Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others. - Brene Brown
I have been rather disheartened lately by the overwhelming use of hateful and bullying commentary among strangers, friends, family members, etc. There is a building divide that is continuing to get worse as we fight among each other, eager for our voices to be heard, our opinions to be louder, and our beliefs to be justified. I do not think that this stems from a hateful place in our hearts, but it is becoming the common language. We choose to live in love or in fear. Unfortunately, when we live in fear, we are bound to respond to things in a language that steps far, far away from love and understanding.
Do not misunderstand me. I very much believe in sharing one's opinion. I believe in having engaging, intellectual conversations with people who view the world differently than I do. Please be aware that when people speak the voice of hate and anger, it is coming from a place of fear. I make the ridiculously hard effort to respond through a place of love, with the knowledge that I do not know the circumstances of one's life to have complete understanding of their opinion and why they do not agree with me. Sometimes, I fail at this, usually when I have let something anger me or I am too exhausted to make the conscious effort to see love first. I have said hurtful things in this moment. I am learning now to set boundaries and acknowledge that if I am not able to respond through a voice of understanding, then I better not respond at all.
I urge you to set boundaries.
Conversation among friends and family this weekend has saddened me. A number of people I know have felt personally attacked for sharing their opinions or for participating in something they believed in. While they have not acted in a negative or hateful way, it sparked heated and harmful debates. There was backlash. Even those who haven't engaged in conversations feel the heavy weight of the dialect. They become exhausted, hurt, feel betrayed, angry, etc. This is why is important to set up boundaries and know when to step away and make time for self care.
You have the right to say no. You have the right to not engage with those who are acting like bullies or are using language that steps away from productive conversation. You have the right to delete someone else's comment without feeling the need to explain your choice. You have right to unfollow or remove people in your life who speak cruelty and hate. You get to walk away.
I know that waking away does not always make you feel better. Hurtful words have still been said that sparked anger or sadness within you. You may feel it is right to defend yourself or engage with this person, but I encourage you to remember who you are and remember that when you are engaging with heightened emotions, the chances of productive conversations are slim. I encourage you to step away and maybe come back to things when you are feeling better.
Some great ways to release anger/hurt:
- Walk away. Literally. Go on a walk, take in some fresh air, and enjoy nature.
- Journal. Be as mean and hurt as you need to be. No one else is going to see this but you. Let it out with full understanding that in doing so, you can release it.
- Call on support: I make it a habit to surround myself with people who support me and love me. When I find myself feeling overwhelmed by the words of another, I call on those people to remind me of who I am
- Forgive them. This sounds impossible, but it helps me a great deal. When I am feeling exceptional dislike for someone, I meditate and visualize my forgiveness. Now, it may not happen overnight, but if I continue this meditation as often as it bothers me, it eventually fades and I am truly able to forgive. Check out this Forgiveness Meditation.
- Do something you love, This can be painting, hiking, yoga, kickboxing, gardening, baking, video games, creating, dancing, watching comedies, etc. Do something that will make you smile and give you fuel.
- Practice Self Care. When we can practice caring for ourselves, we are able to focus on love. Love is the greatest tool we have to use against fear, hate, etc.
I encourage you to love yourself enough to build boundaries in your life, especially on social media. I believe it takes bravery to share your opinion and fight for what you believe in (without using cruel words or name calling). I think it is important to have conversations with people who have different opinions and life experiences, who wish to share their thoughts in a setting that promotes understanding and togetherness. I, also, believe that it takes great courage to avoid engaging in the conversations and actions that are outside of your boundaries.
If you ever need someone to support you and remind you what love is, I am here for you, always.
Would love to hear your opinion, Taryn <3