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Balanced Friendships

Balanced Friendships as an Empath

Do you know what balanced friendships look like?

 

As empaths we are naturally caring and giving, always wanting the best for those around us and of course we can feel when that is not the case.  We tend to leap into action doing what we can to help and support that person to feel better, because as they feel better we feel better too.

What happens in the aftermath is a clear indication of the health and balance of the friendship, once they are feeling back to their old self and the issue is solved, what actions do they then take?

In balanced friendships there will be gratitude for the support you have provided, there will be no silence or ghosting, there will be no lack of contact until the next time you are needed.  Most importantly when you are in need of support, they will be right there holding you up in your time of need.

Balanced Friendships

 

Unfortunately empaths and highly sensitive souls have a tendency to be used in relationships and friendships because they give their everything and don’t always have that favour returned.  I know I have experienced this in my life time and time again, I would be the go to person when life got messy, I would drop everything and be there to support them through.  The storm would pass and I would be dropped like a hot potato and not hear from them again until the next storm.

I would always ask myself “why does this keep happening, I am a good person, do I not deserve to have contact with them outside of their storm?”  Of course when I started to unpack it, I could see it as a pattern within me that needed healing, my walls were down there were no boundaries to be seen, it was like open season.

As a recovering people pleaser I would always do whatever I could do to please others and of course that meant doing so much more for them and being there at the drop of a hat with no consideration for my own needs.  All that did was allow them to then also have no consideration for my needs, why would they, I sure didn’t.

I’ll be honest with you until very recently I didn’t even know what a balanced friendship looked like or felt like, thankfully I do now and do you know why I now know that and feel that?  I healed the part inside of me, my inner child who had been hurt so many times by people she thought were friends, that I finally felt deserving of a balanced friendship of someone that cares for and believes in me wholeheartedly.

I will take a shot in the dark and say this is probably your experience too, you may have been hurt by people in the past and now its hard to trust, hard to believe that having people in your corner is even a possibility.

“I am here to tell you right now, you are deserving, you are worthy and your soul-friends are just waiting for you.”

Balanced Friendships

 

The path to your soul-friends is to be open, to be very open to the people you are surrounding yourself with right now.  Disclaimer: It doesn’t mean they are bad, they are not, from your unhealed place you have welcomed in behaviour that is no longer acceptable to you.

Just because you have been friends since school or maybe it’s “but they are my family” or “its just the way they are” or “its just always been this way”.  These are all beliefs that have most likely been placed on you and they are beliefs that are keeping you from being your true self, because that true self is exhausted under the weight of carrying the burdens of others.

Wouldn’t you just love to let all that go?  Start to feel free and know that balanced and soulful connections are possible for you too.

You don’t have to be a doormat, you don’t have to be a sponge.  What if the way in which you have been allowing others to treat you is in fact not only stunting your spiritual growth but theirs as well.  As empaths we are all about helping, so what if just for a moment you could entertain the idea that there is another way to help those around you.

It is not our job to carry the burdens for others but help, teach and support them to carry it for themselves.  Now I know we have a tendency to fix, it’s a natural human desire to take pain way from our loved ones, but in pain lies growth.  I see this so much in the work that I do with my private clients, pain moves them to action so much quicker than pleasure ever does.

If you do everything in your power to take away their pain, you are interfering in their growth process, in the growth of their soul.  I envision our souls sometimes acting like Homer Simpson saying “DOH” we were so close.

So let’s look at this in the concept of balanced friendships, so of course you are going to want to be there for your friends in their times of need, it is your natural state of being but the question is “is it theirs?”.

There may be a number of reasons as to why it is not theirs, seeing the pain in others isn’t easy, being able to hold space for another in their time of need isn’t easy as I am sure you know all too well.  But for empaths we do this naturally, it is our natural state of being, but it isn’t for everyone.

The question you want to ask yourself is “if my friend is unable to hold space for me when I need it, am I okay with continuing to do it for them?”

You might be and that is 100% okay, if you are not if you have had enough, then it is time for change.  Like I said earlier in the article, it doesn’t make them bad or you bad, it is just your expectations have changed and you now require more from your friendships and that is also 100% okay.

Now of course in any friendship there are going to be up and down times, back and forth, times where you need more support and times where they need more support.  Even periods where it may feel that either you or your friend is needing more and that is okay, the important focus is if the tables were turned would it look similar?

