Get help today 888-319-2606 or sign up for 24/7 text support.
American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

Boundaries for the Sensitive Soul

The need for healthy boundaries is often emphasized in recovery. Little by little, people learn to become more assertive, speak their truth, and enforce their boundaries.  This is imperative.  Along those same lines, it’s also imperative to gain knowledge and tools for how to maintain boundaries when you feel yourself taking on other people’s emotions and expectations.  This is especially important for people who are considered sensitive souls, the empaths of the world.

The Energy of Boundaries

Empaths are beautiful, compassionate beings, who feel deeply. They are the ones who feel what is happening in someone else’s body.  This becomes especially apparent when the empath picks up on things that are not seen, heard, or even witnessed, while interacting with someone else. If appropriate boundaries are in place, said information is simply registered and then let go of. If boundaries are not in place, it can feel extremely overwhelming and like your system is being hijacked, despite your desire to participate.

To better understand this, let’s take a moment to shed light on how energy works. Boundaries are really just an energetic state. If someone has poor energetic boundaries, when they feel other people’s pain, they often feel responsible for it. Their system will become overwhelmed and they will actually hold the emotional state of the other person within them, as if it’s their own. If they have good boundaries however, they will have their own emotional reaction to the other person, but they won’t be carrying the upset of the person. In other words, they can clearly identify what is theirs and what is not. There is no over-responsibility to fix someone else’s pain or drama.

Strengthening Your Boundaries

For the sensitive soul, strengthening your energetic boundaries is very important because, quite simply, you feel more. And the more you feel, the more often you will need to let things go that are not yours to carry.

Here are some of my favorite ways to strengthen my energetic boundaries:

  • Imagine a yellow circle (your solar plexus chakra) spinning clockwise in your solar plexus. Repeat and affirm out loud “This is my body and I am responsible for my emotional well-being and what is allowed in my field,” as you see it spin.
  • When it feels as though someone is imposing themselves on you, imagine that you are laying on a table and visualize a giant hand, an angel, or anything that feels right to you, physically pulling that person out of your body and put them on the opposite side of the room. Imagine cutting the chord that exists between you two. Then say, “You are no longer welcome in my energetic field. I release you with love, compassion, and forgiveness, and I release myself with love, compassion, and forgiveness.”  Finally, see a golden bubble being placed around you that solidifies your space from the outside world.
  • Ground yourself. When you wake up and you feel ungrounded, imagine pulling your energy down into your feet and see that energy continue down into the core of the earth. Fully inhabit your body by bringing your awareness from your head, down into your body.  Every square inch of it.
  • Simply repeat and repeat, “I am in charge of my life.”

Changing Your Own Experience

Boundaries get weakened through use of substances and negative experiences. And they get strengthened through healthy choices, affirmative self-talk, and every single time you choose to exercise your voice to affirm a boundary. Each choice you make that is in favor of you honoring yourself, you strengthen your boundaries. By bringing more awareness to what is yours and what is not, speaking your truth (to the best of your ability), and taking steps to release yourself from over-responsibility, your energetic boundaries become stronger and stronger.

When someone has good boundaries, they are choosing to let in what they want – and keep out what is not theirs. How this plays out is if someone is getting really panicky and needy with them, they recognize this energy and they simply choose not to participate in it.

For the person without strong energetic boundaries, they will feel the panic and start to feel like they have to fix it. They have a hard time distinguishing what is theirs and what is the other person’s. In other words, they are taking it on. This can produce an overwhelming feeling in the body and people can even feel like they are going into fight or flight mode. I bring this up because, if this is you, I want to normalize your experience. Please believe me when I say that this doesn’t make you weak. It simply means that this is what you were taught to do growing up, and it does not mean this is your plight in life.

The wonderful thing about being an adult is that you can teach yourself how to change your experience.  I like the practices I mentioned above as a way to work with your body and mind to begin to differentiate yourself from your environment. Additionally, it may be helpful to consider changing your language when you talk about the people in your life that challenge you. When you think about this person, or you talk to others about him or her, state that you are learning how to find your voice and trust yourself. Even if this is only one percent true at this time, focus on that one percent. Keep your eye on what you are doing well when it comes to this person and expand from there.



Images Courtesy of iStock

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.