Boundaries and Standards of Behavior

Compassion and kindness are beautiful but so are boundaries and standards of behavior.

People want to be held at high standards of behavior even if they don’t know it. Because guilt is harder to bear than anger and truth is more liberating than what seems advantageous.

If you meet people with kindness and compassion all the time for the things that they do, you are also enabling bad behavior. And you are also taking upon yourself the consequences of their actions.

People need to experience the impact of their own mistakes and patterns of behavior and that is what honest reflection allows them to do.

Your boundaries benefit others too.

On Shame and Self-Love

There is a biblical episode where God calls for Adam to join him for a walk. Yet because Adam had eaten from the Tree of Knowledge he became aware of his own nakedness and so he hid in the bushes and refused to come out. What had been natural before was now viewed through different eyes. The same action was charged with ideas of rightness or wrongness. He could no longer reveal himself to God in his nakedness anymore as he had learned about shame.

I believe that shame is strongly linked to a lack of self love. Well… there is a good kind of shame and a bad kind of shame. The good kind of shame is the shame where we are able to recognize that we are responsible for the negative consequences of something we did, accepting that fully, having compassion for ourselves, understanding that ignorance leads to mistakes – even with the best of intentions – and then learning from these mistakes. The not so good kind of shame is the kind where we are still able to recognize that we were responsible for a negative situation, but we take two approaches to it:

  1. either we try to cover it up or deny it because we cannot allow ourselves to feel this shame – this is because we find it too painful to accept that we have caused harm or that our imperfections have been exposed.
  2. or we are so overwhelmed by the fact that we have caused harm that we cannot accept ourselves and cannot have compassion for ourselves and so we hate ourselves for what we have done.

Both of these approaches are ways of avoiding to feel that shame. And they both keep us from accepting ourselves and loving ourselves, because in order to love ourselves, we need to have compassion for ourselves and our ignorance. In order to love ourselves, we need to accept that we often make mistakes. And in order to love ourselves, we have to accept the things we have done and this cannot be done unless we first feel the shame that arose in us and learn its lessons.

Image may contain: indoor

There are so many unconscious attitudes we hold that show a lack of self love. We may not be aware of them, but they become apparent – if we pay attention – when we chase after love. This chase may take the form of trying to manipulate others, pleasing others, seeking external validation, trying to impress others, not saying what needs to be said because we fear we will lose approval, forcing ourselves into things we don’t want to do, and so on. Yet true, Divine Love is unconditional. It is us who raise blocks against it because we feel unworthy of receiving it. When we love ourselves, we accept that love that is always extended to us for us to tap into and, in doing so, we do not need to seek for it outside of ourselves.

In a sense God is always calling for us to join Him, yet it is us who feel unworthy of walking beside Him. We are ashamed of ourselves and so we deny ourselves love. We prefer to hide that which we cannot accept in ourselves because we fear we are imperfect and therefore bad and undeserving of love because of it. We mask it with qualities we struggle to maintain the illusion of because we believe that we can fake it till we make it. But the need to cover up parts of ourselves is only a confirmation of the existence of those things in the first place. It’s giving them more legitimacy.

Like for instance, if you believe yourself to be bad, you will try to overcompensate through only displaying that which you perceive to be good. So if you find yourself being angry, you will try to suppress it and only display positive emotions. The problem is that we are ashamed of the reality of our being because we believe that certain emotions are bad and we shouldn’t feel them. But struggling against them, is an affirmation of their existence. And denying parts of yourselves becomes a punishment in itself which shows a lack of self love.

I have found that I didn’t really understand the idea of loving and accepting yourself. Whenever I allowed myself to feel things, I would do so with an underlying feeling of shame or guilt, which shifted the focus from my raw emotions, to my “wrongness”, therefore keeping the emotions stuck in my body, because they were not accepted and transmuted. Or I’d get so caught up in the thoughts behind the emotions that I’d become distracted from feeling them.

I’ve come to believe that loving and accepting yourself is about understanding the irrational needs you have, the longings, the pain, the unreasonable expectations you have from both yourself and others, the shame and the guilt and then being there for yourself, allowing yourself to feel those things, to feel the grief of not having experienced the kind of love you needed and realizing that many of these things stem from unfulfilled childhood needs that are no longer real but that have remained stuck and keep resurfacing in present situations and furthermore understanding that now you’re responsible for yourself and you need to take care of yourself. It’s also having compassion for yourself and even for those you may believe were responsible for your experience because you understand that there was no conscious ill intent behind their words and actions, behind them not being there for you as you needed as they also acted on their own wounding and lack of understanding.

The moment we accept, understand and love ourselves is the moment we will feel worthy to walk with God again. And then, all those ideals like bliss and joy and love and compassion that we try to embody through effort – and sometimes through imitation and pretense – will come naturally to us. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t aim towards those things or make any effort to become better people, these things are necessary because they lead to a better understanding of ourselves and they put us on the path to self discovery. But it is self-love that gives us the key to those things that we aim for.

