IMAGE: Breaching boundaries can leave us a bit wrecked… © Louise A. Shilton (Shipwrecks in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, Kiribati.)
Developing healthy boundaries is hugely important on the journey of awakening, as we open ourselves up to greater feeling and love. As a highly sensitive person who is acutely tuned to the energies and emotions of others—an empath—I learned ‘the hard way’ how to protect myself energetically. (See You Say I’m Emotional Like it’s a Bad Thing!)
When I met energetics teacher Lee Harris in 2012, he commented on how my energy field was warm, open, and very wide. He described how attuned I was to what was going on for others even if they just passed me by in the street. He was right. Then at 40 years of age I knew it was a gift—a gift that I needed to get under control—but for much of my 30s I had felt that it was more of a curse being so tuned in to the pain, emotions, and real motivations behind the words and actions of others.
We Are Energetic Beings
As energetic beings our energy fields overlap with others to some degree, and we can get drawn into what is going on for them unless we have healthy boundaries in place. Far from limiting connection with others, healthy boundaries allow a greater flow of love-based energy, while filtering out fear-based and negative energies that can leave you feeling fraught or drained in another’s company.
Generally speaking, boundaries are required most with people who are disconnected from their own words and actions—people who are not being authentic or behaving with integrity. Inauthenticity can be subtly manipulative or it can be overtly so. People who are called “drama queens” are typically avoiding processing their own feelings—they externalise what is happening to them by getting others involved in their emotions, rather than doing the work needed to resolve and release the energy themselves. If you don’t set boundaries with these people, they can suck you into their vortex of negativity and chaotic energy.
Make no mistake, repeatedly engaging with “drama queens”—people who are not taking responsibility for identifying their own triggers and healing their own wounds—can leave you feeling exhausted, and can literally deplete your adrenal function if you do not take care of yourself. (Anything that repeatedly stresses us can affect adrenal function and cause physiological fatigue as the body’s response to the stressors is to engage in a ‘fight or flight’ function. In these times of information overload, political and media fear-mongering, environmental toxins and escalating social stressors, adrenal fatigue and chronic fatigue are increasingly common health issues—but they can be rectified with healthy nutrition, identifying and minimising exposure to emotional triggers, healing soul wounds, and setting healthy boundaries—especially with people who exhibit patterns of toxic behaviour.)
Know Thyself: Understand Your Own Energetic Needs
In some ways I’ve always had strong boundaries, so I didn’t readily understand my own energetic needs. For example, I’ve always been independent and never easily led by others—even in my teens I found it relatively easy to say “no” to invitations to do things like smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, take drugs, have sex with someone who wanted me, or do other things that I didn’t feel like doing. I’ve never been a clique person, or a follower of the crowd. Both in my personal and professional life I’ve often observed that some people seemed threatened by me just for me being me—sometimes they engaged with others to ‘gang up against’ me. I didn’t really understand why my strong sense of self bothered them so much until more recent years—now I understand it’s energetic.
In my last employee job several years ago, working for an environmental NGO, I had to deal with yet another manager trying to bully me and prevent me from doing the work that I had been recruited to do. Again I found myself wondering what their problem was. Yes, I was more appropriately qualified than them for their position, but no, I had no interest in a managerial role. So far as I was concerned, I was not a threat to their job—I just wanted to do work that I believed was worthwhile, and do it well. In this position I really tried not to ruffle any feathers—I was tired of inadvertently rubbing up against egos in workplaces and having insecure managers using hierarchy to try and cramp my style. I also had a lot of other things going on in my life—like integrating contact from the spirit of a soulmate who had passed over into my daily life, learning to trust this contact as a guide, and doing my best to understand and honour what our souls had agreed to achieve together (I write more about this in other blogs, such as Honouring Spirit). I wanted an easier time of it in the workplace, but that wasn’t on the cards…
The workplace situation got nasty. My big, tough campaign manager crumbled before my eyes when I calmly told him in a one-on-one meeting that he had acted inappropriately and lied about a situation to make it look like I wasn’t up to doing my job. He got up saying “I can’t handle this” as I looked him in the eye and repeated that yes, I was indeed saying that his version of events was fabricated, and I didn’t appreciate the untenable position he had put me in. He tried to have me formally disciplined for “insolence” in a workplace that claimed it was egalitarian and non-hierarchical. This was all the more ironic because he had repeatedly tried belittling me by questioning whether I was tough enough for the job (which metaphorically required ‘balls’). Both in one-on-one meetings and in front of others, my manager repeatedly told me that I needed to have the ability to calmly stand my ground in an adverse situation—something that I had repeatedly reassured him that I was more than capable of doing. Apparently he wasn’t listening…
Not standing up for myself was not an option. But I was weary of having situations like this arise in my life. I soul searched. I consulted my spirit guides. And I spoke with a skilled psychic medium, Lesley, who had become a friend of mine. I’ll never forget the pivotal moment when I spoke with Lesley on the phone and mentioned that I was having trouble with my new manager, even though I had really tried to keep a low profile and to not ruffle feathers. It wasn’t news to her—she had already tuned into the energy of the situation. “Don’t you get it yet?” she asked me. “Get what?” I responded. “It’s not what you do—it’s WHO YOU ARE that bothers them!”
