Not everyone deserves a place in your heart. But closing ourselves off isn’t the answer either.
Boundaries can become fortresses. And then we wonder why no one can ever break through.
Yet it’s not always about setting every boundary under the sun with each individual person in your life. It’s about showing up as the person you want to be, and watching the magic that unfolds as a direct and specific result of your shift.
Can we allow life to happen, while also trusting ourselves to be able to handle issues as they come up? Can we show up in a way that simply repels what we are not ok with accepting?
In this episode, we’re talking:
Boundaries is a conversation – and challenge – I hear from many listeners and clients. Do you struggle with boundaries? I’d love to chat more about this topic with you. Email me at email@example.com or DM me on Instagram @emilygoughcoach. Thank you for listening and please let me know your takeaways from this or other episodes!
CONNECT WITH EMILY
I am Emily Gough, a human connection coach, writer, and speaker with an insatiable sense of curiosity and adventure, always asking more questions and using the power of stories to teach, learn, and Grow. We boldly explore relationships, connection, and the nuances and complexities of the human experience with compassion, honesty, and a sense of humor. With both solo episodes and highly curated guests,
sharing incredible stories, experiences, and expertise. The Room to Grow Podcast takes the entire idea of growth to the next level, all while covering the uncomfortable topics many of us would like to avoid. There’s always more room to grow. Let’s do this. Hey there. Welcome back to The Room to Grow podcast Emily here. And we are going to have a little chat about boundaries today.
This is such a hot topic word in the online space. I feel like we’re just sort of in general the last few years is all of this talk about boundaries. And I have done some other episodes that relate to this. I’ll list in the show notes. One of them, episode 2 93 is about choosing your, your family and establishing healthy boundaries. Episode 1 0 8 is about how to set boundaries because they’re the key to healthy relationships.
And episode 2 77, 1 of my personal favorites is are you waiting around to be chosen and talking about standards, boundaries, and expectations? But sometimes I think that, and I’ve been examining this in my own life, by the way, too, again, I always, I always reiterate a lot of the things that I like, everything I talk about here on the podcast are things that I have either already gone through or I may even sometimes be talking about something that I am needing to remind myself of as well as anyone who might be listening.
So I think that sometimes we, we can, we can take the boundaries conversation too far, especially because it’s becomes such a, a hot sort of topic and very popular esque topic that we can turn boundaries into fortresses, that we build around our hearts, and we can take boundaries so far that we actually close ourselves off. And not everyone deserves a place in your heart.
Okay? I’m the first one to tell you that. But one thing that I know for sure is that closing ourselves off isn’t the answer either. And pain, miscommunications, feeling misunderstood, confusion, heartbreak, like most of those things, they often all stem when we really boil it down, they often all stem from shutting ourselves off and not willing to be truly seen or,
or not feeling able to be truly seen, even though that’s actually our deepest desire, right? Not feeling able to receive love or being able to open to be a safe space for someone else to express their vulnerability. It’s, it’s confronting to open and to make ourselves vulnerable that way. It’s also necessary because nothing good comes from closing ourselves off. But when we turn boundaries,
which I’m not saying the boundaries aren’t necessary, they are necessary, especially if you’re someone who has struggled with a total lack of boundaries in the past and have had moments of feeling completely walked all over, that’s a process that’s gonna start with a lot of self-reflection first. And then, yes, you’re, you’re absolutely likely going to put some boundaries in place,
but when we turn boundaries into fortresses that we build around us, then we wonder why no one can ever break through. And, and that’s where we can almost put ourselves up on a pedestal. And then we we’re like, well, why can no one reach me? Why, why can no one climb up here? Well, it’s because we’ve set ourselves so far apart and,
and put so many layers and blockades between us and the other person, and then we’re, we’re expecting them to do all of the work to break down all of our barriers. Is that fair? Right. Not only is that, is that potentially not fair? But that’s, that’s really hard for anyone else to do. And, and like anything else,
I mean, again, there’s so much nuance to this, but, but ultimately, I think you have to decide what you are no longer an energetic and energetic match for, and then become that person. You have to allow yourself to, to reclaim yourself, to reclaim your power, to be a stronger and braver version of yourself. It’s not always about setting every boundary under the sun with each individual person in your li in your life either.
