Communicating Boundaries

Let’s talk about an important, perhaps paradigm-shifting concept: communication is not only necessary in creating healthy, sustainable relationships — it is SEXY. Being with someone who knows what they need and want (and who is willing to honestly share this information), sets a tone of safety, permission, and self-responsibility in a relationship. It shows active self-Love, confidence, and honoring of the entire relationship dynamic. Most people find it attractive when people display genuine confidence and self-respect… So why are so many women still scared to communicate their boundaries when the moment arises?

Oftentimes women don’t speak up about their boundaries when they’re engaging sensually or sexually, because they don’t want to “ruin the moment,” turn their partners off, make their Lover feel inadequate, be rejected, or come across as needy. We’ve been conditioned as women since girlhood to be “pleasing” and “nice” to keep things copacetic — even at the expense of our own genuine needs and desires. But just because you might refrain from communicating your boundaries or needs in the bedroom doesn’t mean your needs have gone away, or that you won’t suffer from an unarticulated boundary being crossed.

Communicating boundaries requires courage and a leap of faith. The other person could say no, be reactive, or not understand your request. And if you’re not used to regularly honoring yourself this way, it can feel intimidating! But honoring your own natural boundaries frees you up to actually trust yourself (and your partner), and let go at deeper levels. From here you’re able to experience what it feels like to have your needs agreed-to and respected.

When you establish boundaries, you are taking care of YOU — choosing self-love first and foremost — without any need to manipulate or control the outcome or experience of others.

Most people will respond with gratitude and appreciation to see you modeling greater self-Love and care, for you and for them (as it opens up permission for them to listen to and communicate their own boundaries).

People who desire to be in your life at a deep, intimate level are going to respect when you speak your truth in order to take better care of yourself. This doesn’t mean that every person who loves you will be able (or want to) agree to every single boundary you request, but they will at least hear you and relate to where you are coming from. And if speaking your boundaries “gets you into trouble” with someone, or they have a negative reaction, this is a valuable opportunity to take some space from this person and reevaluate your relationship.

On the journey towards developing healthier boundaries, keep in mind that someone’s reaction is not personal. While it might feel personal in the moment (since a reaction may be triggered by your request and might be directed towards you), other people’s reactions are not your responsibility or something you need to cater to or take-on. This is especially true if you’re truly nurturing and taking care of yourself, thereby communicating to others from a place of honesty, self-responsibility, acceptance, and Love.

By speaking up, you set others free from unconsciously doing things “to you” or pushing past boundaries that were never articulated in the first place. Friends and Lovers deserving of your time and attention will recognize and appreciate your commitment to self-care; it will inspire them. It might not be an obvious recognition, but the “magic” of your boundaries will go to work in your relationships, and into the lives of your Loved ones.

Sometimes when a woman gets a little taste of self-Love and communicating boundaries without receiving positive feedback right away, she leaves behind the boundary-speaking practice in order to get approval and be “liked” instead. Women are conditioned to be pleasers and servers; if we sense a threat of losing a relationship in light of communicating our boundaries, we can easily place ourselves lower on the totem pole, valuing the retention of the relationship over our own needs. However, it is essential to remember that self-Love will never be in conflict with authentic relationship Love.

Relationships that require you to diminish yourself are not worth having.

If a relationship threatens to go away when you practice greater self-Love, likely this is a worthy clearing-out for your greater benefit. Any relationship that requires your needs to be lower on the totem pole, or asks you to compromise your integrity and self-care, is important to seriously reevaluate.

Staying in relationships (whether romantic, creative, professional, familial, social, etc.), is always a personal choice, but realize that choosing to limit your own capacity to Love yourself will affect every other dynamic in your life, including having a healthy relationship with yourself.

If someone asks for all your attention, energy, and Love, it is likened to a greedy child who wants to eat an entire bowl of candy. You could let the child have everything she wants, but ultimately this wouldn’t serve anyone. Not you for having to clean up the mess, and especially not the child who gets sick. In relationship, regardless of how drastic the needs of a partner seem to be, if you sacrifice your own self-nurturing practices and boundaries there will eventually be a big mess to deal with.

When you commit to loving yourself first, you will have more love to give others. While this notion may be common rhetoric, learning to communicate your boundaries is one of the best ways to actually put this principle into practice.

As you practice more refined self-care, you will provide others with opportunities to treat you in ways that you actually want to be treated. This is a gift to those who love you, and mutually benefits your relationships. After all, we train people how to treat us, and communicating our boundaries honestly, sets the entire tone of how we are most able to give and receive Love in any given relationship. Rather than complaining or feeling powerless in unsatisfying relationships, learning to communicate boundaries can be a foundational practice that shows us we are the author of our own Love stories. As you practice uncovering and communicating your personal boundaries, new relationships (whether friendships, professional, or romantic), will come into your life which truly feed and serve your highest aspirations and commitments to growth, happiness, and empowerment.