• Outdoor Coaching
  • Wandern im Busch

Guarding your Boundaries

Posted on Mon July 23, 2018.

This Blog forms part of a number of short stories where wilderness experiences can be found. These short stories serve us that observing nature brings us closer to our Self and inspire us every day to live the life we want to live.

Sometimes we feel incomplete, drained of energy, unsatisfied or frustrated as we pushed ourselves too far or we let others "walk over” our boundaries and we did not let them know how we really felt…

In the Savannah Bushveld, every single animal we encounter in this environment immediately takes responsibility to guard its boundaries if needed. When we watch animals from afar they often clearly don’t mind us watching them and continue with their normal day-to-day behaviour and we can say that they are in their Comfort zone. The need to guard their boundaries and personal space is not there yet as we don’t interfere with their lives. As we move a bit closer to the animal, into their Alert zone, the animal stops what is busy doing and stands still, observing our next move. We are now interfering with their life and are important to it. As we move further towards the animal it starts to give us clear warnings. The animal now requests us to respect its boundaries.

With an elephant, clear warnings, these are requests, are given not to come closer to protects its boundaries and personal space. These warnings can be for example showing its lateral (big) side, stretching his front legs up and putting its head high up as possible. It will also erect, and stiffen its tail. It might shake its head vividly or it will run a bit half side-ways half towards you. This will be a demand to push you back.  Sometimes the animal will choose to walk away from you while looking backwards over its shoulder.

Finally, the animal will vocalize and trumpet to make clear that a boundary has been crossed. These are all clear communications not to go further and the elephant takes its responsibility to do this. Instinctively animals know they need to take this responsibility for their warnings to survive and be safe. One important aspect to do this is clearly communicating it’s needs to others. Why are we often not doing this and forget our responsibility towards our Self and the other?

This example of the elephant requests and demands reminds us about two things. First is how important it is to observe body-language of others. A remarkable 60-70% of all our inter-human communication is non-verbal. When we only focus on what is being said we are missing most of the truth being told. Secondly, it reminds us how often we do not take responsibility to express a wish, request or demand when we need to do this.

The result is that we let others go over our boundaries and lose every time a bit of our power and energy by not taking responsibility to say what should be said. We start to complain to others, are upset, feel negative, frustrated and angry. The good news is that we can immediately step out of this reaction when we take our responsibility and, just like the elephant, become powerful, positive and energized by taking action. When are you giving clear communication what you wish, request or demand for you? When do you don’t do that?