Posts Tagged ‘boundaries’

i have been thinking a lot lately about expectations…and connections.  i believe with all my heart that we are meant to make and have connections with others…that it is part of why we are here.  these connections can be so beautiful…so uplifting and supportive.  and they can be so painful.  so if we are “supposed” to have connections with others in our life, why do those connections sometimes bring so much pain?

is it our expectations of those connections that cause the pain?  i know they can.  people will always disappoint us.  i don’t see this as a bad thing necessarily, just a fact.  we are all individuals with our own personalities, our own wants, our own sets of issues…we all see life and others through the filter of our past experiences.  we can adjust and clear the filters…but we can never get rid of them completely.  in a way, they make us who we are…the experiences of our life.  so here we are, a bunch of different individuals on this planet, all with our own issues, all seeing things in our own particular way, all needing connection.  in a way that sounds like a recipe for disaster.

i think it can be.  i think if we expect others to be for us what we haven’t learned to be for ourselves, we are in for a world of hurt.  if we expect others to affirm and love us in ways that we cannot…we for sure will end up disappointed and hurt…and will probably end up doubting ourselves, doubting our self worth.  but this is just one side of the pendulum.  often after we experience that side, and feel that horrible pain, we decide we don’t want that anymore and swing to the other side of the pendulum.  i think this is human nature.  we want to survive. when we get hurt that badly, sometimes we come to the conclusion that we need to hide…be closed off…so we are never hurt like that again.

so we try out the other extreme…never letting anyone in, never reaching out, never being vulnerable.  while this might feel “safe”, i don’t think it is any way to live…to live our life in fear of rejection, not letting anyone see who you are, never sharing the beauty of our lives with anyone else…isolating.  what a shame it is when someone stays there…trapped in their pain and confusion.

so what are we do to with all of this?  the paradox of needing connections, yet being able to be so hurt by them?   i think, like most things, the answer lies in the middle.  i don’t think the answer is to never have expectations of anyone and i don’t think the answer is to expect others to provide something for us that they can’t, like our sense of self worth.  somewhere in the middle there, i believe, we can find peace…and connection.

i think to even be able to briefly stay in that middle place, that place of peace and connection, first we must look at ourselves.  we must look at our pain, look at our beliefs about ourselves and the world.  we must learn to love and value ourselves enough that when we do trust someone who then really hurts us, we see it for what it is, and not a confirmation that we are unworthy of connection.  we are all worthy of love and connection because we exist.  i really believe that.  so when someone hurts us, it is never because we aren’t worthy.  people disappoint us for all sorts of reasons.  we might need to examine our behavior in the situation, not our worth, but our behavior.  we might have some responsibility in it.  maybe we need to adjust our expectations.  maybe we are expecting others to be something for us that we need to be for ourselves.  maybe the other person is so hurt and scared themselves, that they can’t give us what we think we need at that moment in time, or ever.  maybe the other person has changed, or we have and it just isn’t a good fit anymore.  maybe that person will always be there for you in a bigger sense, but at this point in their life isn’t as available.  it is our responsibility to figure out who is safe for us to connect with.  and it is our responsibility to protect ourselves, not by hiding, but by remembering we are worthy, no matter what and taking steps to not let people close to us who have shown us they are not safe to share with right now, or ever.

it feels kind of like a dance to me…being in the middle…swaying to life’s music, never getting too stuck in one place.  how wonderful it is to dance with someone…to feel the same thing.  but we don’t need any one person to dance…we can dance alone, we can dance with others.  the music is life…it’s always there.  partners come and go…one might step on your toes…one might dance so beautifully, you start to think they know how to dance and you don’t…someone might like the way you dance, then change their mind, or put you down out of their insecurities, making you doubt yourself…and sometimes, we find others who dance with us in a way that supports us, compliments who we are…someone who seems to fit with us perfectly.    when that happens we sometimes think we will dance with them forever…and sometimes we end up doing just that…which is beautiful, but not the most important thing…the most important thing is that, no matter what,  we keep dancing.

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