So this month we've got something a bit different going on for the blog. I've been lucky enough to be given the opportunity to work on a collaboration with the lovely Rachel Freemon Sowers in her This Authentic Feminine Life Facebook group.
Rachel does a weekly vlog on This Authentic Feminine Life called 'Truth Serum Tuesday' where she explores common issues that hold us back from living our best and most authentic lives. For the month of May she has decided to do a series digging deep on the topic of Boundaries versus Barriers and invited me to collaborate with her on that. So I'll be sharing here the weekly written content that I'm contributing to the series and for the ladies (sorry fellas, Rachel's Facebook group is a gals only space), you can join the This Authentic Feminine Life group on Facebook to access to the vlog posts as well.
Boundaries versus Barriers – do you understand the difference? Do you have and use boundaries successfully in your life? Or do you feel like you don’t have any boundaries and wish that you did? Have your ever found yourself saying yes to someone when you really wanted to say no? What do your friends say to you about having boundaries?
Tip: If you haven’t viewed the Truth Serum Tuesday starting off this Boundaries versus Barriers series it’s definitely worth a watch! You can view it here (remember you'll have to join the This Authentic Feminine Life group first): https://www.facebook.com/groups/ThisAuthenticFeminineLife/videos/
When Rachel introduced me to the Boundaries versus Barriers theme for our collaboration this month I headed off to uncle Google to see what the world had to say about the topic. What I found is that while there is general consensus on the broad definition (at its simplest barriers are empowering while boundaries are limiting), pretty much every commentator talking about this subject has their own definition of both boundaries and barriers, illustrated with their own set of examples.
This was an important reminder to me that there is no one ‘right’ way to think about boundaries or barriers. What’s important is finding your own way, your own interpretation, and creating a definition that works for you.
As we work through this series together this month one of the key tools that we will use is self-awareness. Being able to really tune into and being completely honest with yourself will be crucial to understanding the boundaries that you want and need to put in place and identifying any barriers that you need to resolve. First up, self-awareness will allow you to begin creating your own personal definition of boundaries and barriers. Use the following exercise to help you gain clarity.
Take a moment to repeat the words ‘boundaries’ and ‘barriers’. What words or imagery does this bring to mind? Do you feel these words anywhere in your body? Maybe your definition is as simple as a single word. For example ‘empowering’, ‘freedom’, ‘limiting’, ‘constraining’. Or, maybe you connect with seeing boundaries represented as an image of yourself standing strong and tall, or with barriers represented as an image of yourself feeling trapped or under attack. Practise this exercise several times over the coming week and take a moment to jot down either on a piece of paper or in the notes section of your phone what comes to you. Bring your self-awareness to finding a definition that speaks to your heart and soul.
Once you have formed that definition create a physical representation of it (write it down, draw it, find images that capture it) so that it is easy to keep referring back to as we work through this boundaries versus barriers series. If you're willing to, I'd also love for you to tell us about your personal definitions of boundaries and barriers here to inspire others, so please go ahead and share them in the comments below.
As I mentioned above, self-awareness is going to be one of the main tools we will use during this series. If you’re interested in reading more about creating self-awareness you might want to check out the Increasing Consciousness section of our website. There you’ll find articles about improving your self-awareness along with other related topics such as mindfulness and personal responsibility.