Why it's time to stop talking about healthy boundaries
Healthy boundaries has got to be one of the most overused terms in the therapy world. Along with 'self care' these concepts are easy to talk about and even easier to advise on but complex enough to write books about. What do we even mean by a healthy boundary? What's healthy and what is unhealthy? What even is a boundary? How do we know if we are creating an unhealthy boundary? In this post I discuss how the whole concept of a healthy boundary is actually quite unhealthy, because it's more likely to keep you in a paradigm of emotional and energetic separation and self preservation which is a paradigm built on fear. This is why people go back and forward creating and then violating their own 'boundaries.' The question I always ask myself is: what is REALLY going on within me when I feel evoked or provoked enough to start constructing a boundary either energetically, intellectually or emotionally.
My less than articulate post is inspired by a conversation with a family friend who teaches children with Autism and Aspergers. One of them is 14 years old and has been diagnosed with psychosis. When I asked her why she moved into that field from being a 'regular' teacher she said something inside her was ready for a big change. As she spoke her eyes lit up. I could feel the aliveness. The purpose was emerging.
The environment itself however, was 'challenging.' she said. What seemed to work well one day with a child would set them off screaming the next day. In Spite of this she felt connected to the children.
'I get sad sometimes, when I look at the kids and realise their whole life is going to be a struggle. How do you create healthy boundaries?' she asked.
Care but don't overstretch yourself. Be human but don't get overinvolved. Don't take your work home with you. Blah blah blah.
No. That wasn't real. That was the easy answer. And it actually made no sense. Human beings hearts do stretch out to reach others. Humans are in it together, so how do we not get too involved when we're already part of it?
I realised the problem was actually in the question and the feeling that there was even a need to create a boundary in the first place. It meant that there was something being stirred up within that was being received or felt as 'unhealthy' or uncomfortable.
Instead of talking about boundaries maybe the first thing we could all do is hold a deeper field of soul choice. The body and mind is how the soul has chosen to experience it's own growth. In growing, we learn and in learning we teach. It's a constant dynamic interaction. It's a circle that's spinning so fast that there is no separation between learning and teaching. Aspects of the soul are participating in every expression at some level.
'When you're interacting with these kids instead of feeling their pain and trappedness, can you drop deeper as you look into their eyes and feel what their soul is here on a mission to experience- can you meet them there?' I asked her
When we allow for the soul's expression to emerge in the material body there is very little to pity or get enraged about because we see the bigger picture. To see the big picture we need to include ourselves, how do we fit in? Every conversation we have whether it's with people who can't talk or are very articulate, whether it's with people who are healthy or ill, is a chance to heal at a soul level. Every word exchanged is a soul choice.
Deep down the children were giving were something that was allowing her deeper purpose to emerge. So why would anyone want to create a boundary? Because sometimes as the deeper soul is emerging through us, it's uncomfortable or scary. We want to remain the same because it feels comfortable and healthy.
I asked her if she was able to allow herself to feel the deeper layers during her working day and to see what new ways of working might reveal themselves.
'I can' she beamed.
'How do you feel about getting back to the kids on Monday morning?' I asked
'I'm ready to learn from them' she replied. Her eyes twinkled.
In this way a boundary is not a wall or a filter. It's not a game of mine theirs. The world is busy building walls and filters and they only disconnect us from the deeper layers of ourselves.
A healthy boundary is aligning internally with the big picture and being willing to participate. The boundary is not between you and something else, but within you. It's a boundary between your higher self and your ego.
I've found that holding this view in my heart centre when working with clients helps me to be present with them and with everything they say. It helps me to allow their expression and give it space rather than immediately develop an idea of what they might need from life. It helps me to really enjoy the meeting of souls. More importantly, it allows me to learn about myself. Our teachers are not just the textbooks and the gurus. They are everywhere and in everyone, especially those that trigger us into putting up boundaries. So let's stop talking about healthy boundaries and start talking about dissolving our inner boundary, the inner wall between our highest formless brightest selves and our operational and effective egos. Let's build love, not boundaries.