Who I am?
I recalled that one time I visited Lesley in her mediumship capacity in Cairns a year or two earlier, when I was considering resigning from a job on principle—which I did shortly afterwards—she had declared “You can’t hide your light under a bushel!” and she referred to this again now. She talked about how the scene was set the moment they (managers and other people who were threatened by me) met me—that it didn’t really matter what I did from then on. (I remember thinking that this insight shed new light on the old adage “First impressions count”! Hmmm.)
Lesley explained that people who were out of integrity would be threatened by me because they knew that I could not be manipulated or coerced—once they got a whiff of the fact that I wasn’t going to play their game, they would set about trying to quash me as I threatened their way of operating. Of course, they didn’t necessarily understand what was driving them—it was energetic.
Although I remained strong in my convictions, and I saw the NGO workplace situation through to an outcome that was acceptable to me, it was still a draining experience. I had been through a series of life traumas over the previous several years—my body was fatigued, and I craved and easier and less eventful time in my life. (See A Long Road to Recovery and Telepathic Communication from a Soul at the Moment of Passing Over.)
Only after the Universe sent me a chemical (mineral turps) poisoning that razed me to the ground—and literally stopped me in my tracks—did I start to seriously look at the cumulative impact of stressful situations on my physical body. I had no choice. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. This time it was literally about my survival.
Within a month or so of the chemical poisoning I was guided to information about energetic shielding and protection. I first learned some techniques from Doreen Virtue’s Angel Therapy Handbook. It was a revelation to me that we could protect ourselves in these ways! My initial skepticism subsided as I found that I really did benefit from using energetic shielding and calling upon Archangel Michael—the Divine Protector—to cut cords and clear out fear and negativity from my physical and energetic bodies. I also worked out that my adrenals were exhausted and I began a home protocol for repairing my body. It was late 2012, and I continued clearing my body of physical (chemical) and energetic (emotional) toxins through dietary changes and daily affirmations, as well as using a range of energy clearing and cord cutting/disconnection techniques from other teachers, such as Lee Harris and Jennifer Hoffman.
As I prioritised looking after myself in these new ways, I was shown that some people in my life were ‘energy vampires’ and that I needed to minimise my interactions with such folk. A few people simply became unable to interact with me as I shielded myself from bad intentions and stood my ground in a clearer, calmer, and more confident way than before. (My ‘weakness’, as with many sensitive but strong people, had been that because I felt others’ needs acutely I was a natural ‘rescuer’—I had to overcome the lifetimes-long habit of self-sacrifice in order to save myself.)
“Those of you who struggle with boundaries will have people awareness to a very high degree.” Lee Harris (Boundaries)
I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve provided energetic shielding and cord cutting information to since I discovered these tools myself. From the outset I just thought “everyone should know this stuff!” I lamented that it had taken me until I was 40 years old to learn about energetic protection—geez, I could have had an easier time of it if I had known these things years earlier! But I also knew that it was my path to “learn the hard way” and triumph over the range of physical, emotional and other challenges that I have overcome in this life. (Something my Higher Consciousness has confirmed to me repeatedly since I have been practising Dolores Cannon’s Quantum Healing Hypnosis Technique.)
