Painting above: ‘Intergalactic Yogi of Love’: by Michelle Taffe, September 2018
If you have people pleasing tendencies, and do your best to always be a ‘good’ person and a ‘nice’ person, you are likely to come across many people who will take advantage of you.
Boundaries are something that our parents and caregivers help us to develop through letting us know that our feelings matter, and helping us to tune into these feelings, and understand the messages they bring.
But if our parents were not tuned into their own feelings, and ignored or suppressed their so-called ‘negative’ emotions then they will not have been able to teach us this crucial life skill, and as a result we might struggle mightily with setting boundaries.
Tuning into your emotions, and being able to harvest the information from them, while at the same time being able to let them pass freely through your physical and energetic body is the work of a masterful spiritual warrior.
Even if you have struggled all your life with your overwhelming feelings, this is a technique you can learn. When you are able to be tuned into your feelings and receiving their intel (yes, imagine you are James Bond or Agatha Christie!), while at the same time emitting the right response to the people around you, you will become masterful at boundaries.
Do you owe anyone an explanation for setting boundaries with them?
If you are clear that you are at choice in every moment of your life, and you owe nothing to anyone, then no, you don’t need to add any explanations. If you are still under the spell of childhood programming that tells you others have a right to exercise control over you, then you may believe you need to add a ‘Sorry’ at the beginning.
5 Steps to Becoming a Ninja Warrior at Boundaries
1.Tune into Your Feelings
Practice tuning into your emotions throughout the day.
Take 5 minutes time out, check in inside, and ask yourself, what am I feeling right now?
Breathe in deeply. Hold your breath. Count to ten, and breathe out deeply. Repeat this process three times. Then sit comfortably, and ask inwardly – what is going on for me now? Feel into your body and see where there is tightness, where there is constriction, where you are contracting, where you are opening, where you are relaxing, and where you are tense.
2. Press the Pause Button
If in an interaction with someone you get an icky sticky feeling deep down inside, pause the interaction and pay attention to your inner feeling. Ask it what it wants you to express.
‘I am feeling uncomfortable right now, can we pause this conversation / interaction?’
3. Express what wants to be expressed
State your No clearly and without apologies or explanations.
‘No, I don’t want to do that now.’
‘No, I don’t want to go there.’
There is a reason that No is often the first word that children learn when learning to speak. It is essential to be able to say a clear no in order to have clear and strong personal and energetic boundaries.
4. Recognise that some people are toxic and they want to hurt you to feel more powerful –Don’t let them
If someone crosses your boundary even when you have given a clear signal, recognise that you are dealing with a toxic person, and quickly remove yourself from the situation or interaction.
Toxic people are unable to connect to their own inner power source (source energy) and so they need to feed off others’ energy. Hurting others makes them feel more alive, as they feel empowered by negatively affecting others (Look how much drama I create! = I am alive!!).
Activate Radical Self Care and Emotional First Aid if you need to in whatever way is appropriate for that situation.
5. Come back later to the person and explain to them why their behaviour is not OK for you
If you are dealing with a toxic person who gets energised through hurting others, don’t assume that they want to improve or become a better person.
They most probably don’t. Own your own feelings, and explain how their behaviour affected you. Remember your goal is not to change them, but to protect yourself from their negative behaviours.
When you did / said that, I felt …….
I did not appreciate ……..
It concerns me that you ……
Even though someone is behaving like a complete and utter %$#^&, recognise that telling them this will only escalate the situation and won’t promote understanding or change.
Lastly ask if they:
- Understand why you felt the way you did?
- Whether they are willing to alter their behaviour in future in order to have a more harmonious relationship with you?
The important part in this dialogue is not trying to be ‘right’ or to ‘win’ any kind of argument with the person. If you are able to keep in front of mind at all times that you wish for harmonious relating, then this will help you to ask the right questions and reach a place of mutual understanding, leading then to better relating and communication in future.
Remember that this last point is the Ninja Warrior element.
To be able subvert the ego’s desire to win or prove a point and hold at all times the desired outcome of understanding and harmony means you are becoming an A grade expert at relating.