinct ways, or if you’re having difficulty doing it on your own, an Oracle Card Reading can be a really useful tool for gaining insight into parts of your consciousness that feel inaccessible or uncomfortable to approach alone.
A reading with me will impart you with much more than awareness - you’ll also get guidance on actions you can take that align with your needs and values in ways that are supportive to your nervous system and sense of stability.
Click the button below to book your 60 or 90-minute session.
It’s my genuine privilege to serve and support you, and I have so much appreciation for your trust, attention, and energy! Can’t wait to connect with you again soon!