/ / / L O V E. A N D. B O U N D A R I E S / / /
September 9, 2017
My sister recently talked to me about the equine therapy sessions she has been attending and I have been thinking about it so much. I wanted to share it with you all and hear your thoughts on this… I’m totally fascinated by this concept and how it relates to my interactions with others, and maybe more specifically my reactions to other people, so I want to share it with you (with permission from Brie).
So, there was this horse that my sister really liked and it came up to her and it gave her a nudge. My sister’s first instinct was to react with love, to embrace and pet the horse. The therapist at that point said “No! Do not let this horse do that to you!” For us loving types like my sister and me, that is a weird thing to hear. I mean, why not? I like this horse, this horse likes me, let’s hug it out! But the therapist said “No.” First, you have to create boundaries. Then the horse will respect you. And then finally you can share love. So, the order needs to go BOUNDARIES—>RESPECT—>LOVE. My sister said that it took 2 hours after that initial nudge to develop respect because the horse couldn’t figure what her boundaries were.
So all of this got me thinking about how I interact with people and I’m learning a lot!!! I like to meet people with love and open arms and pretty much throw boundaries to the wind. But what happens then when something that feels negative occurs… like they do something that hurts me (because I’ve already let them in to be able to hurt me!) or that feels disappointing to me, or something that makes me feel the need to close my arms back in towards my chest and protect myself by putting up BOUNDARIES? Well, they get really confused! And then they get hurt back because I never established what my boundaries were so they didn’t really know what it looked like to cross them. Huh.
Now, take Bernice Brown Johnston on the other hand, who is not only a horse lover, but also a therapist herself… I was talking to her about this yesterday and she say “Wow! What an epiphany! This is so true about you!” Bernice, however, starts relationships with boundaries. She has no problem expressing them from the start. She is incredibly respected and loved, but the initial interaction with her is usually much more controlled or clear as to the lines of the relationship.
In fact, my tender heart can’t even ask for payment from people because it makes me feel weird and un-loving. So, for those of you who have ever had a financial interaction with OULA, it usually always goes through Bernice because she knows this is a business and businesses need money to survive. These are the boundaries, and I’m sure you all still respect and love her for it. In fact, someone actually asked me the other day for a discount at training and I said “no” and she asked me “Where is the Oula love?” You see, I realize I did this to myself because I DON’T CREATE BOUNDARIES. Then, on top of this, I almost get offended when I can feel boundaries with people. I almost feel like “what have I done to deserve a boundary? I’ve never hurt you or given you a reason not to trust me!” So I’m almost approaching this whole thing from the opposite angle which I think can lead to me feeling hurt super easily and those I’m interacting with to get confused by my reactions when I suddenly draw back because all this time I’ve been so open and have’t sufficiently created boundaries.
I don’t know… I would love to hear all of your thoughts on this or at least I hope this sparks some good discussion! There is a part of me that likes leading interactions with love, but if that is the case then I need to figure out how to gently create boundaries without being super abrupt about it when I feel the desire to pull in and protect myself. Or maybe I try out BOUNDARIES first on some select interactions and see how that goes and how we get to the LOVE from there…
Would love to hear your thoughts!!!
xoxo