Love Letters to Humans (no. 31) — on Boundaries

Right Relationship requires both healthy boundaries and skill. One is not a replacement for the other. Both require discernment.

When we talk about healthy relationships, we tend to talk a lot about boundaries… how to keep out what doesn’t serve us, how to protect ourselves from toxicity and other fuckery. Beautiful, healthy boundaries are so important. In fact, setting and maintaining healthy boundaries is an invaluable set of skills.

-AND-

When we talk about boundaries as though they are The Answer to all our relational struggles, we put the onus of our safety, peace, and comfort on how diligent we are at keeping toxicity at a distance.

There are other skills available to us if we want to navigate discomfort and difference… that don’t always mean keeping our distance. Discomfort and difference aren’t toxic by definition, and many of us have learned to treat them as though they are. Conflict, tension, disagreement, and confrontation are not inherently abusive or harmful, and when we lack the discernment and skills to navigate them and relate to one another when they are present, we resort to setting boundaries as a external fix for something that is internal to us.

Keeping out what is truly harmful to us is necessary. Avoiding people and situations because we don’t yet have the skills to navigate disagreement or difference is using boundaries as a way to stunt our own growth.

I don’t have the answers about what Right Relationship, healthy boundaries, or relational growth look like for you. What I have is a non-judgmental space to explore these ideas, take them away for practice in your real life, and come back for support, witness, and further exploration. I’d love for you to join me and a small handful of lovely people in this conversation.

REGARD: a 10-week exploration of Right Relationship starts on October 15th. Registration is open.