Monday Morning Quotes

Monday Morning Quotes ~
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Since 1998 I've been sending out these reflections first thing each week--one or more quotes plus my thoughts about the intersections and contradictions. They're archived here back to 2002, and a new one is posted every Monday morning. Dialogue is still welcome . . .

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Quote #893 - #BoundaryReset

16 Sep, 2019


"Only when we're clear in our own minds and hearts that we can no longer live with something can the speaking part--although still not easy--become possible. There are no shortcuts to getting there; nor does clarity evolve from thinking and reflection alone. Our gut responses tell us over time what we can and can't live with."
Harriet Lerner, Ph.D.

"We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change."
Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend

My father taught me many many years ago that people don't learn from your pain, only from their own, and so, in business, if someone was abusing you, you had to make them suffer the consequences or they would never learn.

It was easier to learn that lesson in a clinical business negotiation than in relationships--where that always felt too cold, too calculating, too manipulative. And as an artist and an educator, all my relationships felt too warm and open (open-minded and open-hearted) to follow that rationale.

But I've learned over the years, as a parent and a partner, as a collaborator and a teacher, that there are always times and ways in which it's necessary. Sometimes it's because of the place it touches in you (caring, guilt, responsibility, fear) sometimes because of the place it touches in them (where they cannot see how they are causing damage, or they can see it but can't shift it). And sometimes it is between the two of you, a chaos unique to the way you two relate.

And when it happens, as then, my father was so right. They don't learn from your pain, only from their own. So if you don't set boundaries that cause them to experience the consequences of their own actions, they will never learn.

It is not cruel. It is not heartless. It is not clinical or manipulative, as long as you are clear about the boundary and open about the necessity for it.

And often it's the only way to take care of yourself.

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