Your personal boundaries protect the inner core of your identity and your right to choices.
-Gerard Manley Hopkins
I love my family. I love my friends. I love my community and I have respect and admiration for a great number of people whom I wouldn’t necessarily say I love. And at the same time, I am aware of and respect my boundaries and don’t see any conflict with loving others and having boundaries.
Because having boundaries is one aspect of loving oneself, and that’s where it all starts. I can’t love others if I don’t love myself. I can’t listen to others’ opinions and feelings and dreams if I have none of my own. I can’t encourage individual expression if I parrot the loudest voices in my midst.
Our boundaries not only keep unwanted things out, they also keep wanted things in. Our boundaries draw a clear line of demarcation between where I end, and you begin. They protect, as the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins states, the inner core of your identity and your right to choices.
It is not only our prerogative but our responsibility to have boundaries. Only when I am fully me—when I have a clear and defined sense of self, of dreams and goals and perspectives, all born from my inner contemplation and life experiences, can encourage and accept you—completely as you are.
Or more simply put, live and let live…