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How do we Cultivate Healthy Energetic Boundaries?

You know the old saying “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy?” I feel like this same cliche could be applied to any member of family business. If the boss ain’t happy, if our kids ain’t happy... You get the idea.


Which is why having healthy energetic boundaries in family business is so important, but also really hard sometimes. We fall into that pattern of “Oh no. If they're not okay, then I'm not okay.” And even though it often comes from a well intentioned place of deep caring, it's energetically leaky – and can get really confusing. 


Wait. Are these my feelings? Or your feelings? Or my feelings about your feelings? Ugh. 


How are we supposed to be able to zoom out of this cloudy, sticky mess and get a clear perspective – let alone make balanced, healthy decisions when we’re not even sure why we’re feeling so stressed in the first place?


We begin by starting to cultivate healthy energetic boundaries. 


Now I know there’s a lot of talk about boundaries out there on the interwebs and so I just want to clarify a couple of things so we're starting off on the same page.


First, I think when most people hear the word “boundaries,” they picture something akin to Fort Knox. That’s not what we’re going for here.


When I say “boundaries” I’m talking about something much softer and more interactive – almost like our skin. When we hold hands with someone, those two hands don’t suddenly form a singular hand and then everyone is confused and doesn’t know who this massive mess of hand belongs to. Thanks to our skin (and that beautiful, healthy, clear boundary,) we’re able to connect & feel one another while still knowing clearly where we end and our beloved begins. 


Connected but clear at the same time. That’s what we’re going for here.


Second, I know that there's a lot of talk on social media about having “good” boundaries and what that’s supposed to look like. And I just have to take a minute to be totally honest and say that I don’t actually love that labeling of “Good” vs “Bad” Boundaries. Because I think anytime we employ this good vs bad binary system, it can bring up a lot of rigidity & separation. Which can be very confusing when the very nature of healthy relationship & connection is reciprocity & flow.  


I once heard someone define healthy boundaries as “how I can love you and love me at the same time.” And I’m note sure I’ve ever encountered another definition that has rang more true since then. 


“How can I love you and love me at the same time?” 


It calls in an energy of respecting others, their energy & their experience, while also fully respecting & caring for ourselves at the same time. Sometimes that means doing things very differently. Sometimes it means doing them in totally different places – with a very different level of interaction or physical proximity to one another. So, on the outside the actions might look the same. But, on the inside, it’s about making those changes from a place of acceptance instead of rejection. 


Can you feel the difference?


And finally – and here’s where it can get really challenging, my friends, so take a deep breath & be gentle with ourselves – when I’m talking about healthy boundaries, I’m just talking about your boundaries. It’s an internal thing for you to know and for you to be responsible for. Which is hard sometimes because I know that sometimes we as (even well intentioned) humans have a tendency to want to try to use boundaries to control other people's behavior. 


We're talking about your space and your energy. That’s what we get to be incharge of. And, ultimately, it’s the only thing we get to be in charge of.  (And OMG YES - - believe me I know how annoying that is to hear. But annoying or not, it’s also just true.) So starting to truly understand where that parameter is key to fundamentally understanding and starting to develop genuine healthy boundaries while staying deeply connected to those we care about most in our lives & in our work.


So, how do we do this? How do we learn how to love you and love me at the same time? How do we begin to cultivate healthy energetic boundaries within ourselves (and by proxy in our relationships, in our business, and in our lives?)


I have three steps to help you get started:


Step 1: Start a daily practice to begin getting to know yourself & your own energy. 


It’s hard to know whose hand is whose if you have no idea what your hand looks like. Don’t laugh – we may not remember it, but there was a time in our infancy when we spent hour upon hour gazing upon & getting to know every single minute detail of our own hands & feet. Now it’s time to make a little sweet & playful space to begin getting to know our own energy in the same way.


Make a cup of coffee or tea and just sit with yourself. Close your eyes and just breathe. Let yourself just be. And see what comes up. Even for just 5 minutes a day. It’s a start.


Step 2: Start noticing when you get triggered. 


I know this may come as a surprise because (like with boundaries) there’s a lot of talk about triggers out there on the interwebs as well, but hear me out. Triggers can be really useful information because it is showing us - through a not so great feeling - that something has impacted our energy. 


And then 

Step 3: Get curious. 


So, when we notice a trigger, rather than going into shame or blame, see if you can actually employ a little curiosity. Try to say to yourself,  “Hmm, I'm feeling a little bit (or a LOT bit) cranky & upset about this AND I wonder why? What's happening here in my energy? And what is this pointing to?”


Because there is almost always really useful information there. 



If you’re interested in hearing more about How to Cultivate Healthy Energetic Boundaries, be sure to check out:

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