You see, having healthy boundaries is not just about having the confidence to say “no”…
Having Healthy Boundaries is Energetic
As energetic beings, not only do our energy fields overlap with others we are in physical proximity with, but our interactions with others create energetic cords. Many teachers describe that there are love-based energetic cords, and there are other cords containing fear and negativity. Only the latter present an issue, and energetic clearing and cord cutting techniques should leave anything love-based intact. (If someone scares you into thinking cutting energetic cords is severing a love connection, ignore them! Remember—fear is the opposite of love, and where there is real love, fear cannot exist.)
A fleeting interaction with someone serving you in a shop, for example, may create a single energetic cord, whereas people we repeatedly interact with can generate multiple cords of attachment. Therefore, clearing negative energies and cutting cords with family members, current or former partners, etc, may take more work initially. But I can attest from personal experience, it really is worth it! Once you are relatively clear of others’ energies, you will find it not only easier to maintain your own energy field—a feeling of being centred and grounded—but you will become more aware and more attuned to when someone is trying to interfere with your energy. When using cord cutting techniques, I recommend that you specify both the cords that have been attached to you by others, as well as cords that you have attached to others.
For the techniques to work, your desire has to be true. You also need to be ready for relationships with others to shift. Often relationships may improve as you begin energy clearing work and enhance your own boundaries. But where there is a pattern of co-dependency, abuse (emotional or physical), manipulation (no matter how subtle), cutting cords and clearing energies may result in some relationships ending—at least temporarily—and you should be prepared for this.
Something I have learned over the last few years is that as we individually step into our own authentic power, claim our energetic sovereignty, and integrate more of our spirit’s higher vibration energy (i.e. raise our vibration)—what feels good to us does not necessarily feel good to others.
“When you start to uncover your own authentic fire in life, boundaries will often play a part. So it might take a year or two years for you to go through the people in your life … and rewire some of their perceptions about you and who you are.” Lee Harris (Authentic Power)
It’s seductive to think that other people in our life will be happy for us as we improve ourselves, and may even bask in our light and follow suit by working on themselves. But actually, what can happen is that our energy becomes uncomfortable for others who are not ready—or do not want—to do their own healing and growth work. People who are stuck in unhealthy patterns may not be ready to change. People who are avoiding acknowledging and processing their own feelings (such as “drama queens”) may squirm, and resist what you are showing them—they may even try to keep you dulled down in an effort to stop you from stepping into your power and shining your light. (Jennifer Hoffman and Lee Harris both address what happens for others as we integrate more light, and expertly explain why some people behave as “light-dimmers” or attempt to throw water on your soul fire.)
If we are not prepared to let go of the people who do not want us to change and grow, we can hold back our own progress. If we let others keep us in situations that no longer serve us, we are giving away our power—and this, in essence, is a boundary issue.
It’s important for our continued soul growth and expansion that we learn to align ourselves with people who support our growth. A favourite affirmation along these lines is Jennifer Hoffman’s “All people in my life love, honour and respect me”. (Repeat this to yourself as often as you like.)
All People in My Life Love, Honour and Respect Me
In the last few years I have had several situations where someone I thought was a friend has actually shown me that they do not truly love, honour and respect me. In the instances that this has happened, I recognised that their poor behaviour was possibly more of a surprise to them than it was for me. They then felt exposed and uncomfortable around me as they were aware that their inner world had surfaced and been revealed externally. I am open to anyone talking to me with self-awareness that they have behaved badly towards me. But where self-awareness is lacking, I find that I naturally let people go when a certain line has been crossed. It’s energetic.
Several months ago someone who I had known as more than an acquaintance, and considered a friend for a few years, suddenly revealed that she harboured jealousy and spite towards me. As well as showing some resentment of the ease with which I can communicate with my spirit guide, she also displayed some jealousy around WHO my spirit guide is, and that there was an element of her not wanting things to work out for me and my twin flame—in other words, not wanting our destined soul reunion to happen, at least not in the near future. (I have touched on twin flames in other blogs—a twin flame is literally the other half and complementary aspect of our own soul.)
This person is one of only very few people that I have talked openly with about my twin flame. When we first met, I did not know that this person shared friendship connections with my twin flame (or that my twin flame was more to me than a close soulmate)—but such are the synchronicities and guidance of the Universe that there are links.
The twin flame dynamic that has been playing out for me for almost five years has taught me so much about myself, and others. Amongst other things, a twin flame teaches you a lot about honouring boundaries, as the connection between true twin flames cannot be severed by either twin flame partner, or anyone else—the bond between true twin flames is unconditional love. As anyone who has tried to shift a twin flame connection will know, cord cutting techniques have limited efficacy with your twin—the soul connection exists regardless of geographical separation or choices individuals make to not communicate with their twin in the physical.
