Last week, I spoke about what it means to be body positive on social media (follow me here if you don’t already). To be "body positive" is to approach yourself with love, kindness, and compassion, regardless of how you feel about yourself in the moment.
But how do we build compassion for ourselves?
Last Monday, I heard Brené Brown speak at The Wing. She discussed her new Netflix special and what it means to be courageous. I was expecting her to be amazing, and of course, she was! But I wasn’t expecting her to add the depth she did to my understanding of being self-compassionate.
What impacted me the most was when she discussed boundaries. She said, “compassion doesn’t exist without boundaries.” She went on to blow my mind. “Boundaries are not fake walls. They’re not separation or division; they are respect.”
This got me thinking about self-love and self-compassion and how it’s impossible to exist without having respect for yourself.
We’re told by our parents, teachers, society, that disappointing other people will make them not “like” us. As children, we’re taught there will be consequences to our “defiance”. Instead of freely being allowed to set our own boundaries, we’re told we don’t know what’s best for us and therefore, our boundaries are set by others.
Regardless of how well-intentioned these others might be, they lack the innate understanding of our needs. Helicopter parenting, alcoholism, religion, politics, poor mental health, ageism (just to name a few) can contribute to these authorities using their power to create or bend boundaries to an unhealthy state, typically based on personal gain. We see this happening in our current political climate.
And of course, we have consumer media to bombard us every which-way to reinforce the cultural norms that inhibit our ability to develop a strong sense of self.
She went on to say that through her research, the most compassionate people she interviewed were also the most boundary-conscious. What she was taught, what we’ve all been taught, is to allow people to be involved in our lives based on their needs.
We are told to be liked and loved, we must comply with other people.
But instead of creating love, this creates tension and resentment towards ourselves and others. It reinforces our beliefs that we don’t deserve respect or compassion. And what’s the first thing we usually do? Take it out on ourselves. We stop having self-compassion.
…You see where I’m going with this?
Boundaries are SO freaking important!! They create calm, assertive control. They give us power. They develop our compassion and respect for ourselves and others.
We cannot have self-respect or compassion without boundaries. We cannot have body positivity without self-compassion.
Do you struggle with boundaries with family, work, food, relationships? Creating them? Keeping them?
I have too! The work I’ve done and still do to figure out what they are and overcoming the fear of consequences in staying firm with my boundaries is never endless. It takes time, diligence, and support to figure it out. It's not impossible.
How to Create Boundaries
P.S. If you struggle with how to set and keep boundaries in your own life and want more information on how to fix that, click here to chat with me.
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