Boundaries: Owning Your Power

"Peace comes into the heart like the morning sun spreading across the ocean. It is the ocean of compassion."
--Stephen Levine

Do you let people run all over you? Do you wish you weren’t so influenced by other people’s beliefs and opinions? Do you feel guilty saying No to anyone?  Are you so naturally empathetic that you sometimes have trouble feeling any separation between you and other people?  Do people instinctively know that you’re the one to come to with their problems---and after they have told you their problems, do you feel compassionate but also tired, depressed, irritated, or anxious?

Here’s a great little tool you can use to help you with these kinds of boundary difficulties.  Imagine a rose with a stem about arm’s length in front of you, approximately where the edge of your energy field is.  If you cannot imagine the rose, just pretend it’s there.  Actually, you could use another flower or a different object altogether.  We use a rose because it has a very high vibration, but if you choose something else, just be consistent with it.

When you are with another person, imagine the rose—any size or color---at the edge of your energy field.  If the person moves inside your field, move the rose so that it is halfway between you and the other person.  Now, here’s the important part:  Keep your attention on your side of the rose!  Empathetic, can’t-say-no people usually have their attention outside of their energy field, and that’s what causes problems for them.

Whatever is going on outside of your field is not your business!  Your business is what is going on inside your own field.  So keep your attention there.  If the other person feels intimidating in any way, you can focus on your rose itself, along with the space between the rose and your center.

When you use this rose tool, you make an energetic boundary between you and other people.  You also keep yourself from absorbing their energy, and you are better able to decide if what they want you to do is right for you and to say No if it isn’t.  Without guilt.

But will having a boundary between you and others make you a cold, unfeeling person?  Aren’t we supposed to care about others and help them when we can?  Isn’t feeling their pain a sign of being compassionate?

What if I were to tell you that you can actually be more helpful to other people when you keep your compassion but do not absorb their energy and their pain?  What people need is a grounded, stable, balanced energy that they can match if they choose.   When you match their pain instead, it feels good to them at first, but it actually just strengthens their pain.

So, keep your compassion, keep your rose up, and keep your attention on your side of the rose.  Say Yes if you mean yes, and No if you mean no.  Decide what thoughts and opinions and beliefs are yours and which are not yours. 

If someone is upset with you, recognize that their upset is about them and not you, even as they try to make it about you.  Let them be upset.  It’s all right.  It is not your business to make them not be upset, and it is not your business to fix their problem.

Practice this tool when you aren’t in need of it---times when you are not feeling emotional about anything or anyone.  The more you practice it, the more real it will become and the more available when you do need it.  Eventually this energetic boundary will help you feel a sense of neutrality and stability.  From there you can come into your own power in calmness and balance.  And then you can help yourself and help others far more effectively.