In her book, “Unf*ck Your Boundaries”, Faith Harper talks about the various kinds of boundaries that move past a simple “no”. Although “no’s” are powerful, Harper brings us closer to understanding what we say no to, answering the nuances of lines we can finally begin drawing.
Boundaries, by definition, describe the act of creating a border around what we experience. The definition of a boundary is different from the act of performing one, as these borders are not just a vessel for all the narratives we claim, they act as a link to ourselves as another. The meaning and value of what we are inclined to embody begins here. To create a boundary serves a whole new challenge, as it asks for what we value, what we expect, and how flexible we’d like to be with them.
To materialise anything requires a certain degree of identification and soon, a blueprint to hold it. Realising this prompts an openness through curiosity; an effective tool in building sincere boundaries for our lives to cascade through.
KNOWING THE NEED
Our needs are things, feelings and experiences we find essential to living life. When we are clear of what we need and accept their existence, a deep knowing is satiated. A lot of times our needs can seem silly and unwanted, tangled in the facade of having to reason it. But it doesn’t have to be. You can have the simple need of wanting to see the colour blue and are free to have that be an essential part of enjoying life. Knowing what we want and how we feel about it is important to this plan. Needs are varied, and can bounce from seeming superficial to gravely vital in the face of contemporary theories and stereotypes. It’s okay to acknowledge them and be honest about their existence - we’re a mixed bag of time, physical things, emotions, intellect, and the ethereal feelings that have no names or numbers. Ultimately, these illusions are life-giving. And what’s more important than what gives you life?
FULFILLING THE NEED
There are two modes to fulfilling the need once we’re aware of them. One, to express it and the other, to work towards it. They don’t have a sequence to it as they are interchangeable; the expression of one need can lead to its fulfilment and the fulfilment of another can drive us towards its expression. Knowing what boundaries to surround our needs brings meaning to the ways we’d like to achieve it. Just like how the method of planting a seed impacts its growth, how we plant these conversations influences where we go.
Do the roots of our needs prefer flexible soil that adapts to situations? Are there deal-breakers that need a more rigid structure to thrive? Are some of them negligible? Have we outgrown another?
EXPRESSING THE NEED
We understand things not only through what we go through, but in ways we express it to each other. Languages, visuals, and sounds are a few modes of expression that act as a bridge from the conception of a need to its fulfilment. To meet a need and bring it to life is to communicate it. Sometimes, we’re able to sense a room and signal/gauge a boundary without the need for a grand exhibit. But sometimes, boundaries aren’t met when they aren’t known. Do not be afraid to not explain why you’ve created a boundary as these conversations can bring better understanding to the table. That being said, we don’t have to feel compelled to justify and logically reason why we have a need and desire for it to be met. The expression of a need, whether or not it comes with explanations, is to communicate it in a way we find comfortable. We can be flexible with it, use it extensively when we feel it’s presence, and have no room for explanation when we don’t. Go with your instinct and what your emotions tell you.
"It is of great significance, even vital, to create banks for our lives to flow in innate directions. Make room for them to talk to you, and watch them hold the course you move through."