Midwinter Rituals: Boundaries

Saying no is hard, am I right? It feels selfish + wrong. I mean, for me, at least, it feels like I am letting someone down. Like I am putting myself first and not taking into considerations someone else’s needs or wants. Basically, having such a hard time saying no sometimes means that I am not so good at setting boundaries.

It also feels like setting boundaries is like putting myself in a box. That’s how I imagine it. I pin myself in when I set boundaries. But, really, setting boundaries is freeing. It’s an act of being authentic + living in truth, and that creates more freedom. Sounds crazy + totally opposite from what it should be, right? But, if I dare to say no, if I dare to be firm in what I believe + need, and if I only say yes when I really mean it, then I set myself up for living in deep truth, by being real. And that is true freedom. Freedom to be me.

Right now, in the middle of this season, it is the perfect time to work on boundaries. To learn how to step up, ground down, and stand firm by setting the boundaries that I need in order to become who I am meant to become. 

At the end of the year, it’s easy to take a moment to reassess + reflect on what has worked for me + what hasn’t worked for me during the past 12 months. And by saying “worked for me”, I mean… what has allowed me to open up, evolve, and be my best self.

Being my best self does not mean that I go around making everyone else happy. Kissing everyone else’s ass. And trying to make everyone else happy. Oh, sure, that works for a little while. But, then, it leads to resentment + fake-ness. It just doesn’t work to be a “yes man” for everyone. I’ve got to know who I am (I know) + what I stand for (I do). I’ve got to be true to myself + my beliefs. I’ve got to live what I preach.

My brother is the ultimate boundary setter, I think. He’s fucking amazing. He knows who he is + does not bend to anybody. That doesn’t mean that he’s not flexible. It just means that he has priorities + principles and lives them out. Day after day. From one moment of pure truth to another. I so admire him for this.

For me, setting boundaries, means that I have to put myself first; which is, admittedly, something that I am continuously working on. I know the importance of making myself the main character + the hero of my own life. But, I still struggle with it. Oh, I’ve changed + evolved a lot when it comes to this. But, I still slip back into my old tendencies every now + then.  I still have to consciously, and without guilt, choose to choose myself.

But, saying yes to everything + everyone is draining + exhausting. It sucks the life right out of us actually. And, saying yes when we mean no is the worst thing ever. It zaps us of our energy, leaving us empty, bitter, and filled with negativity.

Yep. Always saying yes induces negativity. Saying no manifests positivity. In fact, the most loving + compassionate people are those who know how to say no. Seriously Think about it.

If we learn how to say no, if we learn how to set boundaries, if we learn how to know what we need + respond to that, then when we say yes, we really mean it. We mean it wholeheartedly + unconditionally. When we say yes only when we mean it, then we give that yes our all. All of our attention, all of our passion, all of our everything.

And saying no isn’t always just about us either. It really isn’t a selfish act. Saying no means that we know who we are + what’s important. We have our priorities + principles, like my brother. And, in creating that space to know who we are, by daring to say no to someone or about something, then we create consistency and stability.

If we are people who can say no, then others know where exactly where stand. We communicate to others that we know who we are, that we know what’s important, and instead of disappointing + letting down others, saying no actually makes others feel safe, calm, grounded.

So, as we embark on a new year in just a few days, what or who do we need to learn to say no to? How can we create boundaries in our work and with our family and/or friends?

To know our boundaries, we have got to know where we stand. We’ve got to know who we are. We’ve got to know what we believe in. What works for us. What doesn’t. What our needs are right now. And what kind of life we want to lead.

The simplest way I know to do this is by creating a word, a mantra, a focus for myself. Year after year. That word or phrase becomes my north star, guiding me + reminding me what my soul knows. In choosing a word or a focus or a mantra, I can then shape my life around it. I know that, in all I do, I can ask myself: Does this support my word or my focus or my mantra? Does this person, place, decision move me closer to who I want to be or not? Does it move me forward or not? Does it increase + create more space to evolve into my word/focus/mantra or not? 

This becomes my boundary. My principle. My truth. And, by having it, I vow to myself to always only do what is aligned with my word/focus/mantra. If it does, then I truthfully, wholeheartedly say yes. If it doesn’t, then I must, for the sake of my soul, I must say no.

But, how do we know what boundaries to set? How do we know what word or mantra or focus we need? Well, we feel it. This is where we have to slow down, tune in, and trust our intuition. This is where we must know that our gut feelings are the right ones.  Just before the new year, we are at the perfect place to balance looking back + looking forward. This is the perfect time to review + reassess. And, whatever we discover, we will be guided forward, knowing what it is that we need to focus on for the next year.

I’ve been feeling my 2019 focus, mantra, word for a few weeks now. I don’t know how it came to me, but as the days have passed, I have received more + more confirmation that the upcoming year is one of action. For me, it will be a year of embodying + living out all that I have soulfully rooted myself in for the past year or two. There is a huge shift ahead for me – into something completely unknown + yet completely familiar. And, so, this is my truth. This is where my lines are being drawn. Where my boundaries are being set. In order to live authentically, in order to be the best me that I can be (both for me + for the world), then I must say no to anything or anyone that does not support my vision of embodying my truth.

Now, what about you?

Questions for you to ponder:

How well do you use the word “no”?

What do you need to learn to say no to?

Where + how can you create healthy boundaries in your life? 

Remember (and I am speaking to myself too), saying no is not selfish. It is living in truth. It is honoring our soul. It is creating space to say yes with more passion + meaning than ever before. It is, in fact, loving yourself + others in the deepest way possible.

xoxo. liz.

6 thoughts on “Midwinter Rituals: Boundaries

  1. Dear Liz,

    You are so right. Boundaries make space. Literal space in and around you, opening up all kinds of potentials and possibilities in someone’s life. No is one of tbe most positive words in the world and the potential co-creator of all that we yearn for in our lives and for our futures . Great, great post. Thanks so much.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


      1. Dear Liz,

        Wonderful post and wonderful December posts as well. Thanks for so much to chew on during this month.

        Good and healing thoughts to you and your loved ones.


  2. Ah, Liz there always seems to be these parallels in our lives to different degrees. This past year – and most especially the last 3 months – have involved a lot of changes and adjustments for me as I’ve moved into a new phase. And this post rang so true because I definitely did not respect my own boundaries or listen to my intuition, and I tried to be what other people needed me to be (which didn’t work in the end) and it absolutely drained me. It was, to quote your post, “the worst thing ever.” Letting people traipse over my boundaries just made me feel so unauthentic, so untrue to myself, etc. I think you really nailed the connection between boundaries and truth and living out your priorities; I wish I could have read this post 6 months ago to give me a little perspective on what was to come but reading it now I can really really get it. Also, unrelated to my recent situation, I 100% agree that saying yes on all the day to day things when you’re an introvert is energy-sucking. I too can still fall into that trap in an effort to please.

    I’ve been reading your recent posts and I wish you strength and wisdom and courage in your ongoing transformation as you let go of what you’ve outgrown and move towards your truer self. Moving forward is always scary regardless of whether you know where you’re going. Hugs and love to you. xoxo

    1. Dearest Meghan, I have thought about you much lately at various moments, wondering how you have been. I’m so sorry to hear that it’s been a bit tough, or at least very transitional, for you lately. I hope that things are moving in the right direction for you now, that you are feeling a sense of re-grounding, and a positive vibe for a fresh start. I send you lots of love and light. And, please know, you can always email me or whatever, should you just want to connect. So much love to you. xoxo

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