How to Strengthen Your Personal Boundaries and Install An Energetic Boundary Shield - for Empaths, Healers and HSP's
Strong personal boundaries are the key to thriving as a highly functioning empathic human. Without healthy energetic boundaries you are likely to be dragging yourself through your days exhausted, stretched and unable to hold your focus long enough to get much done.
You are also likely to become the target of abusive behavior, as well as becoming the mule to shoulder everyone else’s burdens. (People coming to you for relief and dumping their sh*t on you, leaving feeling magically lighter and brighter while you wallow in misery). Any of these sound familiar at all?
If you’re an empath, you’re probably already well aware of this basic energetic boundaries issues. You may have been working with this for some time already, but if you’re still struggling with maintaining healthy boundaries, you just might need a little more support in recognizing the symptoms of boundary violations, clearing and strengthening your energetic field.
This is a revised excerpt from my Boundaries + Breathwork Cosmic Playbook. Sign up here if you'd like to learn about the upcoming “Boundaries for Empaths” course when it's released.
What causes unhealthy, messy or non-existent boundaries?
People with no boundaries are often the ones who have suffered the most in this life. Empaths and Highly Sensitive People (HSP) are the most vulnerable (and the truth is that almost all children are born as HSP’s! This is our natural state).
Weak, messy or non-existent boundaries are often the result of imprints and holes in the auric field due to unhealed trauma, abuse in all forms, loss, and “survival stuff.” Transgressions in any form — whether energetic, emotional or physical – experiences that sparked anger, fear, confusion, embarrassment, anguish, remorse, shock and outrage. These are the ones that stick with us. They are often strongest from the childhood and coming-of-age years but can occur at any stage of our lives. They are also often inherited from our parents and through our ancestral lineage.
These boundary issues are also common for natural born healers, sensitives and others who are called to be of service to others in this life. People with bad personal boundaries – such as perpetrators of abuse and violence against women and children are also commonly those who have experienced such boundary violations themselves in early childhood.
Transgressions against your personal boundaries are inevitable to experience as a human, but once you have a strong energetic boundaries practice in place you will: A) experience far less boundary violations; and B) know how to handle them better if/when they do occur.
Common Symptoms of Weak Energetic Boundaries
Are you someone with difficulty saying no, trouble avoiding taking on other peoples stuff, often bogged down by the energy and projections of others — especially family members? Are you the mule and the healer of the family, always putting aside your own needs to rescue everyone else? These are all common symptoms of weak, messy or non-existent energetic boundaries.
Are you someone who seems to struggle through everything and anything because “life is hard”?
There is a belief that “no pain = no gain” that is ingrained in almost everyone in modern society — if you work hard and struggle, you’ve earned the reward. Most people are unaware, but this is just another basic Boundary Issue!
When you consistently put aside your own happiness and health for the sake of others, or for the sake of an end-goal that never seems reachable, you are basically laying down and saying to the universe: I'm all yours!! Use me for all I’ve got! Unless you have a very specific reason for this that is tempered by strong boundaries and community support, this is just fully dropping your boundaries and not stating what you are willing or not to do for "the cause." It’s really a zero-sum game, because no one benefits from this if you are fixing people without empowering them, and to top it off you are breaking down as a result.
These are all symptoms of weak, messy or non-existent boundaries. Here are just a few more:
• Getting overwhelmed by the energy or emotions of your friends and loved ones.
• Taking on everyone else’s problems while you’re left drained and your own needs are
• Over-empathizing with all people, even when it’s not called for (such as the case of a violent criminal who has received a harsh prison sentence).
• Drama seems to follow you wherever you go.
• Continuously overwhelmed because its impossible to stay on top of all the things you have started
and not been able to finish.
• Extremely challenged in keeping your house in order and finding what you need
when you need it.
• Always running late (with a great excuse!).
• Never having enough time while your co-workers and family members continually pile
more stuff to do on your plate.
• Extreme fear of saying no and/or disappointing others.
