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Day 11. Healthy Boundaries Increase Personal Security

When a part of you worries that your preferences for how you want to live are “wrong” or you worry about whether people will be annoyed with you if you don’t do what they want even if it’s not what you want, your personal security is rocky and you will be afraid of uncertainty. It’s almost as if you wonder, What battle am I going to have to fight next? What doom awaits me?

You won’t have an active response and will instead react.

The more you do this based on fear and avoiding short-term discomfort, or based on seeking instant gratification, is the less secure you’ll feel. This is because the one thing you can’t do when you’re reacting to everything rather than responding from a place of knowing and valuing you, is be secure in who you are and what you’re going to do. You change who you are to suit the situation (being conditional), and you deviate from intentions and values to suit the situation, and so external factors dictate how secure you feel. 

Embracing boundaries affects what you’re open to energetically, as does having more personal security due to trusting and honouring your values. It’s knowing that line between you and others and reflecting who you are in your behaviour and choices.

Decisions that you make about your boundaries and values, whether that’s privately or through your day-to-day interactions, affect your receptivity and personal security.

What are you open to energetically?

I’d lay bets that there are certain things that you have a stance on that because you’re certain about them and you’re not open to negotiation, that it’s never called into question.

Let’s take four stances:

Position #1: Sure about your position so this gives you confidence, security and direction.
Stance #2: Know your position in theory but insecure about how you might be perceived, fear of being ‘different’, etc. So you’re open to discussion or open to attempting to switch position, looking for validation.
Stance #3: Know your position but defensive. You feel the need to debate, to try to convince and convert others.
Stance #4: Don’t know your position and lack the self-knowledge and self-awareness to take up one. Reactive, don’t pay attention to feedback, not enough self-enquiry, likely to get swept up in other people’s agendas, looking to be directed, looking for validation.

How do you think this is going to affect you in a particular circumstance?

Let’s use sexual intimacy in the early stages of dating with the position being that you know (or experience has shown you even if you have not heeded the lesson), that you are more at ease if you take your time getting to know somebody, that you don’t handle one-night stands or something turning out to be a fling very well, and that you ultimately desire something that can progress into a relationship. Let’s imagine you meet somebody and they’re trying to speed things up.

Stance #1- You know you well enough to know that you’re going to feel uneasy if you go against yourself. You remind you that you don’t know this person that well yet and by being boundaried and so knowing your own values, you’re grounded enough to get a sense of what is happening, how you feel, etc., and to opt out if and when it becomes clear that you’re on different pages. You don’t explain or justify your position, and you become attuned to picking up signs so that you can guide and direct both you and dates on what is and isn’t permissible.

Stance #2- In your heart of hearts, you know what you need to do but are worried that this person will think that you’re “frigid” or “silly” or “weak” or whatever, or that it’s going to put you out of the running to be their partner. What if I say no and then they leave and go and find someone else that will put out? What if, this person who I’m now pressuring myself to say yes to, is The One? Maybe you start explaining yourself and claim that you’re definitely not going to sleep with them, or you try to gauge their intentions or try to get a promise of a relationship or a guarantee that they won’t hurt you. Two twos, you end up back at yours, and your resolve disappears. On some level, you don’t believe in your position. Maybe you think that it’s wrong to say no or that sex is what you have to do to hold a person and prove yourself ‘worthy’.

Stance #3- In theory, you know what your preferences are but feel as if they’re “wrong”. It irritates you that you can’t be interested in the flashy, more confident, maybe quite-into-their-appearance (and yours) partner and have them not be trying to get into your pants in the early stages. It feels as if you always wind up in situations where you’re arguing the toss about why it’s OK for you not to want sex or why they’re out of order for pushing it. You brace yourself for conflict and feel that it’s unsafe to get too interested or trust people (walls). You’re unaware of how your beliefs put you into a cycle of testing your theories out and seeking validation, which yields a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Stance #4- Experience has taught you that you struggle with the emotional consequences of fast pseudo-intimacy, but you have a short-term mindset, so get carried on the wind of whatever is going on at that moment. You pay so much attention to catching a feeling, chasing a possibility, and that person’s needs, feelings, etc., that you’ve lost touch with your gut and intuition. When things go pear-shaped, you’re so eager to throw yourself into something or someone else that you don’t register how you feel or what you need to learn from these experiences so that you can choose mindfully in future, so the pattern keeps repeating itself.

The TAKEAWAY

  • Positions #2, #3 and #4 all represent not paying attention to and taking care of you.

  • Want to change your receptivity and increase your sense of personal security? Know and live your boundaries.
    Saying yes to something because you’re afraid or feel pressured feels very different to a yes that you’ve given because you want to.

  • If you want it to feel good when you say yes on those occasions when you really want to do something, you’ve got to be willing to say no on those occasions when you genuinely don’t. What you agree to outwardly needs to match how you feel, what you want, etc., internally.

  • Being boundaried gives you an active response. Show up, make choices, have a stake in your own life because, believe me, if you don’t, other people will make those choices for you to suit their agenda and that may be at odds with yours or even cause you harm.

  • How much validation you seek from others and how much you give you affects your receptivity to going with other people’s flow even if you’re flowing into problems and going in the opposite direction to who you are.

  • You cannot trust in the appropriateness or even ‘rightness’ of your preferences for how you want to live your life if you don’t put them into working practice. It’s all very well saying that you want to be this or that it’s important to you to do that, but if when push comes to shove, you don’t because you’re reacting to someone else and choosing your subsequent responses based on fear, guilt, obligation, short-term or instant gratification, you don’t get to be you.

JOURNALING: Is there a recurring theme to some of the boundary issues that you’re encountering? Is there one particular type of situation that you keep banging your head up against and if so, what is it that you need to change? What is it that you’ve been looking for validation about? What is it that you feel the need to defend, explain, justify or prove a point? Can you see how this is knocking your confidence? Can you see how this is stopping you from honouring your boundaries? 

TASK: Compare something that you’re very sure of your position on with something that falls into positions 2-4. What are the differences, and how could you apply that confidence to the position where you’re less confident? How could you use the reasoning from the confident position on the other so that you’re more congruent?

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