The word boundaries comes up a lot, especially when I am talking to someone about their parents.
As you know if you’ve been following me for a while, this is my topic of choice, the parent topic (or those that raised you.)
It’s #1 for me because it is the root, the birthplace of all the beliefs and conditioning we’ve experienced, which has shaped our perception of ourselves and how we relate to everything around us. The big one being how we relate to receiving love.
So, the way I typically hear people talking about boundaries is something like this…
“I needed to put up a boundary with my Mom and tell her that I wasn’t coming home for Christmas this year, because it’s just too much for me. I never have a good time over Christmas because she will control everything and inevitably we will get into a fight, and it’s just not fun.”
“I told my Mom that we need to change our relationship, that I needed to put a boundary because she depends on me too much. So I told her I can’t speak to her as much because it’s consuming my life.”
“I told my Dad that I can no longer support him. I need to put up a boundary because he is taking advantage of my generosity and it’s affecting my relationship with my wife.”
Here’s a nuance that most people aren’t taught about creating boundaries.
If you create a boundary that cuts off the flow of connection and love, no one wins. In every single one of the examples above, the connection and love was cut off.
I recognize that these examples may seem simple but the point I’m making is this…
…when we haven’t reflected on why the dynamic within that relationship exists in the first place, and our deeper role in it, we tend to put the blame on the other person and label the relationship as “unhealthy”.
When we create a boundary from this place nothing gets healed in the long run. All we’ve done is put up a wall around our heart.
In the short run you may feel some relief, less consumed, you might even feel a little more at peace, but what also comes with it is a fear of intimacy and a fear of true connection. Because love is now associated with pain, hurt, and overwhelm.
To me there is another way.
There is a way to create what is called Sacred Boundaries, where the flow of love and connection isn’t cut off, but rather nurtured in the process. Doesn’t that sound good?
The catch is it requires you to do some inner work, to uncover emotions that have been potentially tucked away for years, and to get really honest with yourself.
Here’s an example of what a Sacred Boundary could look like…
“Mom, when I was little I watched you and Dad fight a lot. I remember thinking, even as early as 8 years old, “I would be devastated if they got a divorce.” I was so afraid of what would happen to me and our family.
So, I decided I was going to fix your relationship and make sure you stayed together.
And since then, almost every fight you’ve had with Dad, I’ve gotten involved. Sometimes I would call you and notice in your voice that you both were fighting and I would step in. Sometimes you would involve me.
Either way it’s not healthy or good for me; it’s actually hurting me a lot because for days I’m unhappy until you both are happy again. I can’t even seem to live my life during that time period.
Honestly it feels like a huge burden in my life. So I am realizing that I no longer want to play that role anymore because it’s not letting me be your daughter. I am always your meditator or coach.
Playing that role isn’t allowing me to receive your love like I need, as your daughter, because I keep thinking I have to be there for you instead of allowing you to be there for me.
There are days we get off the phone and you haven’t asked me one question about my life and I haven’t allowed myself to say anything about my life, and that feels horrible.
So, I want a different relationship. I want a relationship where I feel taken care of, where I allow myself to let you into my life, to ask for your advice, or just to hear “I love you.” A relationship where I’m no longer your coach or someone that needs to save you or your marriage.”
Can you see the difference?
The main intention behind creating a Sacred Boundary is that we are not trying to change their behavior or ours by putting something in between. That feels forced.
The intention is to express the depths of what is occurring for us, and be open to them understanding us more and us understanding them more. Then establishing a new way of being that supports us.
Here are some empowering questions to ask yourself in the process of creating a Sacred Boundary.
Why do I keep choosing to relate this way? What am I getting out of it?
I chose a way of being as a child, watching my parents, that I didn’t even know I chose. What is that? What has me feeling so attached to that way of being?
What emotions (i.e. hurt, in pain, burdened, upset) have I been feeling but have never expressed?
Now, there are even more nuances to creating Sacred Boundaries, but what I’m trying to convey here, as a way to simplify it all, is we need to ask harder questions of ourselves before we create a boundary.
The biggest question to ask of ourselves is…
Do I feel more free, more at peace, more loved through creating this space, this boundary?
Do I feel closer to myself and more connected?
Can you relate to this? I’d love to hear from you. In the comments below, let me know how you’ve approached establishing boundaries in your relationships.