Be Yourself! Take Up Space! Assert Your Boundaries

Allison and I are both so grateful for Vicki Dello Joio and her work, The Way of Joy, a spiritual fitness program that combines the the martial art of Chi Kung with other healing and creative arts.  We have both read her book and studied with her for years.  One of the most impactful principles of the Way of Joy is “boundaries dissolves barriers.”  This means (in her words):

I believe we create barriers as a block to protect ourselves when we don’t have boundaries…Creating barriers in never safe or effective as having good boundaries because barriers include in their very nature a need to block other and to defend self…Our boundaries define our individuality, empower us to fulfill our creative impulses and give expression to our uniqueness. “

Vicki Dello Joio, Founder of The Way of Joy

This principle has made such a difference in my life and my work with girls because it has taught me that the key to attracting positive energy in my life is about taking up as much space as possible.  Being creative instead of destructive.  Speaking my own truth instead of being defensive.  When I think about how we can support our girls to command respect in school, in the neighborhood, and beyond, I think about all the ways we can encourage them to be clear about their boundaries so that they can proudly and safely be themselves 100%.

The exercise in Chi Kung that Vicki most associates with the principle of “boundaries dissolves barriers” is called wei chi.  Again, in Vicki’s words:

In Chi Kung, wei chi simply signifies protective energy.  It’s a protection that comes from being open, expansive, and assertive.  It originates from a place of ‘I am’ as opposed to ‘you can’t.”

Here’s an brief, 2-minute instructional video of Vicki doing wei chi.  Get your daughter and do it together.


Afterwards, ask her these questions:

  • How do you feel after doing that exercise?
  • Do you feel like you totally free to be yourself at school (or soccer practice or whichever community you want to talk about)?
  • If yes…why do you think that is?  What do you do that is 100% you?  How do others respond?
  • If no…why do you think that is?  How could things be different?

This post is #10 of 25 Tips to Teach Your Daughter to Respect Herself, Command Respect, and Respect Others.  Wanna make sure you get all 25 Tips for Bullying Awareness Month?  CLICK HERE and we’ll send ‘em right to your email!
For more incredible Go Girls! resources for helping your girl stay safe, happy, and healthy in her relationships, check out Kidpower and get your copy of Starring Celia.