As they are part of the same soul, what affects our twin flame affects us too. So a twin flame who is in fear and denying feeling the connection with the other—which, ironically, is typically a phase one or both twin flame partners go through before they are ready to surrender to the inevitable soul reunion—is directly hurting themself, as they are withholding true love from themself. Therefore, if one twin flame partner directs poor intentions towards their twin, or allows other people in their world to disrespect and disregard their twin, they are actually disrespecting and sabotaging themself. And so it follows that if one of the twin flame partners allows people in their world to control and manipulate them in an attempt to stifle their growth and prevent them from reaching their highest potential, their twin will feel it. (Because in essence we are all One—from the same Source energy—this is true in the broader context of interconnectedness. We are all connected, and so the ripple effects of harming others are felt to varying degrees within the collective. But our twin flame aspect is so energetically close to us, the effects and impacts are more direct and immediately felt.)
I knew that I loved my twin unconditionally before I understood that she was more than a very close soulmate. (In fact, I knew this before I even saw a photo of her.) But learning that she was my twin flame three years after recognising her in person shed new light on why the dynamic between us was playing out as it was. While I respect the choices my twin has made for herself, and her need to learn and grow at her own pace, I simply will not tolerate anyone with ill intentions trying to get between us in an attempt to curtail our soul reunion—or derail our shared soul mission with our much loved soulmate in spirit—and there have been many people attempting to do so, with varying degrees of success. Several people who witnessed the power of the connection between my twin and I when we first met have acted out of jealousy, rather than in support of the love between us. Mostly these people are in my twin’s world, but one of them also straddled my world as a housemate for a while in the early days, and went to great lengths to try and keep my twin from communicating with me, while pretending—at least initially—that she was supportive of my twin and I connecting in person. (Twin flame meddlers are mentioned as “dark forces” working against the twin flame reunion in Kathleen Cranton‘s “Twin Flame Reunion Mastery” eBook.)
Once I sense that someone feels they have ‘currency’ in the soul connection between my twin flame and I, or that their personal insecurities and jealousies override their support of us uniting in love and service—an energetic line is drawn for me. There is a line that people cross—and for me, trying to chisel between the bond of unconditional love I share with my twin is a clear line. It’s simply not acceptable. If someone doesn’t truly want the best outcome for me—if they don’t want me to fulfil my highest potential and honour my soul’s mission of service in this life—then they are not acting as a true friend. It’s that simple. I let these people go with love, but will not engage in trying to win them over—they need to look within, and grow in self-awareness.
But it’s not just relationships with twin flames or other soulmates that might attract the interference of others. People meddle in others’ lives all too often for all sorts of reasons—ultimately it’s power play. Generally speaking, the ones attempting to have power over you and your life circumstances are deeply insecure and unhappy in themselves. Rather than work on themselves to heal their own wounds, they seek to elevate themselves by putting you down or manipulating situations so that you make choices that suit them, rather than make choices that are truly best for you. As humans we need to learn that this is not acceptable behaviour no matter WHO this person is to us—whether they are a parent, a sibling, a workplace manager, a partner, or a friend—manipulation and coercion are not okay. (As a collective we are shifting out of a paradigm that supports manipulation, deception and control, into one where love, integrity and compassion are core.)
For me, the true spiritual path acknowledges that we are all powerful, sovereign beings. Our essence—our soul—is from the same Source. In order to fully step into our own power, we need to be clear about our boundaries and protect our energetic bodies as naturally as we would protect ourselves in the face of physical harm. As humans we are at different stages on our journeys of awakening and reclaiming our sovereignty and power, and until such time as we are all operating with absolute integrity and love, we must employ healthy boundaries. We must love, honour and respect ourselves first and foremost, and invite others to do the same. We lead by example.
“Though asserting your boundaries rarely feels ‘good’ in the moment, it is ultimately a loving gesture to recognize someone’s capability and say, “I expect better from you.” To say NO is a potent medicine which places responsibility where it truly belongs, and invites the other to live up to honouring those limits.” Toko-pa
If you recognise that you can be left drained or emotionally stirred up by others, there are many great resources available online for creating and maintaining healthy boundaries—such as techniques for energetic shielding and protection, and cutting energetic cords.