There comes a time when boundaries or lack of them become evident in a person’s life. It comes unavoidable and all consuming. One of those times is during and after a divorce.
Regardless of the circumstances or specifics of the experience. Divorce is a time of tremendous unleashing of what has been buried within by you, your ex partner, and within the relationship now coming to a close. It is also an opportunity to release, let go, heal and start anew with endless possibilities of your choosing. The choice to end any relationship can be a challenge and boundaries are key to reaching a sense of freedom in your life you may not have experienced previously.
To truly dive into and embrace the personal work in setting and upholding boundaries, we must explore the definition of boundaries itself. Nancy Levin, master coach and best-selling author of “Setting Boundaries Will Set You Free” defines boundaries as the limits that you set around what you will and will not do, what you will or will not accept and what you will or will not tolerate.
In essence, boundaries are all about what is okay and not okay with you. Many may see boundaries as things that you want to keep out of your life. The truth is that they are also about what you choose to keep that you already have, what you want to have more of, or desire to have that is currently missing. Shifting the mindset of boundaries from being restrictive to being expansive can help greatly in stepping into the practice of setting the boundaries you need in your life.
First Lesson in Boundary Setting
The very first lesson and most likely the hardest reality to accept when beginning to put into practice setting boundaries is to own that it’s you who’s been crossing your boundaries. Yes, you! There are three parts to this very first boundary lesson.
First, remember that boundaries are what you will or will not do, accept, or tolerate for yourself and in your life. The entire practice of setting boundaries is predicated on you and you only. Boundaries are about you meeting your needs, prioritizing your preferences and fulfilling your desires. It’s putting the focus onto you, putting you back at the center of your own life, and learning to take your attention off everyone else.
Second, although it can feel completely foreign, unnatural, or uncomfortable to make yourself your number one priority, be assured it is completely within your human right to do so. Most of us simply loose connection with meeting our own desires through the influences of our experiences, society, and whatever negative internal story you’ve been telling yourself that you don’t deserve or are worthy of having or receiving.
Third, boundaries are all about you. And boundaries are between you and you and no one else, even when they involve other people. So if boundaries have been crossed in your life, you have been the one crossing them. The truth of the matter is, we have zero control over what others think, want or feel. And if someone is crossing the boundaries you’ve set, it is up to you to take ownership of what you will do in service of upholding those boundaries. It’s taking the ownership of not only setting boundaries but upholding them.
How to Set and Uphold Boundaries
For many, putting into practice the setting and upholding of boundaries may be the first time in their lives where they are shining the spotlight onto themselves instead of those around them. This can feel unfamiliar and often times very scary given the nature of it being unfamiliar and new.
Just like anything else, it takes practice and time to build up new muscles around setting and upholding boundaries. And no matter how impossible it may seem or feel, it is possible and the rewards are invaluable. Boundaries are the key to living your life being self-referenced and no longer living a life being other-referenced.
You may be wondering, how you know if you’ve been living a life of being other referenced. Do you often find yourself in situations asking “what do they think, what do they want, what do they need, what do they feel?” In moving into being self-referenced, no longer needing validation from the external world, begin to turn these questions around onto yourself. Begin to ask yourself, “what do I think, what do I want, what do I need, what do I feel.”
The truth is it’s not an either/or, you get to put your attention on yourself and others, it’s a both/and. There is just a hierarchy to move through where you start giving yourself the permission to put your attention on yourself at least as much as you do for others. Then practicing to give yourself permission to put attention on yourself more than you put attention onto others. Then ultimately giving yourself full permission to put yourself first by considering yourself before considering others.
Benefits of Boundaries
Boundaries will help guide you in releasing you from self-doubt, gaining more clarity and trust in yourself of where and how you want to move forward, and no longer being influenced by others’ judgement or input when it comes to you and your life. Setting boundaries will set you free to finally start carefully choosing and consciously curating the life you have been desiring as you move into your post-divorce life. Setting and upholding your boundaries will guide and be your companion while opening you up to the life you have always desired, been worthy of and deserve to live.
About The Author
Kylie Kwon is a life coach and intuitive guide. She coaches her clients to set boundaries and trust their intuition. She guides and empowers them through life challenges, transformation, and reinvention in pursuit of curating the life they desire while navigating love, self-acceptance, and authenticity.