Day 8. Forgive You By Embracing Boundaries
Boundaries are something that everyone needs but unfortunately that many of us aren’t taught or don’t observe or experience early in life. Or, when we do, we experience mixed messages that leave us confused about what boundaries mean or how to apply them. Recognising that your past is in some respects informing your present-day thinking and behaviour around boundaries isn’t about blaming any of the people involved in your story or about finding new reasons to judge you.
You have been hurt and confused at times in life, sometimes very deeply, and it is part of the human condition to go into self-protective mode. Like all humans, you want to be accepted and are afraid of being rejected, and this desire has sometimes taken greater precedence than your peace of mind or even your self-respect. And you know what? You’re not alone in this; it’s happened to many people, and it’s how you eventually recognise that something has to give and that the old way just isn’t going to cut it anymore.
Being boundaried is a means of forgiving you. Think about this for a moment and just let it percolate.
You have been through a series of experiences that have brought you to this juncture. At times you’ve lacked boundaries, and sometimes you’ve erected walls. These are all about being hard on you in some way. You’re not trusting you and instead are giving up the reins of your life to somebody to come along and direct you even if it’s into trouble. Or, you’re not trusting you and are punishing you for past experiences by fencing you in so that you don’t make any more ‘mistakes’ or ‘fail’ again.
You’re not allowing you to recover and move on from an experience and actually, not being boundaried means that you relive whatever informed your original perspective on you and life. By putting up walls or not being discerning, the original pain is extended and in fact compounded. Whatever age you were when you experienced the original pain and formed a judgment about it, you’re returned to this age each time the wound is touched on as a result of you not being boundaried. This could be when you blame and shame you when you need your compassion, or it could be when you keep engaging in variations of that same situation in an attempt to right the wrongs of the past. As a result, you’re doing you a disservice.
Forgive you with boundaries by building a loving relationship with them that helps you to transcend past experiences.
Forgive you for what you didn’t know at the time. Forgive you for what you didn’t do. Forgive you for being human.
Especially if you’ve been holding a much younger part of you to account for something that it wasn’t actually responsible for, acknowledge that you have been unfair to you and commit to doing right by you through more boundaried choices that leave you feeling safe and secure.
This self-forgiveness allows you to overturn the wrongful conviction. It’s better to be boundaried than to repeatedly wrongfully convict you for the same crime while adding to your problems.
Each time you try to do better by you, you let you know that you’re sorry about what went down or how you responded. Each time you try to be more boundaried, you’re letting you know that you’re ready, that you’re trying to do the best that you can, and that you’re letting go of your attachment to that part of the story from your past that used to inform your decision not to be as boundaried.
You take the focus off blame. You acknowledge that you want to grow, that you don’t want a repeat of the past, that it will be a journey in trial and error, but you want to show up instead of closing off to all experiences good and bad.
Creating healthy boundaries stops you from being bound to others through resentment. Call it a way of, as the saying goes, accepting an apology that you never got. You let go rather than holding on in anger or pain. You choose love, care, trust and respect.
Each time you opt to be boundaried, it’s another step in letting go of the pain and the attachment to the story behind why you didn’t previously have boundaries in this area.
You cannot be self-compassionate and forgive you if you keep redoing the very thing that’s causing you pain. You will keep stoking the anger, hurt and sadness. You will keep rubbing your face in the past events and burdening you with blame and shame. You will feel powerless and helpless.
Being boundaried acknowledges the separateness that exists, and by allowing you to move on rather than being frozen in the past by the experience(s), you stop feeling bound to that person. You stop feeling as if they have the power to determine your future happiness.
TASK: Imagine that your closest friend who has been through a similar experience to one that you’ve found it difficult to move on from, is sitting in front of you being hard on themselves, saying, thinking and doing the same things that you are. What would you say to him/her? What do you imagine they’re thinking and feeling? How would you help them to feel better? What perspective would you offer them? Do you see anything differently now that you’re in a different seat? Are you more empathetic? Try to sit with the conversation in your head for at least a couple of minutes and see if you can finish on a positive and supportive note. Write down anything you noticed during this conversation that provides insight into your own experience.