Are you someone who often finds yourself overwhelmed by the needs and emotions of others? Do you struggle with saying no and putting yourself first? If so, you might be an empath or a highly sensitive person. Setting boundaries is an essential skill for individuals like us, as it allows us to protect our energy and well-being. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of boundary setting for empaths.
IMAGE BY ERIC WARD VIA UNSPLASH
Without boundaries, we may prioritize others needs and desires in front of our own leading to feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and disconnected from ourselves.
Recognizing the Need for Boundaries:
As empaths, we often find ourselves absorbing the energies of those around us, leading to feelings of overwhelm and exhaustion. Recognizing the signs of when we need to set boundaries is crucial. Whether it's feeling drained after speaking with a friend, being approached by strangers with their life's burdens, or constantly taking on additional commitments, these situations serve as beautiful opportunities to establish boundaries and protect our own emotional health. Identifying the actual physical sensations and patterns to boundary violations is an integral step in knowing when it is time to set them.
Unlearning our Projections:
One of the reasons why "No" is such a hard thing to say is because we often transfer old stories and experiences onto new people. For example if we grew up with a neglectful parent we may have developed the belief system that we have to earn love and attention. Then we might notice in future relationships that we are attracted partners that are emotionally unavailable, because we relate love to the feeling of neglect. Unlearning our projected patterns is an important step to creating aligned boundaries.
IMAGE BY MAREK PIWNICKI
There is a misconception that boundaries have to be harsh and come with big arguments. Healthy boundaries can produce a consistent light around you that tells people you should be respected and treated with care.
Saying "No" with Confidence:
Creating boundaries begins with acknowledging our own needs and desires. It may feel challenging at first, especially if we're used to always saying yes. However, by learning to recognize when we genuinely feel a "no" in our lives, we can better prioritize ourselves and make decisions that align with our well-being. Pay attention to signs of resentfulness, as they indicate an energy imbalance where we are giving more than we are receiving. Once we identify these areas, we can begin renegotiating our commitments and speaking up for ourselves.
Your empathy might be a trauma response:
If we grew up in unstable environments it's possible that we have developed the skill to identify and predict negative behavoir. For example, if you had a parent that lost their temper and often made you feel afraid, you may have subconsciously learned the patterns of body language and facial expression to predict and avoid their outbursts. Often times empaths will zone in on the most damaged and struggling people because that is what their brain is wired to see as a safe familiar pattern. Boundary work can be very healing for empaths as it can help you begin to recognize destructive behavior and attract positive connections.
Remember, setting boundaries is a lifelong journey, and it may evolve as you navigate various phases of life. Embrace it as an experiment and a continuous learning process. If you are interested learning how to set boundaries peacefully consider registering for my online course The Boundary Babe. Embrace the power of saying no to discover the immense joy and freedom that comes with setting boundaries as an empath or highly sensitive person.