When we are setting boundaries with compassion, we choose to accept that all beings are interconnected, even those who are difficult!
Compassion plants a seed of desire, the desire to relieve the suffering experienced by others and ourselves. Therefore, it invites us to act from a place of selflessness and blamelessness, which fosters equanimity and unconditional loving-kindness.
How can we establish boundaries compassionately? It begins by practicing self-compassion. It is extremely hard to show compassion for others when we cannot do so for ourselves. We tend to be our harshest critics, and in boundary work it is easy to unfairly judge ourselves, resulting in feelings of shame, unworthiness, and doubt. By embracing ourselves with compassion and loving-kindness, we nurture a big-hearted mindset and spirit.
After first awakening your self-compassion, you can then expand your circle of compassion to include others. By extending compassion, you let go of blame, fears, and judgment. As you open your heart, you transform your boundary work into a powerful act of acceptance.
What does compassion mean to you?
Do you nurture your self with compassion?
Why or why not?
Do you believe it's possible to set boundaries compassionately?
How might compassion show up in your boundary setting?
Practice this loving-kindness meditation whenever you need to tap into your heart and connect with the energy of compassion. When you do, it's much easier for you to extend that energy to others. This is especially helpful to do before you communicate your boundary, dedicating the meditation to the other person.
1. Find a comfortable place to sit with your eyes closed. Take a few minutes to settle and ground yourself, breathing calmly and gently.
2. First begin with yourself. As you breathe, picture yourself content and say a positive affirmation, such as "I am content and healthy" or "I am at peace."
3. Next, visualise someone you care about. Offer loving-kindness to them.
For example, "May______ be at peace."
4. Now, extend your good wishes to someone neutral, perhaps a person you saw at the supermarket today. Imagine that person and offer loving-kindness to him.
5. The next step in loving-kindness meditation is to imagine the person who you are having a difficult time with, the person who you need to set a boundary with. You can say their name; picture their face. Offer your good intention and compassion. You can switch between offering loving-kindness to yourself and to the other person, letting the energy of compassion flow between the two of you.
6. Lastly, expand the circle to include all those around you, even the whole world if you like. Let yourself be a loving light radiating outwards in every direction. "May all beings be at peace."
What was your experience like with the loving-kindness meditation.
How did you feel when you extended compassion to the person that you need to set a boundary with? Write that down.
If it's challenging to extend compassion to a person who you are having a difficult time with, that's okay. Don't be hard on yourself.
It's not easy to do, especially if that person has been resisting or violating your boundary.
One helpful tip is to remember that the other person is human, with his own hardships and issues. That doesn't mean excusing his behaviour, but it's accepting that we are all on the same boat called Life.
Also, if you can find one thing that connects you with the other person on a one-to-one level, make that the link that inspires your compassion and goodwill.
For example, if the person is related to you, then the link is family bond. If the person is not related, maybe he grew up in the same town, went to the same school, or works at the same place as you.
Find the connection and tap into it with your loving-kindness mediation, it will definitely make the process a little easier.