Last week my travels took me to Belfast. As I approached the border between the Republic of Ireland and the UK's Northern Ireland I thought about boundaries. I was crossing what was once a dangerous border between the two countries but was now peaceful countryside.
Many of our self-imposed boundaries are as invisible as the one between these two countries. As children, we are taught many things, largely with the aim of keeping us safe. As adults, many of these instructions stay with us but become limiting in terms of exploration and self-discovery.
Good girls don't do that. Don't cry, you're a big boy now.
Societal norms have taught us who to be and how to be. To act otherwise is to risk being judged and ostracized.
One of the most important lessons of adulthood is this: You are allowed to challenge these rules. You have the power and intelligence to decide which of these rules is worth keeping and which ones need to be adjusted or tossed out the nearest window.
This is hard work
Recognizing boundaries can be exceptionally difficult. Even as I write this I'm sure I am working within the bounds of many unseen guidelines.
One way to see the unseeable is to ask yourself "why not" instead of "why?" That crazy idea you have never said aloud to another person? Try asking "why not?" of the idea.
Is the idea actually crazy? Or just daring?
There are a lot of things in place to keep us from doing daring things. They are there to protect us from disappointment and failure. What if not even trying is the failure?
So what am I supposed to do now?
Self-awareness is the first step. What boundaries are not serving you? What's holding you back from things you want to do?
You can feel it when things aren't right. They key is to stop, listen to your intuition, and then act accordingly.
I'll be exploring boundaries in more depth for the next few weeks. What are your thoughts, concerns, questions?