Cultivating healthy personal boundaries is something that takes years, dare we say even an entire lifetime, to master. Finding a good balance between freely opening up to others and cautiously guarding our heart from the world is something that others cannot dictate or decide for us. Rather, it is something that we discover and learn on our own. After all, it concerns how we can express ourselves to others while maintaining our true and authentic selves.
In her book "Sharing my Light," Gretchen Peiffer directs us to a great place where we can start finding our own personal balance – one that involves looking after ourselves and letting our true voices be heard, regardless of whatever happens.
She identifies the situations wherein we may stretch ourselves too thin in the process of adjusting to the needs of others as one of the common reasons why we may not be able to open up as much. Being closed off all the time as a response to the stress of having to cater to others too much is a natural coping mechanism to protect ourselves and our peace of mind.
However, always being closed off in this way risks shutting people and opportunities out, especially those that may actually bring good energies into our lives. Because of this, Peiffer highlights the importance of trusting our intuition and being more self-aware of our decisions and actions.
Learning how to trust our intuition entails using both our head and heart intuitions when it comes to our everyday decisions and actions. Being more intuitive means that we should learn how to trust ourselves – both our logical and emotional sides – and the decisions that we make in situations where we have to decide whether or not to open up to people. Through this, we ourselves may be able to get a sense of what our healthy personal boundaries are while simultaneously tearing down our personal walls that may prevent others from being closer to us.
Being more self-aware, on the other hand, means being in tune with what we think and feel. It’s natural for us to get in over our heads, especially when we are faced with overwhelming situations, and so Peiffer reminds us to take a step back when everything becomes too much and do a quick internal check. Get our head and heart on the same page, then dive back into the situation when we are ready once more.
At the same time, we should also be careful not to overthink or overanalyze everything that is happening around us and every action that the people around us take. Overthinking drains our energies that may be channeled towards more positive things, adds to our feelings of being overwhelmed, and forces us to act in fear all of the time, which consequently restrains us. Peiffer reminds us that there are times when we should just let things flow as they are and flow along with them as part of the process of overcoming our worries. Fear is a natural thing of life, but if we act in fear all of the time, then we would not be able to live at all.
And even if there would come situations where things do not work out, the fact that we gave it our best to try and make it work and learned something about ourselves after is what matters more. The risk of getting hurt physically and/or emotionally is something that we should not be afraid of because it is an inevitable part of life and the learning process. When things actually do not work out for us and/or for others, then we should take it in stride, pick ourselves back up, and continue forward with our new learnings and our own personal growth in mind.
Finding the balance between opening up and staying guarded is also finding ways to stay true to one's self while navigating through our environment and relationships with others. Opening up to people is naturally difficult and may even sound scary at times, but with the right attitude in approaching it and the right people by our side, we would be able to find the right balance of opening up and being guarded that works greatly for us.
Ultimately, what this balancing act teaches us is to live life fearlessly and without any regrets, to have trust not only in ourselves but also in the people around us and the natural processes of life. And to live life fearlessly without any regrets means to have more confidence in ourselves, our decisions and actions, and simply take the leap of faith for and on ourselves and others.
by Divina Aloisa Tolentino