Expanding my boundaries was one of the main concepts that I worked on when I started my improvement journey. When boundaries are small there are feelings of tightness. Having small boundaries is being stuck in prison of fear. When stuck in the prison of fear, the actions that I take come from an unconscious reaction to the feelings. It is like having a computer program that launches when , fear strikes.
For example when was in a situation where a woman that I found very attractive was talking to me, my internal computer would run BeautifulGirlTalkingToYou.bat.
BeautifulGirlTalkingToYou.bat runs the executables, Freeze.exe, Lookaway.exe, SaySomethingStupidBecauseSheMightLikeYou.exe, and would leave the coup de grâce YouShouldofSaidSomethingDifferentYouDummy.exe. After this program would run, you can imagine how bad I felt.
Boundary expansion is a practice of increasing the size of the prison. By increasing the size of the prison, I get to be at choice in areas where I would have been in automatic fear response. Being “at choice” means that instead of reacting automatically, I am able to be in a mode of being able to make choices.
Also, when the prison of fear gets so big that it is no longer viable, it is much easier to discard. I want to drop the prison, so I can be a person who bases his choices on logic, love, desires, and peace. When a choice is made out of fear that choice will lead to regret. Even if the choice is the best choice possible choice, fear based choices lead to second guessing and living in the past. When choices are made out of logic, love, desire or peace, I am able to live a life of action and no regret. This is because I know that I made the best possible choice and if that choice turns out to be unfavorable, then I am able to move on and make new choices.
Expanding my boundaries is not about getting rid of fear. Removing all fear is something that is very improbable and discounts the emotion of fear. The two main types of fear that I work with are survival fear (“oh my god, that bear is going to kill me”) and learned fear (“I remembered that from my past, I did not like it.”) These types of fear have positive aspects. Survival fear keeps you alive and away from pointless fights with bears. Learned fear reminds you of past actions that you do not like.
Our fear-based actions are paramount.. Courage is not the absence of fear, it is feeling the fear and acting based on logic, desires, peace or love. There is a saying, “Feel the fear and do it anyways.” Sometimes it is perfectly fine to “feel the fear and not do it anyways.” My motto is “Feel the fear, learn from the fear and then make choices based on what I actually want.” I go back and see where I gained that fear and work with to expand that boundary. Making decisions based on logic and love allows you to make all of your choices based on your best intentions.
The beauty of boundary expansion is that doing just one action that expands your boundary allows you to be at choice in other areas of your life. One of the wonderful things about being human isimproving one aspect of your being normally improves other areas.
Look at figure 1 below.
Each X represents an action in your life that causes fear. The circle is your boundary. The actions outside the circle are ones that cause you to have an automatic unconscious reaction based on fear. Actions such as as skydiving, job interviews, talking to attractive people, talking to strangers at a party, driving on a freeway, being around spiders, public speaking, or any other action that causes an automatic fear response. The actions inside of the circle are ones that you are able to make conscious choices on what you want to do. Figure 2 shows what happens when you expand your boundary to where the selected action is now one where you are in choice.
The new boundary encompasses some actions that were once outside your boundary. For example, joining a group to practice public speaking may allow you to be able to ask your boss for a raise. Sometimes actions that do not seem to have a direct link are actually related. . Working on expanding your boundary and doing those things that scare you will make you be at choice in all areas of your life.
Adding joy to boundary expansion is having the knowledge that all of the scary actions you are taking are ones that will improve your ability to share your gifts with the world. Having joy with boundary expansion will help you take the sting out of the fearful actions because you are doing it for a purpose. Joyful boundary expansion allows you to celebrate the action no matter its outcome Get shot down by a member of the opposite sex? Who cares? You just made the world a better place by expanding your boundary. Celebrate! You are making strides to increase your boundary and improve your life.
The homework this week is to find an action in your life that you do not do because you fear it. Practice the action a few times and notice how each time it is less and less scary. Notice other areas in your life that have been improved by this change.
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