What’s Your Well-being Boundary?

I lay in our guest room bed thinking I had the Coronavirus. I was exhausted, my muscles ached, and I had an upset stomach. I had already disinfected the house, then disappeared to protect my family, ready for whatever was to come.

Thankfully, the next day, I got a rapid Covid test. In ten minutes, I found out it was negative, just a stomach virus.

But the experience was unnerving. If the stomach bug had crossed my own personal no-fly zone, clearly, a much more contagious Coronavirus germ could have too. The rush to my adrenal glands, to say nothing of my real fatigue and aches, took the oomph out of me.

Something strange seems to happen in my brain when I get sick. I have a really tough time accepting my own limitations especially when they are different from what they once were. I get impatient and “judgey” with myself.

Even after the illness had come and gone, I still felt so tired. I found myself asking, why couldn’t I do simple tasks that used to be so easy? Why weren’t my limits what I thought they should be?

All of this has gotten me thinking a lot about boundaries. Navigating our own and others’ seems to be as much about curiosity—figuring out what our boundaries really are—as it is about respecting them. What is and isn’t in our best interest changes all the time, depending on the situation and our frame of mind. It can be tough to keep up.

My latest theory is that anytime anything isn’t going well in our lives, it’s likely some boundary has been crossed. When we say yes to something that makes us feel separated from our true selves and integrity, or is not in our highest good, things often go awry.

Navigating and re-negotiating boundaries seems the theme of 2020. It’s global warming in a nutshell—the earth is letting us know what her limits are, yet we keep nudging, asking for just a little more even though in her own way, she’s clearly saying no.

Boundary issues are also what really seems to be going on behind all of our current crises–should or shouldn’t we wear masks, is protesting allowed and what should it look like if we do, should or shouldn’t we build a wall, should or shouldn’t we have healthcare, should or shouldn’t black lives matter, what really constitutes a crime in the boardroom, bedroom or ballot, and who gets to decide? All these questions are in their essence about the same thing–how well we respect our own and others’ personal boundaries and what happens when we don’t.

The truth is, life is messy and constantly changing.  Self-awareness seems to be the key. When we don’t live a life where honest self-reflection and evaluation are part of what we do, it is far more likely that we are crossing our own or others’ boundaries by default, without even being aware of it.

This week, I’m taking a good hard look at my own boundaries and  commitments, everything from how well I follow through on my promises to myself (like taking vitamins and exercising), how triggered I allow myself to get about things I have no control over, and how well I take care of my own highest good when making choices that are in my control, like how I spend my time.

I hope you are staying healthy, and your own journey around what is and isn’t healthy for you is a peaceful one.

(P.S. This past weekend, my husband and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary. We woke up before the sun and took a long walk on a nearby beach, where we discovered this cool tree stump in today’s photo (although I just realized this photo itself tells the story of a boundary crossed). Boundaries are as much about what we say YES to as they are about saying NO. For me, moments in nature with someone I deeply love is a great big YES!)

Copyright © 2020 Laurie Smith. All Rights Reserved. Photo credit: Laurie Smith

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *