What boundary setting can look like (and why it feels so hard to do).

Whether physical, mental, emotional or spiritual in nature, setting boundaries is hard. 

You can do all of the hard work of thinking about what kind of boundaries you need for certain people and certain situations. You can lay the necessary foundations for those boundaries - whether that’s setting up an out-of-office message, saying that you’re not comfortable with a certain type of physical contact or practicing responses to say to some of your more challenging family members - and still, when it comes down to it, find yourself questioning if maybe your boundary is too much of an inconvenience to others. 

Maybe you’d be better off if you moved the boundary, or maybe you just need to push the boundary right on over till it falls to the ground.

Sound familiar?

For many of us, setting boundaries can take up vast amounts of energy. We lose touch with our own instincts - what we feel comfortable with or what we truly want - and become distracted by what other people think of us or expect from us. Sometimes, we even become distracted by what we think other people think of us or expect from us.

It’s exhausting.

But so is living in a world where our boundaries aren’t acknowledged and respected.

There are different things you can do to practice clearly, firmly and kindly setting boundaries. Like with many other challenges, I find it helpful to journal. Set aside some time to explore your own values and beliefs. Write it down, draw it out - do whatever you need to do to have something to refer back to, a foundation to draw from.

Then, start small. Maybe you set a little boundary with someone you feel comfortable with, whether that’s an understanding friend or an empathetic colleague. You could also try saying no to something - like turning down an invite - without feeling like you have to offer a detailed apology or explanation. If it’s hard to verbally set boundaries, try writing it out or having a standard response that you’ve practiced and feel comfortable with.

Not everyone will agree with your boundaries, and that’s okay. They don’t have to like it.
Sometimes, it might be helpful to remind yourself and the other person that whenever someone sets a boundary, it actually is an attempt to continue the relationship, not to hurt it (or the individual). Sometimes you might want to say, “We disagree on this, and that’s okay.”

Ultimately, setting boundaries takes practice.
If you feel like this is something you’re struggling with, please message me to see how somatic therapy and intimacy coaching can help.

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Irina emits a healing energy that just feels good to be with. Each time we've met, I've relaxed into her presence, openness, authenticity and ability to offer support. She has helped me gain the perspective I needed to be more compassionate and gentle with myself. If you're ready to do the hard work of personal growth, I'd highly recommend partnering with Irina.

- April