Healthy boundaries are often misunderstood. They are like the second cousin of personal bubbles, once removed, in our culture. It takes confidence and authority to set up healthy boundaries and some of us, okay most of us, lack the confidence to set them. We are afraid of what others will think of us, we fear that we will let someone down, we are scared that the other person will walk out of our lives, and we are most of all shying away from the discomfort. You are allowed to feel these things. However, from experience, I have learned that establishing healthy boundaries truly saved me from anxiety, be it social or random, and from being a serial people pleaser; you know, the kind that are always going along with what others want them to do because they are afraid to stand up for themselves.
I have always struggled with boundaries and setting limits. It is no coincidence that I have also experienced difficulties with my digestion and that my stomach hurt 95% of the time. The stomach is our power center. It is where we assert our confidence, empowerment, courage, self-esteem, pride, and, you guessed it, it is where we set boundaries.
The stomach is also known as the Solar Plexus Chakra. A year ago, I had never even heard of a 'Solar Plexus' and now I think I mention it at least once a week, sometimes ten. This Chakra holds confidence, power, joy, excitement, anxiety, and nerves. There are so many emotions that move through the stomach and they impact how we digest food and how we feel physically. Do you ever get a sharp pain in your stomach when you feel stressed? Do you often feel bloated when you are feeling insecure? Do you ever experience nausea when you are trying to make a decision? These are all common signs of a Solar Plexus imbalance. One of the many reasons we experience this imbalance is because we are not honoring our time, our choices, and our thoughts. When we are not respecting ourselves in this way, we are often giving so much without stepping back to consider what we want, need, and think.
Setting boundaries is intimidating. In our heads, we may picture it as a wall that we are putting up, or, we may be worried that we are running away from our problems. However, this is not the case. Setting a boundary is simply saying to others that you respect yourself enough to remove yourself from situations that are not in your best interest. You are teaching them how to respect you. It is clichÃ©, but we can choose to receive the respect we think we deserve.
Setting boundaries does not mean that you need to be mean or bitchy in any way. If this is not part of your personality, then I advise that you avoid taking on those qualities because this is how we grow a culture of respect. Be an example for others by restricting them to boundaries. If a conversation does not align with your values or if you feel attacked in any way, say so! If that is not respected, calmly explain that you are going to leave if the conversation continues. And, the most important step of all, if the conversation continues, then you need to follow through and create a physical boundary between yourself and those who are disrespecting the verbal boundary you laid.
You may be thinking, âWell, that just sounds rude. My family and friends would never accept that behavior from me.â However, they will respect it if you continue to demonstrate such confidence and poise. They will respect you and will learn how to act around you because you are showing them how and you are educating them about you and your values. If you feel as though a conversation or experience is not safe for you, either physically or mentally, then setting a boundary is the best way to show that person that their behavior will not be accepted and that you are strong enough to forge your own path.
Creating a healthy Solar Plexus is one of the most effective ways to assert such authority and confidence. Pay attention to how your stomach feels in certain situations or if there is a pattern to when you get stomach aches, bloating or nausea. If you are not aware of the subtle attacks consciously, your body may be taking on the discomfort subconsciously. Naming and recognizing the imbalances as they arise will help you determine situations that need boundaries.
If you are anything like me, you may like to practice to gain confidence. When I started asserting healthy boundaries, I decided to practice how I would verbally set a boundary because I recognized that in uncomfortable situations I would either run away, shut down, or get overly emotional and lose my authority. When I was prepared with a phrase or a posture while setting a boundary, I could enter discussions or conversations that were difficult for me with greater confidence. Another important part of my Solar Plexus development was using affirmations to grow my self-esteem. The more I told myself I am worthy of receiving respect form others and that I deserve to be heard, the more I actually believed it! Using 'I am' statements, looking in the mirror, holding my right hand on my stomach, and speaking through my diaphragm really helped me grow and develop my ability to set boundaries!
If this resonates with you, consider using a journal to make notes of things that cross your boundary and make you feel uncomfortable. You can also make notes of when you experience stomach issues and if you notice a trigger for this discomfort. Comment below if you have can relate or if you have any questions about setting healthy boundaries, I would love to hear from you!
Kristen is the owner of Affirmations & Innovations LLC. She is a Reiki Practitioner, Yoga Teacher, and Instructional Designer. In this blog, "The Old Soul Millennial" she discusses ancient wisdom with a 21st Century spin.