I Am Sorry for Having Boundaries
Before you say anything, let me reassure you: I am not actually sorry for having boundaries. And yet, I spend an awful lot of time apologizing for them… what’s up with that?
I suppose the idea that boundaries are selfish is so deeply ingrained, that we feel that by setting limits we hurt other people. In fact, I was talking to a friend about her daughter’s boyfriend. He has a mother who parents by that idea. She sets no boundaries in the name of being kind and compassionate. It has left her son with so many emotional issues, he is struggling to cope with life and his own relationships.
I am not writing to analyse my friend’s particular predicament, but I wanted to illustrate that boundaries and limits are important.
By maintaining boundaries we care for ourselves, we protect ourselves for the demands of the world in all manner of different ways. Boundaries give us guidance on keeping ourselves safe physically, emotionally, digitally and in all sorts of other ways. By teaching our kids the importance of boundaries, we give them the skills to do the same for themselves when they grow up. That in itself is an act of compassion, but the compassion of boundaries extends the learning we give our children (or other people we care for in our lives).
Compassion is not the same as letting people get away with whatever they want. Compassion is also expressing limits and giving guidance on keeping our relationships healthy and happy. When we are honest about our own energy, our needs and wants, we can minimize frustration we feel for each other. Building relationships that nourish us and contribute to our happiness.
Boundaries are a source of compassion not just for yourself, but also for those you hold dearest.