• Getting bogged down or enraged by the energy of those you come into contact with,
in particular those in authority positions.
These are common symptoms for many empaths and highly sensitive persons, and the truth is we are all sensitive beings at our core. We can ALL benefit from stronger, brighter, healthy boundaries.
You may believe it’s just a symptom of your highly creative or quirky artist style, your HSP or introvert personality, or perhaps it’s just more discipline and focus that’s needed. For the most part, however, I have found this is actually a result of unhealed traumas we have experienced in life, or taken on from our direct family and ancestral lineage, and the weak energetic boundaries that have come as a result.
Weak energetic boundaries lead to weak physical boundaries. That’s why we have so much trouble saying no to what we don’t want, and saying yes to what we really want.
The Best All-Purpose Empath Boundary Shield
Good boundaries are not necessarily giant concrete walls topped with barbed wire to keep everyone and everything out. It’s not a fortress that no one can ever enter! Rather, they are clearly defined parameters around what is allowed, and what is not. They are like a safe energetic cushion for you to rest inside, knowing that even if someone is “in your space” you are not going to suck up all their negative energy and projections.
The best way I know to combat potential energetic and physical boundary violations is to raise your light strong, and install it in such a way that it continues shining inside and around you. Here’s how:
1. Feel your feet firmly planted on the earth and Call on the Creator, God/Goddess/Universal Life Force and your high self team to support you in this process.
2. Visualize your entire body infused with the light of your true self. Now notice as you allow that light to grow and extend a minimum of 10-15 feet all the way around you.
3. Buffer this shielf of light with the declaration that "only the highest true love consciousness can enter this space." Hold the intention that anything less will be burned up by the fire of love — a gate of white-hot fire you have installed around you.
4. Finally if you wish, you can support and balance that fire energy with an energetic moat of water inside if you wish. Draw that moat, visualize and call it in. Then take a couple deep breaths, anchor the intention inside yourself, and give thanks to your helpers.
Learning how to heal and clear your energy is the foundation piece for strengthening your personal boundaries on the energetic, emotional, and physical level. From there it’s all about RAISING YOUR LIGHT. This practice will help you heal your energy at a basic level, but there is a lot more work you can do, and for that I recommend the Healing Breathwork practice I teach.
One way to look at the energetic boundary is as a bright shield of fire and light with a very clearly defined entrance and exit gate. You can still choose to let love in (and you can also let it flow out if you want!). Once you are protected by your clearly defined energetic boundary, you can give freely of your essence without fear of being hurt as a result of sharing love.
You can learn to work with the energy of fire better, and seek to develop that relationship further and it will support you in every aspect of your life. There are some more resources below that can help with that.
Try the simple practice I shared here and find out what it means to do this in real life. Notice how it changes everything from how you show up to how others respond to you. Once you feel safe in your own skin you may notice your Spirit will also emerge more brightly, along with your overall energy levels and productivity.
If you are a healer, you cannot afford not to do this work. If you are an empath or an HSP, you understand that if you don't take care of yourself first, you are useless to take care of anyone else! Self Care is a revolutionary act.
Good luck and Godspeed!
“[Fire] can never really be tamed, but you can learn to work respectfully with fire and contain it with your boundaries. You can learn to keep a good bucket of water nearby.”
“When you recalibrate your energy to its original luminous frequency of pure light — that of the “unborn” or pre-natal essence in Taoist medicine — you allow for the true wonders of existence to manifest in your life, attracting high energy people, positive energy and more opportunities for feeling frickin’ amazing.”
On learning more about working with your energetic boundaries and the many symptoms or weak and messy boundaries, I highly recommend this book by Cyndi Dale: Energetic Boundaries: How to Stay Protected and Connected in Work, Love, and Life
This article is an updated excerpt from my Boundaries + Breathwork Cosmic Playbook. If you would like to learn about the upcoming "Boundaries for Empaths" program when it's released, please sign up here.