I met with a client today and we found ourselves exploring boundaries.
Setting boundaries can feel like putting up walls between ourselves and others, or it can sometimes be like building a fortress around ourselves making it virtually impossible for others to reach us. I think boundaries often get a bad rap – I’m actually quite a big fan!!
We chose to think of our emotional boundaries as doors.
Hesitant to believe she was ‘worth’ protecting, we talked about the many different types of boundaries/doors that she could put in place to keep herself safe.
She was hesitant because she wanted to remain available to her family – yet she recognized that her family was often barging in without knocking; or breaking down doors to dump, criticize, hurt, judge and even abandon.
I think we have SO many options when thinking about our own emotional boundaries. It’s not simply a 10ft brick wall or wide open door.
I think we can choose to close the door to people who are hurtful, unhealthy or unsafe. However, I think that those closed doors can have windows in them, doorbells, key holes, knockers and even door handles through which people can ask for our permission to enter.
Sometimes we’ll have the strength, or the curiosity to see who’s there – other times, we may not. We may make the ‘right’ decision and things could go well, or we could make the ‘wrong’ decision and get hurt, be surprised or regret opening the door – either way we can choose to learn from our choice.
“The present moment is the only moment available to us, and it is the door to all moments.” — Thich Nhat Hahn
It was our choice. Our choice to answer, to open or to ignore. We were strong enough to put a door where there was once nothing…
When ‘things’ from our past get buried or ‘left behind closed doors’ it can be scary to think about opening those doors from our past.
People from our past may once have had keys, and permission to enter freely – but as we grow up we sometimes reflect back and realize we handed out keys too freely. It’s okay to ask for those keys back, or change the locks.
We hand out the keys. We can share parts of ourselves with close friends, with partners and with family. Not all doors need to be open to all people. We choose how many keys get cut.
Doors are meant to be both open & closed. Doors are strong. Doors set boundaries and keep us safe.
There’s an old wooden door in our office, an old key hangs on its door knob.
The key does not fit in the door – yet I love them both.
I think boundaries make us strong, and unique. We each get to set our own boundaries. Setting your boundaries establishes your limits – limits that are visible to others, and a reminder to ourselves. What’s behind those boundaries is precious. Those are your moments.
You are what is precious, and you are safe behind your doors.