I’ve been in therapy a few times in my life. The last time was in my early 40s.
One of the questions that was asked of me was “What are your boundaries? When do you say no?” This was significant because the majority of my life I had molded myself to behave in an acceptable manner. For everyone else, their set of parameters is malleable, and therefore my set became nonexistent as I had to be ready for the next set. So here I am a decade later still figuring out what my boundaries really are, trying to tease them out from amongst others. They are emergent but visible just as my art is.
When I first started enforcing my limits, it came as a shock to those I lived with. There was much effort spent trying to get me to return to my former chameleon state. It was a challenge to not just slip back into old patterns of behaviour that pleased everyone else but me.
I also have difficulty knowing when and where to express my asks to others. It is in my nature to quietly observe in the beginning to get a feel for the other. Many extroverts take this as an open ended invitation to continually take up conversational space. I get that. I too like to be heard. So when I do express a desire to be heard, to voice my opinion or boundary, it can come off as an affront to those who are used to me just listening. Forgive me, I am still practicing this and I will get better at it.
My boundaries are mostly about being kind to others, having compassion, and allowing others to live with dignity and respect. These are pretty broad I know. But I do have some specific ones that appear when needed. I just choose not to randomly share, which upon reading what I have written is a boundary (pats herself on the back).
Part of discovering where I draw the line has involved some discomfort and observation, some experimentation and failure, and some revelations and joy. I have learned about what makes me tick and I have begun a spiritual journey. If you want to discuss this, feel free to ask me questions. I am now confident enough with myself to engage in a conversation about my process.
For those of you who have found your boundaries early in life, congratulations. For those of you who have lost them or/and are still discovering them, congratulations. We are all in these sentient envelopes experiencing what it is to be human. May your path be interesting and filled with joy, light and love.