I hope this article helps you to start to assess your friendships and gain an understanding as to whether they are balanced and above all know that you are worthy and deserving of balanced friendships with others where you feel supported and held.

I would love to hear your experience within your friendships, comment below you never know who needs to hear it.


I work with empaths and highly sensitive souls providing support, guidance and healing.  To book your online or in-person session click here.


Nicole Ivens | Empath Counsellor

Boundaries

How to Implement Boundaries without Changing who you are!

How to Implement Boundaries without Changing who you are!


You are not here to save anyone or anything!

This is a topic that I have noticed showing up in private sessions with my clients, a big fear for empaths is “if I put boundaries in place I will lose what I feel is me, my need to help others, how do I do that if I have boundaries?”

When I see these themes occurring I know it’s something that more than just my clients are experiencing, so felt it was an important topic to talk about.  I would love you to consider this for yourself, when you think about putting boundaries in place, what do you feel?  Do you worry about having to change who you truly are by putting boundaries in place?

Many empaths logically know that they need to put boundaries in place but on a deep core/soul level they feel a sense of obligation and even guilt to continue to be an open door to help people.

I get this completely as this was me, I was told so many times, you need to put boundaries in place and I was like nope not doing it.  I too felt that to put boundaries in place I would need to change who I was, I am a caring and kind person, I help people, with boundaries I can’t do that……Sound familiar?

I came to a place where I no longer had a choice, I could not continue to be a door mat, to have a revolving door for people.  They would come in dump everything on me and feel so much better and then walk back out my revolving door, leaving me feeling exhausted, drained and overwhelmed.

Then the next time would come, again walk in, dump, walk out and I wouldn’t hear from them again until the next time and the next time and the next time.

I had to finally put a stop to it realising I could no longer be the door mat, and have the revolving door to these people.  Whilst it was not their fault, I had allowed them to do that, always being there for them, dropping everything every time they needed me.  Putting a stop to it was important, both for me and for them, constantly fixing things for people is not doing them any favours, it was in actual fact dis-empowering them.

boundaries

An important thing to understand is, as empaths and as sensitive souls we have an innate need within us to serve others.  We are here to help people and the thought of putting in boundaries mean I won’t be able to help them anymore and then I won’t get to feel fulfilled because I can’t do the one thing that my soul craves and that is to help and serve.

For a lot of you I know that it can feel selfish and what I learned about that personally was, if I didn’t put boundaries in place I then wouldn’t be available for anybody.  As a mum to two teenage girls, my medical warriors as I like to call them as they have both been through some pretty dire medical emergencies over the years.  They are the ones that deserve my energy more than anybody else.

Being a revolving door or a door mat meant I didn’t have the energy for the people that truly deserved it.  The people that are the most important to me, not only the ones that are there for me, but the ones that continually show up, they prove themselves over and over and over again.  They are the ones that deserved my energy.

Not the people that would come and go only when they either needed me for something or needed something from me, then they would leave and I wouldn’t hear from them again till the next time.

I then learned that I could actually be more powerful and have more influence, one because my energy was higher as I was no longer being a door mat, not been the person that they would come to and I would fix it for them or save them from something.  This was a big lesson I had to learn, I am not here to save anyone or anything.

“You are not here to save anyone or anything”

I am here as a place where people can start to unload but then find the power and healer within them so they can help themselves.  So if you can go from saying I am here to help people, to save people or to fix people to I am here to empower people.  You will have so much more influence on people, the people in your life and people you don’t even know, you are going to have more power in that, more influence in that if you choose to work to empower them.

I’m not going to save them, I am not going to fix it for them, I am not going to do it for them, I am going to empower them to do it for themselves.

They are then going to be able to go on in their life been able to take care of themselves, empower themselves and be more independent.  It was a time of reminding myself by saying “Nicole remember where your power is, remember your power is within empowering them to do it for themselves, in holding the space for them to find all they need within them”.

As empaths and sensitive souls we do that very well, I am sure you have noticed in your life that people, strangers even come up and just unload, telling you their life story and usually without any prompting.  That is because that is your power,  your power to allow people to feel like you are their safe space to finally let go of what they have been carrying around.

The mistake we tend to make and I made it very early on as well, is that we don’t feel like that is enough.  How is just listening enough, I have to do something about this, and that is a human need, feeling we need to fix it and make it better.

