Setting boundaries can be the most important thing you ever harness to transform your relationships and life … especially when it comes to dating and relationships. True, balanced boundaries are often misunderstood; they’re not about building an impenetrable wall of barbed wire, but about having positive, open energy that keeps life flowing.
Imagine how an ocean flows and thrives in its space and boundaries, but a stagnant rain puddle that doesn’t receive new energy is always evaporating, having increasingly poor boundaries and edges. If you were a fish, which would you prefer to live in? In the ocean you can define your turf, swim and explore and have the resources you need -but in a puddle you don’t have that luxury, you’re always trying hard, gasping for what you need and feverishly trying to stay protected as the puddle shrinks.
True, balanced boundaries can help you:
- feel and seem more open, confident, authentic and likable
- keep you safe in the dating pool. It will help you avoid users, players, and time wasters
- maintain focus, awareness, and perception so you can really take in all that you need to know about another person
- feel more at ease and have more fun instead of trying hard to control everythingt
- the right match for you will be someone who takes responsibility for themselves and who have good boundaries too
A person with open emotional energy and who has good emotional boundaries seems loving, calm, friendly and open. They pay attention to their feelings but don’t get carried away with drama or participate in the emotional chaos of others. They allow a new connection to be new without burdening it with a past relationship or hurt. They also do not let feelings of attraction or love carry them away until they create a real emotional bond with another person.
Someone with closed off emotional energy and poor emotional boundaries feels a lot of need and finds it easy to inflate the importance of a new person or invest emotionally in a way that is disproportionate to how well they know them. They get carried away with positive emotions (I just met this guy online once and I think I might marry him!) as well as negative ones (My date was a jerk, I’m going to die alone!) quickly and intensely. They’re susceptible to taking on the drama or emotions of others as their own. Even though they may seem to fall in love fast on the surface, letting go is difficult for them and really opening up and letting others in is even harder.
One way to reconnect to your emotional strength is to be patient and to allow yourself to feel emotions of all kinds, and to be responsible for your emotional well-being instead of giving that power to others. You get to choose what you spend your emotional energy on! The enclosed space of our past experiences and negative emotions can seem to be hard to break free from, but you can begin to open up by being loving to yourself and others. How can I take care of my heart and feelings today? How can I reach out to someone else and help them?
A person who has open mental energy and has positive mental boundaries is: relaxed, conversational, curious, honest and clear in their communications. The people around them know where they stand, and they have an easy time understanding where others are coming from because their main intention is to learn new things. They don’t let their time be monopolized by someone they’ve just met. Their own opinions and agendas aren’t swayed and they respect their time and energy in connecting to people. (For example, they will not answer 1am texts and won’t break plans with their best friend to go on a last minute date) They don’t spend a lot of time planning, plotting, thinking or analysing, they are interested in getting to know the other person instead.
Mental boundaries are just as important as physical ones. Just like physical intimacy, mental intimacy forms over time. You probably know someone who spends hours talking to you about a new guy, who spends all her time thinking about him but then as she dates the guy for a little while she starts suddenly going, “I don’t know what he’s thinking… and I’m scared to tell him how I feel or what I need.” A person with positive boundaries communicates WITH another person, a person with poor boundaries lives in the enclosed space of her head.
The best way to open your mental energy and have good boundaries is to pay attention how much TIME and energy you’re spending on things. Take breaks, focus your mental energy on other elements of your life. When it’s time to date, have the intention to learn about a new person by communicating with them. Thinking about someone constantly, spending all your time with them, or other forms of working hard will not make them like you more – it will defeat your boundaries and kill the attraction.
A person who has physically open energy and who has strong physical boundaries has relaxed, comfortable, confident, calm body language. They are approachable but never intrude on others or allow others to intrude on them or make them uncomfortable. They don’t let themselves get in sketchy situations or lose awareness of their surroundings. They easily exhibit attractiveness, sexiness and warmth.
Make your physical well-being a conscious priority and you’ll automatically boost your physical openness and boundaries. Your physical signal for having open energy and good boundaries is the feeling of comfort and security. Your eating, sleeping and and general well-being matters. Did a brand new date ask you to meet you at his house? Did a guy you’ve been dating for awhile ask you to cross town because he’s tired and would like to meet closer to to his side of town and you’re exhausted yourself? Take stock of how you feel and what your true needs are and don’t abandon your self care or safety for others.
We all know that getting drunk or getting high on dates limits our selectivity and common sense, but awareness also means that we’re not showing up to dates when we’re exhausted, distracted or in a position where we can’t pay attention to others or our surroundings.
When it comes to sexual boundaries, tune out all the shoulds and shouldn’t s you’ve read about on sex and dating. The only way to know and maintain your own true boundaries is to really and be honest about what YOU want and what works for you. Do you want to have sex for fun or do you really want to have a relationship? Is casual sex OK with you? The real rule is simple: Don’t go outside your own boundaries in order to be liked or in the hope of changing another person eventually. Before you link your energy and physical body with another person, know who they are and keep your personal boundaries, needs, desires and safety in the forefront of your mind.
Everyone goes through periods where their energy is more open or closed than others, and there are times when boundaries may not be strong. It’s absolutely normal and nobody has perfect boundaries and at all times. You won’t always feel loving and confident, but you absolutely can make choices to work on those areas where you’re weakest and you are always empowered, every day, to change your energy, your emotions and to make choices about how you’re thinking and what you choose to do.
When you work on opening yourself up and creating strong boundaries in one area, you’ll often yourself improve your boundaries in several areas at once, and experience a lot more confidence in more than one way. For example, taking good care of yourself by telling your boss you can’t work late will amplify your sense of well-being and confidence emotionally when you’re enjoying an evening out with new friends. You might find yourself being less self conscious or more authentic.
Have you ever been upset because a friend asked you to come over and help them with a big chore when you were sick or stressed? Have you ever put yourself out and then been upset with someone else because they should have known better? It’s easy to blame others, but the reality is that nobody can take your energy and time without your permission.
Speak up and advocate your own needs and tell others how you feel because the the only person who can nurture, maintain, communicate and protect your own boundaries is you!
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