Boundaries are elusive, energetic, practical, conceptual and permeable. Understanding your boundaries is essential to compassionate, healthy relationships with your Self, your family, your friends, and your employers. Living an authentic life means knowing your limits — your boundaries around what is okay/not okay — and making it clear to yourself and others.
Boundaries maintain your integrity. But setting boundaries isn’t just about saying “no” or carving out time for self care (although it is about those things). What about your actual, physical space? The fact is, each living being is an electromagnetic energy field (invisible to all but a few highly sensitive folks). That energy extends beyond our bodies, commingling with the energy fields of others. In other words — we are all connected.
Your boundaries will change depending on who you’re with, how you’re feeling, what you eat, how much time you have, and what’s going on in your electromagnetic space. Your fields — internal and external, personal and professional — swirl together with those of your peers like one of those colored moving sand art toys.
So essentially, boundaries aren’t just “yes or no,” or “set it and forget it.” They’re permeable, ever-changing, and largely conceptual. Legal and professional boundaries provide protection for health, well being and healing.
Nurse Practice Acts of each state basically agree:
“Patients can expect a nurse to act in their best interests and to respect their dignity. This means that a nurse abstains from attaining personal gain at the patient’s expense and refrains from jeopardizing the therapeutic-patient relationship. In order to maintain that trust and practice in a manner consistent with professional standards, nurses need to be knowledgeable regarding professional boundaries and work to establish and maintain those boundaries.” The nurse’s interior influences what happens in the care recipient, and vice versa — so nurturing healthy boundaries is both ethical and professional. Preventing burnout, is elemental to the process of protecting the sacred bond that exists between nurses and those they care for. It is also important for healthy employee/employer relationships.
How you practice Self care, and how you care for your mind and heart, has a direct influence on your consciousness.
It’s the first and most important piece in creating authentic connection — to your Self and to others. The trick is to simultaneously recognize and honor your boundaries and your interconnectedness. Celebrate your uniqueness as an individual and your connection with others. Imagine a big sound echoing off a mountain. Although we may no longer hear the sound, it rises up and continues to reverberate in time and space. Just because you can’t see something (like the electricity that turns on the light, or the electromagnetic fields connecting you to every other living thing) doesn’t mean it’s not there. Such is the illusive nature of boundaries, and the value of understanding our connectedness as humans, as caregivers and care recipients.
A recent participant in the VIP program spoke of signing off on letters with “Take care… Give care.” Good Self care makes it possible to both give and receive, recognizing the paradox and fluidity of boundaries, and the ethical imperative of preventing burnout by setting healthy personal and professional boundaries.
What are your experiences of your boundaries being crossed, maintained, and permeable? How do you experience your electromagnetic field? What do you think about the idea that preventing burnout is an ethical issue?
Let me know.
Take care of yourself…