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!
eLearning is a term well known in the corporate and military sectors, but is emerging at a rapid rate in the spiritual and holistic health spheres. Healers around the world are recognizing their potential reach beyond the yoga studio and treatment room by taking their wisdom to the World Wide Web.
As a millennial, I grew up in a unique time. Our generation was born just before smart phones were invented and social media existed. We saw the progression from dial-up to Wi-Fi, from MySpace to Facebook, and even Twitter to Instagram. We understand how to use this technology and have a firm grasp on how we can use it to communicate globally. Being a millennial is a unique position as a holistic healer; we have the knowledge and expertise to apply our online skills to reach more people than we could ever see in a private, or even group, session.
Historically, holistic wisdom and teachings are passed down to family or community members by word of mouth, by means of apprenticeship, or by written text. Recently, the digital age and the wave of the Internet entirely shifted the way information is passed along to others. Instead of waiting to receive sacred texts or wisdom from elders, those seeking holistic wisdom and teaching can simply search for articles, follow healers on social media, or even participate in online courses.
With this shift to eLearning brings a challenge for healers and holistic health coaches to create quality courses for their clients and students. Many of these healers are not educators by trade and do not have experience in online instructional design. There are many online courses that are simply âpage-turnersâ with primarily text or videos and limited interaction or problem solving integrated into the courses. As an instructional designer and a holistic health practitioner, I understand how vital it is to integrate such student engagement with this new age of online learning. The information healers are passing along should reach as many people as possible to continue the healing process. However, this information will create a lasting, meaningful impression on students and clients if they can also relate the lesson to an experience, as if they are in person for a training or session.
Traditional eLearning mirrors traditional classroom learning: I talk; you listen. However, the new generation of learning demands and expects more. We are a tactile society, used to touch screens and interactively gaining knowledge. Therefore, our eLearning should reflect this desire for interactive digital activity. Imparting knowledge is a tradition of the past that should be held sacred, but todayâs holistic healing humans are interested in experiential learning, as well.
As a holistic healer who wishes to develop meaningful, valuable, and relevant online courses, I seek to learn from those currently in the field and to also apply my skills as a professional educator. I hope to make the learning come alive by applying best practices and utilizing the instructional design theories that I studied.
The ancient wisdom and teaching that are resurfacing in the 21st Century have a large audience of conscious-minded learners, ready to meditate, stretch, balance, and develop as the best versions of themselves. They are learning to trust themselves as their own gurus, selecting the teachings and traditions that work for and resonate with them. We are no longer limited to the lessons from our immediate, physical community; rather, we can learn from anyone, anywhere in the world. Such freedom and accessibility provide ample opportunity for building community, sharing, applying problem solving, and creating a cultural shift.
The future of online, holistic health courses moves beyond reading articles and watching webinars. Integrating community discussion, problem solving, application of skills, interactivity, virtual reality, augmented reality, and gamification have great potential to open the doors of communication for modernized, ancient wisdom and teachings to come to life. The goal is to create an authentic learning experience, as if the students are experiencing an in-person session. The first step to achieving this goal is to recognize how we can best serve the online learners in a way that makes a lasting impact.
How will you contribute to this movement?
Comment below with your reactions and responses. I would love to hear your ideas and opinions!
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.