I’ve had a number of clients this holiday season book Energy Healing and coaching sessions because of having to deal with family. I consider blood ties to be some of our biggest teachers. And since most of my clients are going through a spiritual awakening, their evolution tends to make the distance between themselves and their family members quite striking, especially in the beginning. And for those that have difficulty setting boundaries, the holidays bring an enormous amount of stress.
Here are a few markers that let you know you need to set boundaries:
Do you feel that you “have to” attend the family function because if you don’t, your family will talk about you?
Do your family members disrespect you in front of your immediate family or the rest of the extended family? Do you ‘take’ sarcastic or demeaning comments from your family or do you respectfully and gracefully stand up for yourself?
Do you physically become ill when your family is around?
Does your throat feel like it’s closing/like it’s being ‘squeezed’ when you are around your family? Do you lose your voice when you are around them?
Do you feel guilty if you don’t get family members a gift or send a card during the holidays?
Remember that boundaries are energetic first. This is because of Rule #1: Everything happens in energy first. You can say “yes” or “no” to an invitation to a family event but if your energy does not match, your actions will not demonstrate that you respect the boundaries you wish to create. And if you don’t respect your boundaries, nobody will.
When we make decisions in alignment with what we truly want, boundaries naturally follow. It is when we are in conflict with ourselves that our family members can literally sense the internal war we are having. We are the ones that set the precedent. And if we have family members that unconsciously (or consciously) take advantage of us, are disrespectful or downright mean, we perpetuate the abuse if we do not choose to feel worthy of better treatment.
I have been asked several times, “How do I state my boundaries without retaliating or hurting their feelings?”. My response is this – it is not about whether or not you hurt someone else’s feelings. It is about demonstrating how much you love and respect yourself. Taking care of someone else’s feelings is not our job. It is one thing to be spiteful and reply with a snide remark just because someone was being demeaning to you. That is not setting a boundary. That is getting even. Setting a boundary is explicitly telling someone that what was said or done is not okay with you and why. It also clearly delineates that should this continue your interactions may end up being limited. The difference here is the motive behind what is being stated.
Holiday season is challenging because of the unspoken – “I should spend time with them because they are family” and “I do it because of the kids”. This time of year is not a manipulative tool for guilt and obligation. It is a time for recognizing what really matters. Our tribe is the foundation of our first energetic center and passage through our human development. Acknowledging where we came from and how we have grown as a result of our initial environment is pivotal. And as we mature, we can love where we came from and what we have been through. This is necessary in order to love who we have become until this point. But, we can also choose who we call family or our ‘soul tribe’ now. Being around those we resonate with is what will energetically fortify us.
Remember that when we set boundaries, our family members will most likely not like it. They will voice their displeasure and may even attempt to make things difficult on us. Sometimes – and I have even experienced this myself – it is necessary to remove yourself from an environment for a time so you can allow your continued evolution to take place. And then when you are ready to be in a family setting again (should you choose it), you will be able to maintain the necessary boundaries to get through the family function.
Boundaries are about you retaining your power out of love for who you are and who you are becoming. Your family members will sense the difference in you when you work on this and eventually master it. You influence the energy around you by what you send out. Effective boundaries come from love. Let this be the source this holiday season and watch the dynamics shift before your very eyes.