Holy Detachment: Honoring and Accepting Healthy Boundaries

Holy Detachment: Honoring and Accepting Healthy Boundaries

“When do I detach? When I realize that I am hooked into a reaction of anger, fear, guilt or shame.  I cannot “make” them do anything they do not want to do. When I set them free, I set myself free to live my own life. I need to let them be in whatever emotion they need to be.  I no longer need to feel responsible for the decisions of other people. It is my pleasure and right to have my own opinions.

I will become less and less uncomfortable with my new response, which is to not react. It will not always feel so uncomfortable as it does today. In fact, each time I practice not reacting, it becomes more and more familiar to me.

Stop looking to them to give me something they cannot give me at this time. I am responsible for taking care of myself, even when in the best of relationships. I am to stop looking for them to be balanced when they are not. To keep my expectations reasonable. Sometimes I need low points in a relationship, so that we can both grow and lean separately.

When they are struggling, do I doubt that they will survive the experience? That it is not OK for them to feel however they are feeling? Do I believe in their power and God’s power to overcome, eventually?

My goal is to take care of myself, to love myself and live a healthy life, no matter what others do or do not do. I decide what boundaries and decisions are necessary to do this. It is OK to say No to my family members. It is OK to call a time-out and it is OK for me to return as a different person. I never need to forfeit self-care and health for the “sake of the dysfunctional system.”  I can disregard any flack I receive for changing my behavior or other efforts to be myself.

I cannot simultaneously set a boundary and take care of their feelings. It is not possible; the two acts contradict. It is not OK to hurt myself. The most powerful impact I can have on others is accomplished by taking responsibility for myself and allowing others to be responsible for themselves. Caring works. Caretaking does not. I can learn to walk the fine line between the two.

I can learn to separate their issues from mine. I am recovering. Help me seek today for greater awareness and acceptance.

I can learn how to respond in a more effective way. I cannot control what they do, but I can gain some sense of self control over how I choose to respond. I am to stop trying to make them act differently. To unhook from their system by refusing to try to change or influence them. Their patterns are their issues. I can love them but refuse to buy into their issues.

I do not need to feel guilty about finding happiness and a life that works. My freedom starts when I stop denying their issues, and respectfully & assertively, hand their stuff back to them—where it belongs—and deal with my own issues.

I can let go of excessive and inappropriate feelings of responsibility toward my parents and other family members. I do not need to allow their destructive beliefs to control me, my feelings, behavior and life. Today, I will begin the process of being set free from any self-defeating beliefs that my parents may have passed on to me.

When will I become lovable? When will I feel safe? When will I receive all the protection, nurturing, and love that is waiting for me? I will receive it when I begin offering it to myself.

I hold the key to my own freedom. That key is honoring myself and taking care of myself. I can say what I mean and mean what I say. I can stop waiting for others to give me what I need and take responsibility for myself. When I do, the gates of freedom will swing wide open. Walk through.

Healthy boundaries emerge from deep within. They are connected to letting go of guilt and shame and to changing my beliefs about what I deserve. As my thinking about this becomes clearer, so will my boundaries. I can learn how to shorten the time between identifying a need to set a boundary and taking clear, direct action about it.

“Too much compassion” may cause me to become a martyr or victim. There is a big difference between humility and discounting myself.

The thought of doing this may generate fears. That is normal. Take care of myself anyway. The answers and the power to do that are within me now. Start today. Start where I am. Start by taking care of who I am, at the present moment, to the best of my ability.

Freedom and joy are mine for the taking, for the feeling, for the hard work I have done.”


(Source: The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie.)

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