Reflecting on my Camino-in-Writing blog post of a year ago, I am reminded of the intricate balance between feeling connected to others, and still having clear boundaries between us. The art of intimacy in relationship is one I will forever be unfolding in, and although it would seem like a contradiction, I find the clearer my boundaries are in relationship, the more intimacy is afforded.
Clear boundaries help us discern the difference between what we are feeling, and what someone else is feeling. This might sound like a ridiculous statement, to assume that people can feel what others are feeling, but the concept of being overtly empathic is not a new one. It becoming more and more recognized that some individuals are highly sensitive (HSP), not just to their physical environments, but also to the emotional, psychological, and spiritual surrounds. Whether these sensitivities are the result of a type of pathology or simply as a quality or attribute that someone have is undetermined, and perhaps only relevant to how we approach and integrate, or treat, these empathic experiences. Many people, wittingly or unwittingly, are getting around not only with leaky gut syndrome, but also with leaky emotional processors.
Personally speaking, as I’ve come to self-recognize and self-honor, I’ve realized what is necessary for me to not only heal my physical “leaks” and wounding, but to also heal my my emotional leaks and wounds. This quite literally has seen me embodying a clearer, more discernible, and self-aware boundary, including a healthier digestive tract boundary, which in turn enables me to pursue sustainable intimacy. I have come to realize the vital difference between my initial behavior of getting to know someone via empathic digestion of their emotional and psychological content, versus now simply seeing, hearing, and knowing another all the while behaving more so in a way that has me reflecting them back to themselves, and resisting the temptation to take personally any of their behavior. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’ve mastered this way of being, but I’m much more aware of it, and of the gifts of healthy connection and boundaries it enables.