Daily InspirationWhen you are with another person, if your focus is primarily on what they want and feel, you may be trying to control how they feel about you. Today, also attend to what you want, and notice how you feel. It is NOT selfish to take responsibility for your own feelings and needs - it is self-responsible. By Dr. Margaret Paul
Boundaries: From Fear or Love?By Dr. Margaret Paul
December 31, 2006
Communication about our boundaries that comes from fear and anxiety leads to conflict. Communication that comes from love leads to intimacy and an open heart.
We know that one very important aspect of being a loving Adult is to set loving boundaries for the Inner Child. Whether or not a boundary is loving depends upon which aspect of you is setting the boundary - the wounded adult or the loving Adult.
The intent of the wounded child-adult in setting a boundary is to have control over not being controlled or rejected by another. The wounded child-adult comes from the fear of being invaded, rejected, engulfed, abandoned, seen as wrong, bad, or unworthy, and projects these possibilities from the past onto the present moment. Instead of discerning what is actually happening in the moment, the wounded adult protects ahead of time, just in case someone may be invading or rejecting. The wounded self enters an interaction already defended against his or her fears.
The intent of the loving Adult in setting a boundary is to take loving care of oneself in the moment. The loving Adult discerns whether another is open or closed, loving or unloving. The loving Adult is compassionately aware of the feelings of the Inner Child in the moment (Step One). If there is anything other than peace within, the loving Adult immediately moves into an intent to learn (Step Two) to determine what the Child is reacting to (Step Three) and how to handle it lovingly (Step Four). The loving Adult then sets the boundary (Step Five) to take care of the Child. Sometimes the boundary can be set softly, along with an intent to learn with the other: "I don't like being spoken to with this anger (or defensiveness, etc.). Do you want to talk about what is upsetting you?" Other times, when you already know the other will not open, the boundary needs to be set firmly and acted upon immediately, saying something like "This doesn't feel good. Let's talk when you feel open," while disengaging from the conversation.
When being right or not being rejected or controlled by another is more important than being loving to yourself and others, your wounded self is in charge. When you find yourself feeling righteous, resistant, judgmental, angry or shut down, notice your intent. What is most important to you in this moment? Are you afraid that opening to learning and loving makes you too vulnerable to being controlled by others? Do you feel that opening your heart is giving in to someone who wants you to be open? Are you afraid that you will not know how to take good care of yourself if someone gets angry, critical, or in some other way invasive or rejecting? If this is what you are experiencing, then you need to look at your relationship with your higher Guidance. Are you shut off from receiving the messages from Spirit regarding loving action? Do you feel that no one is really there to help you, that you have to know what to do and do it all yourself?
It is only when we are open to learning and loving that we can feel, hear, and perceive the messages that are always coming to us from our spiritual Guidance. It is only then that we can know how to take loving care of ourselves in the moment.. When we are afraid to be that open to God/Spirit, then we are stuck doing it all ourselves. When this is the case, it is time to examine our false beliefs about Divine Love.
Life becomes much more peaceful and fun when we do not have to protect ahead of time. We end up with much more energy when we do not have to constantly figure out ahead of time how to be safe, trusting that our loving Adult, in co-creation with God, will take the appropriate action to keep us safe.
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