To express the unconditionally loving being that you are, you must have a deep understanding of what healthy boundaries are.
Brene Brown's teachings say there is no such thing as unconditional love if we don't know what boundaries are. She has discovered that the people who have more capacity to be loving and compassionate with others are those who are very clear of what their boundaries are.
To learn how to set healthy boundaries, let's start understanding the meaning of having a healthy sense of self.
You need to know what's ok, and what's not ok for you. In order for you to have this clear, you need to have a healthy sense of self, of identity. What this means, is that you have self-respect, self-love, and self-worth.
Self-respect starts with knowing what's ok and what's not ok for you. What your values are, what do you value the most, what your needs are, and if they are being met. In my case, freedom is my most important value. So think of what yours are.
Self-love is the next most important thing. Cultivating self-love is making sure your needs are being met. Not expecting others to meet them, but doing it yourself. It’s very important to understand we are in charge of our well being. Even if we have beautiful people in our lives who are happy to meet our needs, it is our responsibility to do it ourselves first.
Having self-love and self-respect is knowing who you are and what's important for you, and knowing this will let you see your worthiness. Worthiness is when you say… this is not ok. I'm worthy to have and experience what I want.
Knowing the principles of a healthy sense of identity, let's dive into the specifics.
Divide a piece of paper in half. On one side write what you think is not ok for you, the things you do not tolerate. On the other side write the things you can tolerate or negotiate.
Let me give you a couple of examples. For me, it’s ok when people who are going through tough situations come to me to “dump” their struggle and complaint. I love being a listener, even if they are negative I know how to set my boundaries to tolerate it without letting it affect me. It's also ok for me to have hard conversations. It's ok for me to be with people with an open mind with different opinions from mine.
What's not ok for me? Manipulation, aggressiveness, rudeness, bad words. When I see myself in these situations I choose to respect my boundaries and walk away gracefully.
I know we are all different, you might be able to tolerate some of these things so take them just as examples to write your own list.
Another good example is when we are dealing with a family member or a close person who is in drug abuse. When there is an addiction of any kind, it's so deep and intense, that in order for you to have compassion for them, you need to have a lot of boundaries. You can give them your love but then you have to set your boundary again so that you can replenish. Then you can give your love again. Otherwise, you end up exhausted from only giving and sacrificing without taking time to care for yourself.
A good practice to know when your boundaries have been crossed is to pay attention to anger. When we get angry it's a sign that a boundary has been violated either by others or by yourself. This can give you more clarity about what you can't tolerate and help you set your boundaries.
When you know your boundaries, when you engage in self-respect, self-love and self-worth, then you feel a sense of expansion because your energy is no longer leaving you. You feel an overflow of energy and you start being a witness of the miracles that happen in your life.
Miracles are happening all the time as a natural impulse of the Universe! So why don't we see them? Because sometimes we get stuck in relationship drama, feeling disappointment, feeling exhausted, and that takes energy away from us. When you set the boundaries your energy goes into your heart and moves through your body. Your chakras rebalance and then you can see better, you can have more compassion, and you can speak your truth.
Our hearts have the quality of discernment. When we need to establish boundaries we can do it speaking from our heart using the power of discernment.
How do we use our discernment? Well, things in life aren't simply black and white. Sometimes the people we need to establish boundaries with are very close to us. When a son, a daughter, a sibling, or a husband, is dealing with tough situations such as a mental illness, or an addiction and you feel the calling to hold space for them you need boundaries.
This is when discernment comes to play. To understand when its time for some self-respect, and when is time to respect the other. When is a good time for self-love, and when to give love to the other. A good discerning question is: What I'm about to do is an act of self-care first? If the answer is yes, go ahead and help this person, if the answer is no, then make sure you meet your needs first, and then give them your attention.
Healthy boundaries are beneficial and necessary for everyone involved. Remember you cannot have unconditional love if you don't know what your boundaries are. And sometimes, that unconditional love is for yourself.
There will be times when you need to make the decision to leave a relationship because it's toxic, or harmful, and other times when you will have to hold space for the other person from afar. And this is all ok, it might be a little difficult for the ego-self at first, but it's the foundation to cultivate healthy relationships.
Remember that self-respect, self-love, self-worth, and the power of discernment are the tools that will guide you into setting healthy boundaries.