Quote #595 - Within Bounds #WithinBounds
02 Dec, 2013
"All her life, Claire had had a problem figuring out where other people ended and she began. All her life, she'd taken on the world's hurt; she held herself responsible. But why?"
A SUMMER AFFAIR
"Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others."
It can be a problem, not knowing where you end and others begin , and yet it can be a gift, too. Empathy saves us from our own selfishness and reminds us that there are more perspectives than just our own. Empathy is necessary for teachers, healers, and art-makers of all kinds. Boundlessness is powerful and creative and beautiful for the building of collaboration, friendship, love.
All well and good, if all people had good intentions, self-awareness, and the desire to take responsibility for themselves and their actions. Yeah, sure. I've learned that there are those who have a GPS with "Points of Interest" set for those of us who "hold ourselves responsible for the world's hurt." Consciously or otherwise. They are the ones I risk not just disappointing, but angering, enraging, by saying "no," by saying "stop," by making myself unavailable, by not acquiescing to their needs, desires, demands.
So, how do you protect yourself from other people's selfishness and manipulation? By drawing boundaries--not always inflexible, not always impermeable, but boundaries nonetheless. I resist but relent.
A smart friend told me once the lines need to be the hardest where we are the least able to make good decisions, be strong, hold our ground, take appropriate self-care. I add that they also need to be the hardest where others have historically taken the least care and the most advantage--at least with those very same others.
I do not love boundaries in theory--they separate, they box, and they often feel arbitrary. But in reality? In reality, I am coming to appreciate them greatly. I may need to draw them with pastels and colored pencils--not markers--with variations in color and texture and density, with layering and a handy eraser, but I do need to draw them.