We've all heard how important boundaries are. That if it's not a ‘hell yes, it's a hell no’. But what do you do when you feel disillusioned, overworked, underwhelmed, or disconnected from the life that you're currently living?
How do you know what it feels like to have a hell yes, or hell no, when you feel constantly beholden to other people's expectations, stuck in the minutiae of the day to day, or worse yet underwhelmed by a life that used to inspire your creativity and drive?
What do you do when you find yourself clutching at a life that you built for a different version of yourself, knowing you need boundaries, but with no idea where to start.
This is the place that far too many people find themselves: plucking arbitrary boundaries out of the pool of societal expectation, only to find that, despite their best intentions, these boundaries fail to solve their problems.
In truth, the problem is not the boundaries, it is our ever-increasing disconnection from ourselves, our vision and our ability to honour ourselves that is at the root of the issue.
And this is why – if you talk to me about boundaries, I will tell you about honour.
You see, when you get clear on your season and what you need right now and rediscover the essence of who you are and the vision you hold for yourself, you have something to honour. It is from this place that you can define clear non-negotiables and honour the best version of yourself now, and pursuit of your vision. When you consistently and committedly honour yourself first boundaries will emerge naturally.
“What do you mean, I honour myself first?!”
So, here is what you need to know:
1. Self-care is not Selfish
Let me start by saying, self-honouring, just like self-care, is not selfish! When you start by honouring yourself first, showing up for yourself and what you need, that positive intention, energy and action will begin to ripple through all areas of your life. When you choose to make choices that start with you, and not with the needs of everybody else, your ability to show up and do work you love is heightened. In fact, every area of your life, including those around you, will benefit. It's like a ripple effect.
“You are no good to anyone, broken”
2. Joy is a more effective measure of success than success!
In a world where success, is all too often made the measure of happiness, worth, achievement and status, there is little or no room for joy. The joyless pursuit of anything is never going to lead to joy – a fleeting sense of satisfaction, perhaps, but never joy!
However, when you get clear on the essence of who you want to be, what you want and exactly where you're headed, using joy and connection to vision as the measure of whether something fits in your life, honouring yourself first becomes effortless and boundaries emerge - seemingly like magic.
“A joyful life inspires courage, action and the essence of who you are.”
3. Resistance is inevitable
Growth and resistance act as equal and opposite forces. As you grow and reap the rewards of honouring yourself first, you will also, and in seemingly equal measure, experience resistance. Change is scary and with each courageous action that you take, resistance will be just around the corner ready to ‘protect’ you from the expansive world of possibility, in the form of fear, doubt or limiting beliefs. Be patient and aware. Look out for resistance, acknowledge it and let is pass. One you reach equilibrium in your courageous choices; the resistance will quiet down!
Check out ‘Do The Work’ by Steven Pressfield for more on this!
4. People will push back!
When you honour yourself first, you crowd out your own negative behaviours, starving them of space as you honour what you need and what serves you. In your day to day the beneficial results will be exponentials, However, the people in your life are not to easily ‘starved out’!
Be patient – the people in your life will push back as you honour yourself and your newly emerging boundaries first. Trust that you are showing up as a better version of yourself by honouring your boundaries, and trust me, as your resolve, confidence and joy increases, it will get easier to calmly and confidently honour your boundaries, grounded in the essence of who you are and what best serve you and those around you. With time, the people in your life will witness, learn and grow to respect your new boundaries.
Here are three questions to set you on the path to joy-drenched boundaries:
Grab a notebook and a coffee and answer these with honesty, curiosity, and try the ‘seven whys’: with each answer you write, question yourself: ‘why is that?’, with each new answer, question again… seven times!
1. What do I truly want? Taking everyone else out of the equation!
2. What is one thing I can let go of, that will improve my quality of life today?
3. What is one way that I can honour myself first, today?
The journey from a boundary-less life to one of naturally emerging boundaries and joy-drenched self-honouring is not necessarily an easy one, but it will be the most worthwhile and rewarding journey of your life.
If this surface scratching look at boundaries has peaked your interest, check out my free 5-step guide to a non-negotiable life: Self-Honour 101. I’d love to hear what it’s like for you to live a life that inspires you!