If you’re the type of person that needs or wants “trigger warnings”, this is your chance to stop reading.
For those of you still reading, I appreciate you.
Boundaries are essential and a part of all healthy relationships. That doesn’t, however, prevent unhealthy people from masking their fear and weakness as boundaries.
Boundaries used to be about setting limits within a relationship. Sadly, weak and fearful people have used boundaries to end relationships; often before the relationship even begins.
“I can’t even…!!”
“If you’re going to raise your voice, you’re not welcome in my home.”
“If you voted for _____, we can’t be friends.”
“If you believe ______, I can’t have a relationship with you.”
“If you’re not in favor of _____, I can’t even!!”
“If you want____, you’re no friend of mine!!!”
“You’re just too much to deal with”
“What’s the point of even talking to you??”
These aren’t boundaries, they’re excuses to be weak and fearful and to be lazy in how we engage in relationship; in essence to blame others for our weakness. Even more troubling is that many people are setting these “so called boundaries” in the name of “self compassion” and “self love”.
What a load of crap.
Telling other people how to think, how to feel, how and when to speak and how to vote is not boundaries and it certainly is not self compassion or love. It’s a weak and fearful mind trying to control others by pretending to be noble and enlightened. It’s trading self-awareness for something that feels like self-compassion while pretending it’s self love.
So, instead of telling others how they need to feel and speak and vote in order to have a relationship with you and pretending that you have boundaries, try accepting others and building a relationship that values and accepts the differences and allows for conversations that change hearts and minds. You may just get the same in return.
Try changing your presentation.
Weak: “I can’t even…!!”
Try: “I’m not sure I understand your perspective. Can you explain your view?”
Fear: “If you’re going to raise your voice, you’re not welcome in my home.”
Try: “I struggle with raised voices because of my past. I can handle your anger and it would be easier if you could say it a little differently.”
Weak: “If you voted for _____, we can’t be friends.”
Try: “I’m trying to understand why you voted for _____. I’d like to understand your reasons.”
Fear: “If you believe ______, I can’t have a relationship with you.”
Try: “everyone has the right to believe what they choose to believe, can you explain your beliefs to me?”
Weak: “If you’re not in favor of _____, I can’t even!!”
Try: “I’m in favor of _____. What are you in favor of?”
Fear: “If you want____, you’re no friend of mine!!!”
Try: “I’d like to understand why you want ____. Please help me understand.”
Fear and Weak: “You’re just too much to deal with”
Try: “You express yourself differently than I do. Can you help me get better at engaging you when we’re in different spots emotionally?”
Weak: “What’s the point of even talking to you??”
Try: “It seems to be important to you. I’ll do my best to listen. The point is important to you and you’re important to me.”
Self-awareness should never be the victim of self-compassion. In fact, self compassion requires self awareness in order for the awareness to really matter.