living intuitively


Posts tagged boundaries
Copy of d a r k . 2. L I G H T
Concept and images by me  Model: Byron Hunt

Concept and images by me

Model: Byron Hunt

I don’t live in darkness. Darkness lives in me.

We’ve all faced darkness. Sure, some more than others but we’ve all been there, experiencing it ourselves/encountering it in others.

We’ve also all experienced challenges and struggles; again, to varying degrees.

It doesn’t matter who you are or how much you have in your bank account. It doesn’t matter if your social life is poppin’ or if your abs pop. Darkness is equal opportunity. It affects people of all classes, of all races, of all backgrounds.

Some people have enough inner light to repel it. Yeah, they might feel down and out for a bit, but ultimately, the light triumphs. Glow baby glow.

For some people, the darkness permeates, and sometimes it’s harder to shake.

It doesn’t matter what your experiences are - being a human can be tough stuff! Just as we’re advised not to compare our highlight reels - we also should avoid comparing our “lowlight reels” so to speak. Our behind the scenes. Our challenges and obstacles. Our sucker punches life throws us.

We’re all on different journeys, with different psyches and pasts and mindsets and cumulative experiences. Maybe you’re a single parent eking out a life for yourself and your young. Maybe you’re a cancer patient fighting to keep a smile on your face and a resolve in your heart. Maybe you’re a teenager navigating your way in a world of bullies and heartbreaks. Or maybe you have a fantastic life by all general standards yet still feel empty.

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How beautiful is the relationship between the moon and the dark night sky. So contrasting, yet so incomplete without each other.

It’s all hard!! Try not to compare your “hard” and try not to feel guilty for feeling knocked down by life sometimes.

Just accept! Accept your emotions. The more you deny yourself feeling them, the stronger they become. As they say, what you resist, persists.

Life offers ebbs and flows. Peaks and valleys. No two experiences are the same - even within your own life! It depends on your current mental/emotional state.

Think about it - sometimes an issue that would normally knock you on your face barely fazes you, while other times, merely dropping a pen can elicit instant rage and a “F M L!!!!!!!!!!”

And the comparison can flow the other way too! Try not to diminish/discredit others’ experiences. Just because someone hasn’t confronted the same quantity/quality of challenges as you doesn’t mean their life is easier. Like I said, it depends on their current mental/emotional state, which depends on multiple factors: their upbringing, their relationships, their health, etc. Shoot, even their current spot on the hanger scale! We truly have NO idea what people are working with and feeling. So let’s all hug - or at least high five - one another - and show kindness and empathy.

It fascinates me how we all have inner worlds to which no one else is privy. Every time I pass someone on the street, I want to know their story: challenges they’ve overcome, accomplishments they’ve achieved, etc. WE ALL HAVE STORIES.

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I myself have experienced my own share of darkness. I’m definitely an empath, so when i feel, I friggin’ F E E L. And I take on other people’s energies/emotions. This sensitivity is both a benefit and a drawback. I appreciate it because it allows me to relate to and care for people on a whole other level (you fellow empaths can relate!), but it also gets me down and stresses me out. I feel the injustices of the world so acutely, particularly as they apply to others. Almost always, when I’m bumming/stressing, it’s on another’s behalf.

I’m still working on setting the boundaries for worrying about others, but as far as my personal darkness - my tried and true method for banishing the blues and maintaining a lasting zest for life - no matter my current situation - is facing it. Not denying it, or fleeing it, or resisting it. Leaning into it. Analyzing it. Letting others in. I’m a big advocate for therapy (and if you’ve tried therapy but didn’t connect with your therapist - keep looking! Vibing with your therapist is key).

And finally, be G R A T E F U L. Gratitude is deceptively powerful. So simple, so cliche…yet SO TRANSFORMATIVE. It truly makes all the difference. It may take significant effort initially to adopt an appreciative mindset. It’s a muscle you must strengthen, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.

My trick is whenever I encounter a sucky situation or draining emotion, I think of three things for which I’m thankful. It’s straight MAGIC. It kicks those good vibes into gear and lights you right up.

No, really. Try it.

I also think of three ways the situation could be worse - and THAT also is profoundly effective. Suddenly, you’re feeling pretty dang good about your current status.

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To deny your broken bits is doing yourself a great deal of injustice. It is the broken parts of you that grew you the most.

You’ve heard it before but that’s because it’s da TRUTH: Every challenge/obstacle/hardship you face is a b l e s s i n g. It’s an opportunity to grow and evolve. To get smarter, stronger, and better. To relate to others and inform your future experiences.

Acknowledge, accept, and honor your challenges. Be grateful for them, for they’re specifically what you need to evolve. Customized launch pads to strength, success, and wisdom.



*This post is not meant to discredit the use of psychotropics. Take control of your own health and please also consider consulting a psychiatrist/other mental health professional if necessary!

Images by Whitney Richardson Photography  Models Chelsie Conger (@xochelsieco) and Todd Conger (@toddvanclair)

Images by Whitney Richardson Photography

Models Chelsie Conger (@xochelsieco) and Todd Conger (@toddvanclair)

“Compassion does not exist without boundaries.”

When I first heard this statement from the incredible Brene Brown, I remember feeling surprised and incredulous. Say what? What did boundaries have to do with compassion? It seemed like the most compassionate and empathetic people were “boundless” with their compassion and empathy.

Upon hearing Brene out, I was in full agreement with her assertion. Sing it, sister.

Brene notes she was also shocked to discover her research revealed the most compassionate people were the most boundaried. She defines boundaries as parameters for what is and is not okay.

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According to Brene, establishing solid, defined, firm boundaries allows us to be compassionate and empathetic but not resentful. This is key! Having those boundaries prevents us from feeling drained, taken advantage of, and unappreciated.

Think about it! Tell me if the following scenario sounds similar to something you’ve experienced:

Someone asks you for a favor. Maybe it’s baby-sitting their kids, or lending your tool. You agree, only to have them stay out two hours past their expected return time, or totally trash your tool.


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If you’re not straightforward about your boundaries, including acknowledging when someone crosses them, this will affect your capacity for compassion in the moment. Whether you realize it or not, it affects you. Even by justifying their actions (“Oh, they’re just stressed - they needed some extra time” or “That’s okay, things are just things”) you repress your true emotions that naturally arise from having boundaries crossed. And repressed emotions don’t just magically melt away. No, that shiz stays with you and manifests itself eventually, and never in a good way. If you repeatedly repress emotions, they just fester and snowball. Notttt a good situation. You’ll likely experience physical AND mental AND emotional symptoms as a result.

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So do both yourself and others a favor by speaking your truth. Define your boundaries. Let others know what is and is not okay. There’s no need to be abrasive and aggressive about it; you can be gentle yet firm.

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Brene also offers the question: What if rather than trying to anger you/hurt you/use you/etc, people are doing the best they can? She shares her husband’s beautiful response powerful response to the question:

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I’ll never know whether people are doing the best they can or not, but when I assume people are, it makes my life better.

Brene avers now she is not as sweet as she used to be, but she is far more loving. She states her question is B I G: What boundaries need to be in place for me to stay in my integrity to make the most generous assumptions about you?

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Brene declares generosity can’t exist without boundaries, but acknowledges boundaries are not easy. We want people to like us/we don’t to disappoint people/etc. Brene asserts boundaries are the key not only to self love, but to treating others with loving kindness.

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Nothing is sustainable without boundaries.
— Brene Brown
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If you’ve done your work and set your boundaries, your empathy is infinite.



Compassion minus boundaries is not genuine.
— Brene Brown
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