It’s about showing up as the person that you want to be and watching the magic that unfolds as a direct and very specific result of your shift. But this is the other area where we can take boundaries too far, because when we start looking at all of the individual relationships in our life going, okay, well, with this person, you know, they can,
this relationship has this particular dynamic, so I need to put up these, all of these boundaries with that person. And then over here, I’ve got somebody else that, you know, they can, I feel like sometimes they can maybe take advantage of me. I need to put up this, this, this, and this boundary. I’m not saying don’t have boundaries,
but I am saying that it’s also exhausting from an energetic standpoint to, to try to create all of these rules in our head where we have a different set of boundaries for each individual relationship that we have in our life that is exhausting to manage, that is exhausting to manage. And this is where I’m saying like, decide what what you are going to become an energetic match for,
because then you won’t need to have all of these individual rules for each specific person. You will simply be showing up in a particular energetic way that people will then start to be drawn into match that, because other people who don’t reach at that particular level, who, who are on a different level, not necessarily better or worse, just a different level,
will probably actually just naturally be repelled by that a little bit. Again, that’s not to say that, that when you do all of your personal development work, that there won’t still be people who will test your boundaries and who are maybe the wrong people in your life that are coming into your life, and that you, you’ll never have to manage that again.
Yes, you will still have to be conscious of that sometimes, of course, but you can make a decision about what you choose to no longer experience. And I want to give you an example of this, because otherwise this, this can seem very abstract. I decided what I was no longer, this was, you know, it, it’s been an ongoing process,
but especially a couple years ago, I decided what I was no longer willing to tolerate in relationships. And I’m often asked now how it is that I am, and I, I’m talking romantic relationships, by the way, but, but kind of just in general. And, and I’m often asked now how it is that I’m surrounded by so many good men at this point.
I’m surrounded by nothing but good men at this point. And I had a conversation with a friend of mine a couple months ago, and he was saying how men can’t be trusted this coming from a man, right? So he was saying how men can’t be trusted. Now he, he does happen to be gay. So he was talking about it, he was also still talking about it in the romantic relationship sense.
But I let him know that that wasn’t my experience at this point, because there are so many good men who are incredible, trustworthy humans. And I’ve been doing this for many years actually. Like, I, I’m not, actually, I am not even interested in engaging in those types of conversations. And that’s nothing against my friend. He’s a sweetheart.
And we had a, we had a fantastic conversation as a result of, of this conversation. We had a great back and forth about it. But many years ago, I, I had been in a cycle of dating men who were not good for me over and over and over again. And I talk about this more. There’s an episode that I go into more detail about this,
about two very specific times that I have chosen to be single for an extended period to sort of readjust my own mindset. And the first of those times was in my early twenties. I’ll reference the podcast episode where I go into more details. But the, the first episode was in my early twenties. I’ve been dating men over and over again who were not good fits for me at all.
They, they were terrible choices for me to make, and I was getting really cynical, and I didn’t like that I was getting cynical. I was like, no, this is, this is not who I am. So I decided to completely stop dating for an undetermined length of time. I did not set a, a time limit on it, but I just thought,
I, I will know when I feel good about dating again. And it ended up being a full year. And during that time, I completely changed what I would listen to and engage with in terms of conversations too. And I am not down with male bashing sessions at all for that matter. I’m not down with women bashing sessions either to make it clear.
But if we are speaking in, you know, heterosexual terms with, with women bashing men, or in this case with, with my other friend, like just anyone kind of bashing men in terms of how they show up in romantic relationships, I’m not down with that. I, I have spent years I will disengage from those conversations. And it was interesting because when I first started doing it,
I, I started realizing just how many people around me at the time years ago were engaging in those types of conversations. And it wasn’t until I, I started actively recognizing that I no longer wanted to be a part of it, that I started realizing just how many of those conversations I had been involved with to begin with. And so I started removing myself from those conversations and disengaging.
And then it got to the point where I, I don’t actually often run into many of those conversations at all anymore, because the, the, the humans that I seem to end up having come into my life, they’re not about that. They, they aren’t really into that either. And so when I had this, this conversation with, with my friend,
I explained to him why I don’t engage in those conversations because, and he actually, he ended up agreeing with me and, and he said, I really like that perspective. I think I’m gonna adopt that myself because my experience with men changed for two reasons. One is that I changed what I was tolerating, Toler tolerating, what is that? Can’t talk.
Today I’m recording two episodes back to back, and I feel like I’m, I feel like I’m just tripping over my words at this point. I changed what I was tolerating and how I was showing up in the world, how I was showing up in my relationships. But the much bigger and more primary reason is that I changed what I was looking for in the world.
And I realized that there are people who will say yes. But then you got into a relationship, a long-term relationship where your partner was unfaithful to you for many years. Yes, that is true. I am not, I’m not negating that. But I also want to underscore the fact that even though that happened to me and I not, not happened to me,
happened for me, I choose to feel that it happened for me even since then. I think a lot of people would have expected me to, to them become really cynical. Like, oh, I can’t, I can’t trust anyone. I can’t trust any men. And yet I actually fell even more. I, I, I chose to feel even more strongly into the belief of how many good men there are.
