Boundaries for the Highly Sensitive.

When it comes to deliberating upon healthy boundaries, I am not an expert. It is not so much the lack of understanding of what a boundary means, it is its setting up, the careful willing and manifestation of its presence where I lack the mental faculties. It is a skill, learnable and decipherable, just as one could learn to draw or learn to code. Perhaps, this skill, combined with a troubled past, a misinformed image of the self and old-conditioned neural pathways, is hard to come by easily, but with diligence in applying the learned behavior, could be learned as well.

It comes with grief to understand that lacking the strength to establish healthy boundaries surface from a past where one’s personal space has been violated, if not in all cases. For some of us, it is not having witnessed individuals with healthy boundaries- that mere unavailability of a model, which could cause the struggle. For some of us, like in my case, it was the recurrent assault on my sacred space, along with the absence of healthy individuals that resulted in my eventual conflict. For instance, if I meet a new person, who shows an interest in me, it would take all the willpower and saneness inside me to ensure that I don’t reveal too much. Lacking the understanding of what that too much means, I am at a terrible disadvantage in the conversation, especially, if the other person is not a well-wisher. In most cases, I have gone back home, feeling powerless, vulnerable, and even exploited. Worse still is the dialogue that resumes in my mind that reinforces my place in the world – insignificant and worthless.

Not that I don’t understand the need or try to practice the creation of a boundary, with people, new and old, it is the subsequent maintenance, its upholding, and the final abrasion. It happens disconsolately with the fateful conclusion that perhaps, it is something that I cannot do, after all. Of course, it is not true.

As a recent learner of my place in the spectrum of the highly sensitive, I can say I am relieved a little, but not because I understand now the challenges that I have faced throughout my life in erecting the right boundaries. It is more so because now I can refer to the right set of skills, deliberated and written down by the people, who like me, are highly sensitive and hence perceive the world in a slightly different manner. It means I am no longer scouting for articles or essays that are written on the experiences of people who may not have experienced the world as I have. In my case, I have learned from such essays, but in vain because even with the relative faultlessness of their success rates, they often didn’t work for me.

I believe in the inevitable power of a story. Countless stories that I have heard from people and about people, cities, civilizations, and the humanity, have rescued me from going deeper to a nullified state of existence and have always reinstated faith and hope. So, it is with some conviction I say, we must share our stories, knowing well that our stories shared into the common space of the living and the dead, heals us and the other. Together, we can heal and evolve. Fortunately, for us, this happens when we share our stories in the right time, in the right space, and in the right frame of mind – when we are ready. Readiness, in this context, means standing true in your own power and in the power of your story. This readiness comes from protecting ourselves when we need protection and stepping out when we can.

I begin this journey today and I wish well for anyone who is on this journey too.


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