There is a phrase that I like to share with clients regularly regarding boundaries, and that often I need to remind myself! And it’s this:
“Whatever is in my highest good is always in the highest good of all concerned.”
Said another way:
“Taking care of myself can never ‘screw over’ another person.”
Now to be clear – this doesn’t mean to overtly do something destructive and call it your “highest good.” We’re talking about setting healthy boundaries, speaking our truth, and advocating for our well being.
I was talking with a dear friend the other day who is going through the grief of her mother passing recently, and unexpectedly. As you may imagine, her feelings are complex, with waves of varying emotions ebbing and flowing. But there is one thing that was making her tear up and feel so unbelievable remorseful, and when she shared it her Inner Critic came out in full force.
Here’s what it was – she had set a significant boundary with her mother recently, and her mother was very upset about it. It resulted in an argument and some real discord while my friend was standing her ground.
The situation was that she was feeling very “taken advantage of” in ways that were truly detrimental to her own life. (Now of course she’s the one who allowed this – no one can take advantage unless we let them).
But now she had some to realize that it had to stop, and she expressed her own needs and her intention to break apart a dysfunctional and co-dependent pattern.
Because of her mom’s death after this being the last point of contact, she was immediately feeling so devastated that what she was wanting for herself caused her mom fear, anger, heartache… She was second-guessing her decision, bemoaning the fact that was what self-honoring for her would cause so much pain – and maybe she should have “sucked it up” and kept over-extending herself.
And that’s the exact trap we fall into!
I choose not to believe in a world where taking care of oneself in a healthy way causes true detriment to someone else.
What’s frustrating is that the other person might not thank you for it.
Setting this boundary gave her mother a host of opportunities:
- To step into her own personal responsibility for her life
- To move past the limiting belief that she’s not capable of earning income
- To grow from having someone set a boundary with her
- To own her part in the situation
- To explore her own creativity and resourcefulness
- To learn to express dissatisfaction or angry feelings more lovingly
And that’s just to name a few.
So remember – take care of yourself. Set limits around the things that are depleting you, or that you’re tolerating, or that you feel resentment about. YOUR part in all of these things is 1) in creating them, and 2) in staying in them.
But you can change things the moment you decide to.
Just remember your self-care is ALWAYS in the highest good of all concerned.