I’ve known intellectually for a long time that vulnerability is a strength, but it was not until I took my fingers to a keyboard and expressed this candidly, and relatively publicly, did I truly felt the effects of this… strength in vulnerability
Sooo, you may be wondering what vulnerability has to do with boundaries.
Quite a lot in fact. You see, we believe that showing vulnerability shows weakness, and showing weakness would imply being taken advantage of. For a lot of us, we also really battle with setting (and enforcing) boundaries. This doesn’t really make sense right?
Earlier this week I talked about how getting angry is a real requirement to holding firm in one’s boundaries, and not in the sense of being an angry hot head, but more so in practicing feeling and expressing these emotions maturely, to create a strong and healthy emotional immune system – this is where the vulnerability lies…
One can only feel safe being vulnerable and in turn experience the strength and power of showing our true, authentic selves when we have well-constructed boundaries in place… when WE feel ok with what we’re feeling.
The secret sauce to boundary setting is ultimately being totally ok with who you are and not being afraid to express that.
It’s about getting clear in terms of what you want, what you like (and don’t like), your standards, your expectations, your limitations, what is comfortable to you and what is not, then ensuring that you deliver that to yourself first before expecting anyone else to. To know your standards, expectations, and limitations, I guess we also need to have a sense of self-worth, a believing that we deserve to expect these standards. For this, there is a required vulnerability with yourself here as well. There is a vulnerability in giving yourself compassion, and also discipline. There is a believing in yourself, and letting yourself off the hook – that takes honesty and integrity, which can be extremely vulnerable.
We must begin creating safety, trust, and self-worth within before we can expect others to provide that for us. I say this, and it’s a tough pill for me to swallow too, because we can’t really unequivocally rely on other people, even our most beloved. And this is not to say that they are bad or ill intended, but honestly life is so darn unpredictable, we cannot risk putting our eggs in one basket, unless we are sure we can lay more ourselves.
Self-worth and boundaries go hand-in-hand – when we believe we are worth being treated better, we can easily make decisions about what we will accept, what we will tolerate, what we will stand for, and what we will not.
And how do we cultivate more self-worth? By holding boundaries with ourselves first… Keeping our promises to ourselves first… Raising the standards for ourselves first… We cannot expect others to respect us and our boundaries if we don’t respect ourselves and out boundaries first.
I get it, boundaries are a complex territory mostly because for so many of us we’ve had quite conflicting examples being modelled to us… those extremes of selfless over-giving people pleasers vs. the tyrannical, overly expectant now-days’ classified narcs. The irony, is both these extremes lack true self-worth, and inevitably are terrified to be vulnerable in showing their truest, most authentic, and most powerful selves.
As I deepen my practice, learning, and experience into coaching the unconscious mind, I am quite impressed by how much the external symptoms we experience are rooted again and again in us simply needing to be ok with being authentic. Our world has us run ragged trying to be everything that we are not, that we are missing out on so much brilliance in us expressing, loving, and appreciating who we really are.