What Do Boundaries Mean to Your Heart?

Over the last few months or year even I have found myself reconsidering how I feel about boundaries.  It’s taken me a while to come to any conclusion because it is actually quite a complex area to navigate.  I felt a much greater sense of ease when I was reacquainted with Tara Brach’s writing in particular The boundary to what we can accept is the boundary to our freedom. She calls us to go to a place of radical self-acceptance.

How does radical self-acceptance show up?

Think about the last time you had an argument with someone you loved.  What did you notice when you took the time to pause and sit with it?

Often when we are triggered we come from a place of fear-based reaction.  The conditioned self thinks there is something wrong.  If you feel hurt because there were cross words said in the heat of the moment, it can be hard to forgive.

And if you react from that place of pain you may push the person further away because it feels safer than allowing yourself to be hurt again.  The fear of rejection underpins so many of the reactions we witness in ourselves and others because we have been conditioned into a sense of deficiency.  Ingrained within consultancy is the practice of diagnosing what’s deficient within a system!

What if rather than striving for perfection you could see the journey of life as an opportunity to become whole?

Rather than transcending or vanquishing the difficult energies we consider wrong—the fear, shame, jealousy, anger— since this only creates more shadow and increases our sense of inadequacy, the invitation is to embrace life in all its messiness.  To do this we need to bring compassion to the parts of our being we have habitually ignored, pushed away, or condemned.

This kind of open acceptance and attention is radical because it goes against the more usual pattern that what’s happening is wrong.  As you breathe into what is present when in pain, Tara Brach suggests that you ask the question What wants attention or acceptance in this moment?

As you start to explore in this way you may well come to the realisation that in this fast-paced modern world you never fully relax.  You may notice that you tend to spend your days on autopilot, half asleep and your nights half awake because you are in that limbo land, the grey zone of half anxiety.

The triggers we experience are often extremely painful, and at the same time, they are a gift because they offer us a portal to profound transformation. We see where we are still imprisoned by our ego and so a little bit more can be released and dissolve into nothingness.

The funny thing is that there are so many traps we can fall into. As soon as we label anything that happens to us then all that we have done is create another assessment of self. Over time and with practice, the very sense of a separate self becomes increasingly porous and transparent, and we begin to rest more and more in the light-filled space of awareness that regards ourselves and all beings with appreciation and love. It is this shift in identity that expresses our true healing and growing freedom.

And if we consider all this in the quest for boundaries, can you see how meaningless it is to your beingness – your shiny, awesome, noble isness?  Whenever you try to put boundaries around something that’s a very human response which when you dig deeper can reveal a need to retain control. When I first shared these thoughts with my inner community it caused someone who had been one of my biggest fans to unsubscribe from my newsletter. These ideas can cause extreme reactions so please be gentle with yourself. And I would love to know what comes up for you so if you feel called do comment below or drop me a line.


Kate Griffiths
Kate Griffiths
Some call me the coaches' coach. I work with visionary leaders doing world work who are really good at what they do but haven't found their sweet spot yet. I help them unlock their whole selves by learning to build their intuitive muscle and so create more meaning. Ultimately this enables them to move into expanded awareness and the realms of higher consciousness. This is deep work because it requires you to embrace your shadow so you can discover the gold that is hiding there. You have both masculine and feminine energies within you but somewhere along the way you learnt to rely more on one more than the other making you either more of a "prover" or a "pleaser" Working with me you learn to access both energies so you can increase your presence and enjoy greater influence and visibility. Since 2008 I have pioneered an approach that integrates spirituality and business using Colour by blending the esoteric and the practical. I have found that it can transform every aspect of your life and enable you to develop the tools you need to ride the waves of adversity, you will experience in life. If you want to understand how colour can help then why not read my book Colourful Boardrooms. At the very least it will help you discover what type of leader you are. In 2018 I realised that I wanted to help change the story for the leaders of tomorrow so I set up Colourful Classrooms, a social enterprise, and have gone into schools and communities with programmes to support teachers, parents, and students to have better emotional health and wellbeing by building their awareness around what makes them feel more resilient. In terms of where I hang out:I tend to hang out on LinkedIn, so do connect with me there if you want to continue the conversation. And at the moment I am trialling a new social media platform MeWe which has the feel of the "village green" and to show my support for the stop hate campaign. If you like videos then do subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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  1. Thanks for taking the time to comment Charlotte and referring to my addendum in the comments to Ali I appreciate that. And I love your request for curiosity it’s such a balm in helping one/ me to drop the personal and the egoic response and just enquire. Sadly we are rarely alone 1:1 and one time we were I asked for their phone number as they had their phone out and they said there was no need as we saw each other regularly in the park! And could share two other examples and I agree there is a lesson here for me. How can I learn to be more loving in spite of what I am seeing. Wow that can be tough. I love the Picasso quote shall have to try and remember that one xx

  2. You shred an interesting story on LinkedIn, Kate, because what if this dog walking person is put in your path exactly to make you more aware of your boundaries?

    The words that come up for me are Picasso’s “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

    They align with Ali Anani’s tolerance comes before forgiveness.

    Personally, I salute you for not just asking the person in front of the rest of the dog walker community why they have a burr somewhere. I hope you have a chance to talk 1:1 but meanwhile this person is probably hurting themself by behaving rudely towards you in front of others.

    I had a colleague once who was rumored to be too toff for the rest of us. There was a long backstory, but I saw only the pain of being excluded. Sometimes, somebody who may in the past have gotten a reputation is caught between living up/down to that reputation while wishing they could leave it behind. But the surroundings pressure them back into the established role. I hope the outreach from your group administrator will thaw your problem person.