But if we can start to understand just how powerful that is, just listening.  If you have ever had an experience where someone just listens to you, not listening to respond but really listening to hear you, focusing wholly on you, not distracted by anything else, you would know just how impactful that is.

That is the gift you give to other people, just listening, focusing on them and them only and that in itself is enough, you are enough.  You don’t have to do anything else, you don’t have to fix anything and you don’t have to have all the answers.

boundaries

I know when I first started in my Counsellor studies that was my biggest fear, that I wouldn’t know the answers, what the right advice to give would be.  The first thing my teacher said to me was “being a Counsellor is never about giving advice, we don’t give advice, we help our clients to find the answers for themselves”, boy was that a huge weight off my shoulders.

It is the same for you, you don’t need to have all the answers, you just need to listen and care and as an Empath my love, you have that in the bag.

Now within that an important point and something I really want you to understand is, the process is:

  1. You listen
  2. Allow them to release what they need to let go of
  3. You also let it go, you do not absorb it, you do not carry it

As empaths we can have a bad habit of feeling that if someone is sharing it with me then that must mean I am supposed to carry it, or I am strong enough to carry it.  No, that is not the reason, the reason is like I said before you are the safe place for them to unload, not to absorb and not to carry.

An analogy for you:  When you are going on a trip and you take your bags to the departure desk at the airport, you don’t give the bag to the customer service officer do you, you put it on the conveyor belt.  The person serving you and getting you booked in, isn’t going to then carry your bags for you, are they?  Of course not they are just the safe place for your bags to go, knowing that they are in the right place and will be boarded onto the plane.

It is the same for you when people unload, it’s not because they want you to carry it, it’s because they just need to stop carrying it themselves.  So you allow them to unload and as I said that is a huge service you are providing right there and then you allow the baggage to be on its way.

Remembering:

  • You are not fixing
  • You are not saving
  • You are not giving advice
  • You are not absorbing

You are allowing that person to feel freer, to feel lighter, to feel heard and to feel understood and that is such a powerful gift you can give to people.

Now to bring all of this back around to the idea of boundaries, you are going to see that implementing boundaries is actually two fold:

  1. We are implementing those boundaries so people don’t feel that they can walk all over us, or they can’t take up all of our time.  They need to start to respect us and respect our time.
  2. It is also a boundary for yourself, you also do not step over that line.  You hold the space for them, but you do not absorb and you do not step over that line into their energy field and try to fix or save them.

I hope you can start to see that if we do it in that way, that we are not changing who we are, we are still the same person you don’t have to be different.  You don’t have to stop being who you are or fulfilling that innate need of wanting to help people.  It is changing what helping people means, changing what serving people means.

It is changing what helping and serving people means.

What you are now doing is just holding that container, that allows people to feel safe in unloading and letting go of what is just too damn heavy to continue carrying around, emptying it into the container, you are closing the lid and then its done.

boundaries

Instead of being completely open and having no boundaries and allowing them to step over that, then feeling they are telling me this, so it must be my job to fix it.  It must be my job to save them, NO it is not!

If you continue to do that, continue to not have any boundaries, continue to be the person that fixes everything for people or having to save people all of the time.  You are actually doing them a dis-service, we are all here to have our lessons, for our soul to grow but if you are continually going out of your way to fix and save people you are removing that opportunity of growth for them.

If you can think about it in that way, that by putting these boundaries in place I am actually helping them, I am empowering them for learning and growth the boundaries will no longer feel like you are doing something wrong or being selfish.

You are not losing your ability to help people, you are helping them in a different way.

You are going to help them to grow and a great example of this is when our kids start to grow, when they are little you are leading them along their path but as they become older, teenagers and young adults its time for us to step off their path and walk along side them.

Another great way to look at boundaries from an empowered place is to look at the role of our guardian angels, if you have been with me for a while you will know that your guardian angel can not step in and help you unless you ask aka boundaries.  So if you start to see yourself as an Earth Angel just walking along side people, guiding and helping them without stepping over yours and their boundaries, you are going to be one powerful earthly being.

Put your boundaries in place, Be their Guide and watch both yours and their lights start to shine like never before.

If you are having trouble putting your boundaries in place and are noticing you are feeling guilty or selfish and left feeling exhausted, drained and overwhelmed. I can help you to heal those emotions and allow you to become that powerful earthly being.  Click here to book your appointment.


Nicole Ivens | Empath Counsellor