On Boundaries and Blind Compassion

Something I wrote in September 2017:

Being someone that struggles with setting boundaries, there are a few things I have come to realize about them.

For one, they are strongly related to the socially programmed construct of having to “be nice”. One side effect of adopting such a belief is that you begin to ignore, suppress and deny the expression of any emotion which may be considered negative or which may suggest lower impulses (anger, sadness, disappointment, etc.). This interferes with a very important aspect of one’s behavior, authenticity. The conditioning unintentionally starts with our childhood when we are told that we have to behave (which is necessary to an extent) but then society takes advantage of this door to our psyche in order to instill its rules by rewarding the ‘virtue’ of obeying authority, which in essence is the quality of ‘being nice’ and not causing problems. Being nice is very insidious as it can get you to lose your integrity if it becomes the purpose that supersedes being true to yourself. That’s a way of making you accept things without a reaction by opting for agreeableness at the detriment of sincerity.

Another thing that I observed was that when you feel bad due to somebody else’s actions, then not expressing your true emotions leaves you angry and bitter. The other person may not have bad intentions, but keeping yourself in line just so you don’t bother the other person even though they are causing you discomfort is a recipe for resentment. And here is where the word ‘NO’ works miracles. From my experience, people who have difficulty setting limits are afraid that saying no might be interpreted as ill will, when in reality it’s just self preservation. Not only that, but they are also afraid of hurting another person with their sincerity. And in extreme cases, they may even hurt themselves by refusing to do what is right for them – acting according to their feelings – just because the opposite is expected of them.

One more thing I noticed from my own experience is that people who struggle with saying no complain…a lot! I only figured out the reason for this today! Yes, it took me a while! It’s because they fail to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR HOW THEY FEEL and they blame others instead. In doing so, they are basically turning people into aggressors while it is them that are enabling (what is perceived as) aggression by accepting the ‘aggressive’ behavior. Get that MINDFUCK!

Related image

It’s exactly today that I stumbled upon this wakeup-world article called ‘Power and Corruption: The Matrix of the Master and Slave’ and in it the author talked about how in every Master-Slave dynamic it is always the Slave that has to do something to change the situation in order to bring new awareness to the interaction. That’s because the Master is satisfied with his position (and those that are satisfied don’t seek) even if he’s not consciously aware that he’s inflicting pain or provoking discomfort and so it is the responsibility of the slave to revolt and re-frame the situation so that the cycle is broken:

“Hegel’s theory presents an extraordinary and compelling truth; the world is made up of masters and slaves and neither will ever become conscious unless this pattern is broken and remade. Moreover, the more conscious individuals are, the less likely they will enslave others, or accept enslavement. […] When one consciousness meets the other the stronger one will enslave the other. If the slave does not revolt this status quo will remain; and neither becomes conscious. If the Slave becomes conscious there is revolution. Only then is the Master conscious as well. Only when The Slave revolts is either the Slave or Master conscious.”

– Ethan Indigo Smith

“Blind compassion is rooted in the belief that we are all doing the best we can. When we are driven by blind compassion, we cut everyone far too much slack, making excuses for others’ behavior and making nice situations that require a forceful “no”, an unmistakable voicing of displeasure, or a firm setting and maintaining of boundaries. These things can, and often should be done out of love, but blind compassion keeps love too meek, sentenced to wearing a kind face. Blind compassion is kindness rooted in fear, and not just fear of confrontation, but also fear of not coming across as a good or spiritual person.

When we are engaged in blind compassion we rarely show anger, for we not only believe that compassion has to be gentle, we are also frightened of upsetting anyone, especially to the point of their confronting us. This is reinforced by our judgment about anger, especially in its more fiery forms, as something less spiritual; something that shouldn’t be there if we were being truly loving. Blind compassion reduces us to harmony junkies, entrapping us in unrelentingly positive expression.

With blind compassion we don’t know how to – or won’t learn how to – say “no” with any real power, avoiding confrontation at all costs and, as a result, enabling unhealthy patterns to continue. Our “yes” is then anemic and impotent, devoid of impact it could have if we were also able to access a clear, strong “no” that emanated from our core.

When we mute our essential voice, our openness is reduced to a permissive gap, an undiscerning embrace, a poorly boundaries receptivity, all of which indicate a lack of compassion for ourselves (in that we don’t adequately protect ourselves). Blind compassion confuses anger with aggression, forcefulness with violence, judgment with condemnation, caring with exaggerated tolerance, and more tolerance with spiritual correctness.”

– Robert Augustus Masters

Links:

https://wakeup-world.com/2017/09/22/power-and-corruption-the-matrix-of-the-master-and-slave/

https://highexistence.com/spiritual-bypassing-how-spirituality-sabotaged-my-growth/

https://www.lynneforrest.com/articles/2008/06/the-faces-of-victim/