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  • Debra Faith Warshaw

Boundaries, Standards and Other BS



"Boundaries and standards” — sounds like a boring college lecture as dry as a nun’s pussy. But after attending a rather not dry talk on the topic recently, I found myself inadvertently thrust into a deep, four-day, self-inquiry dive that resulted in the following juicy revelations.

First off, I’ve never thought of myself as someone who struggles with setting boundaries. I easily (some would say to a fault), voice my thoughts, feelings and opinions with friends, family and work peeps. I’ve never been a “pleaser” and I’ve HELLA never allowed myself to be treated like a shoe wiping doormat in any relationship.


Turns out though — and this was THE BIG aha — that I was looking at all of this through a limited and skewed lens. I needed to pull the lens back and include a bunch of other behaviors that I had allowed in the past, but hadn’t thought of as being related to boundaries or standards. The more I unpacked this, the more I saw how a B&S deficiency showed up over and over again, in ways that had been hidden or disguised to me.


Boundaries are stealth and crafty little suckers that need to be given much more credit.


First, here’s how I interpret standards and boundaries and how they go together like a hand and pocket, respectively.


Boundaries and standards intertwine and function together, but they do have distinctions. Boundaries, are the personally defined limits we set (typically internally) for what we will tolerate, accept or allow. Standards, are the things we decide are right for us — our needs, desires, and the expectations we hold for ourselves. They represent a degree or level that we won’t go below. Boundaries protect the threshold for our standards and enable us to maintain them.


Said another way, personal standards are like our baby cows grazing in a lush field. They’re healthy, happy and thriving. Our boundaries are like the folksy, white picket fence keeping the baby cows from getting lost, stolen or harmed. The fence is not rigid or solid like a cement wall — it has openings, airflow and flexibility. But it serves to lovingly and gently remind the cows where to stay in order to remain safe and thriving.


With family, basic boundaries have always come easily for me —“Sorry but no, I will not be attending Aunt Faye’s 85th, coming out, birthday bash as I’ll be rewatching all eight seasons of Weeds”. That’s because their love is felt as unconditional and therefore I’ve got nothing to lose. I can state my needs, establish a rule or limit and not fear that even if I piss any of them off, their love is secure.


And, I’ve realized that setting boundaries with close friends or work colleagues has also been relatively smooth because any fear related to potential loss, feels lighter and less charged.


But with men, oh with men, where I most crave love and adoration, where the stakes are extremely high — my fences have remained piles of wood, rotting in the field, without a carpenter in sight.

This has been my undoing, my modus operandi in love. Into the deep end I’d jump, without a life vest or care for knowing, honoring or upholding so many of my standards and boundaries. It was more important to get love, not rock the boat, and be as “low maintenance” as possible. How could he not love me if I am super easy to be with?


Truth was, I felt unworthy of their devotion, especially from the men I’ve loved the most. So I’d bury my essence, snuff my sensual fire and all of her unconditional acceptance. I’d dim the lights of my bright, intuitive wisdom and only allow quick peeks when it served his needs.


Self-sabotage was my jam — fucking ouch.


The internal connection that I hadn’t yet made, is that boundaries are an extension of self-love. So, wherever self-love challenges show up, boundaries are most certainly being violated and/or not even established, and standards are like escaped canaries singing to the deaf wind.


I didn’t get that the men worthy of my passion would also be the men that craved my freedom and expression as much as I craved theirs. An evolved masculine man does not want his woman on a short leash hustling to perform the tricks she thinks will please him.


I hadn’t seen it this way before — another powerful shade of the self-love palette. Another layer of sexual, feminine expression that I had been suppressing while allowing his rules and systems to guide my choices. Instead, I allowed my body to be his vessel while I used his cock as a weapon to punish myself. That was my circus, decade after decade.


Now, as my shadow heals and loving awareness becomes my new jam, I continue to evolve and grow less and less fear-full of being my authentic self. Sensual awakening is the delicious and final piece of this B&S, BS. I need to wake her up —that dormant part of me —and let her know I won’t betray her needs and desires anymore.


My pleasure, is my beloved.


Loving and reclaiming my self-abandoned essence/body/spirit, is my innate power. Fear of rejection has no place in my soul and no connection to my divinity.


A new era of the divine, empowered feminine is rising.


We are shifting.


Can you feel it?


photo credit: Mitch Lensink via Unsplash

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