And I have never had so many incredible men in my life as I do the, these past few years. And, and currently it’s incredible to me how many good men there are that I see all around me. We, we will get more of what we choose to see in the world. There’s a lot of perspectives, chefs, perspective chefs that are required for this.
And what’s interesting is that I am no longer even attracted to what I was once drawn to years ago. In fact, I’m repelled by it. We can’t change how someone else shows up in the world, but you can decide what you will and won’t tolerate and then become the thing that you’re seeking to stop putting up with your own bullshit too. Because sometimes,
yes, it, it is about us and about the choices we’ve made, not, not in a blaming way at all, that’s not to, to take away from the responsibility that other people have for their own choices and how they’ve maybe treated you, but simply acknowledging that we did the best we could with the information that we had at the time. And to start making the active decision to begin retraining and rewiring your brain to recognize something different,
to support the belief that you want to have and become whatever belief you’re tied to start looking for the opposite. It’s, it’s all basic confirmation bias, right? And what’s interesting is that last year there were a couple male clients that I’m thinking of in particular who, who were heterosexual and they were looking to get into relationship with women. And both of them felt so strongly that everyone around them was in a relationship except for them.
And, and it was really hurting their hearts. And you know, I like to tell that story to all of the women that come to me who feel like, you know, no, no heterosexual male out there wants a committed relationship. And I’m like, you know, of everyone who came to me last year saying how much they wanted a committed partnership and that they weren’t getting it,
it was actually the heterosexual men who were coming to me more telling me that. And when I tell women that their jaws drop because it completely shatters the belief that they’re holding that men don’t want to be in a committed relationship. And I’m not saying that every man out there does, I’m not saying every woman out there does no matter how you identify either,
but we get more of what we look for. And if you’re looking for the belief to support that all of a particular gender are, are untrustworthy, or that no one wants to get into a committed relationship or everyone is in a relationship with me, you are going to find all of the things to support that belief. You know, I also, I I recently underwent a bit of a pendulum swing in terms of some,
some boundaries and expectations and stuff like that. And, and I was very aware that I was in a pendulum swing, and I’ve been pretty good about, about boundaries in the past year or two. But after having some breakthroughs and, and realizations about myself, I, I swung hard towards being super at the, the very boundary, heavy, heavy end of the spectrum in reaction to a couple of people pushing me in ways that I was not prepared to receive.
They were pushing me with love, but I was not accepting of it because I was already in this boundary swing. This is kind of what gave me the idea initially for this episode around rethinking boundaries, because again, this is something I have had to deal with myself. And there’s a really beautiful quote that I found that really summed up how I wanted to sum up this,
this episode. And the quote is from Dr. J John, and he says, your quote, your boundary need not always be an an angry electric fence that shocks those who touch it. It can be a consistent light around you that announces I will be treated Sacredly, end quote, this is what I want you to remember about boundaries. It’s a delicate balance.
Yes, boundaries are necessary, but if we put up so many boundaries that no one can ever access us, then we’ve built a moat around us, and no one can ever reach or access us beyond these, these walls, this, this fortress that we’ve created. It doesn’t allow for the flow of life, the flow of energy, right? Restriction of energy can be taken too far.
And boundaries essentially restrict or, and, and or redirect energy and relationships will always require boundaries and compromises and, and all these things for them to be healthy, of course. But you also have to ask yourself sometimes are you, are you allowing your life to be lived in flow and the results that come from a life of flow? Like it’s, it’s an issue of control.
Like, can, can we allow life to happen while also trusting ourselves to be able to handle issues as they come up? Can we show up in a way that simply repels what we are not okay with accepting? And can we actually become the thing that we want to call in to, to, to change how it is that we are showing up in a way that announces to the world,
this is what I will accept and this is what I will not accept, right? So I, I really, I, I would really love to hear how this one goes. I do have some other episodes too that, that are really tied into this one. Again, I’ll, I’ll reference them all in the show notes, but episode 2 85, about when healthy love Feels scary,
episode two 90 about opening when you want to close and why withholding will damage your connections, episode 2 59 about following the path of released resistance and episode 2 97, all about setting intentions for a new year. But I also walk you through some really powerful visualizations in that episode that I think you could find really useful, especially when thinking about how we’re showing up energetically in the world.
Okay? So let me know how this goes. I’d love to hear it. And thank you so much for listening. We’ll be back soon. Thank you so much for listening. If you want more, one of the most common questions I get is, where do I even start doing this work to create deeper connections and better relationships? I’ve got a free 15 page guide for you called,
where Do We Begin? This is the very foundation that you need to start building healthy relationships with others and with yourself. This is my gift to you, and multiple people have referred to it as life-changing. You can find it over at Room to grow podcast.com or check the show notes to go download it and have it sent straight to your inbox. Thanks so much and stay tuned for more episodes weekly.
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