Thursday, September 13, 2012

Adios to Rescuing, Fixing, Saving

The subject of boundaries is a substantial, ongoing thread woven through many counseling conversations.  Counselors assist people in figuring out what boundaries look like and why a boundaried lifestyle works.  We sort through the damage done when clear boundaries haven't been set up or when they've been violated.  And we work together to move into the future with a truer sense of what healthy emotional {and sometimes physical} perimeters look like.

I'm sharing some notes from a recent read-through of Melody Beattie's classic Beyond Codependency.   And no, this is not just another self-help book for adult children of alcoholics or fans of the recovery movement.  It's for any who struggle with the propensity to be so involved with the lives of others that they leave their own self-care and common sense behind.  This includes people helpers of every stripe and those who spend their days absorbed in the endless compulsion to rescue, fix, or save everyone who comes along their path. 

This rescue mentality often occurs because our identity, our value, our esteem is not fully settled in our relationship with our Savior, but rather in what we can do for others. 

Let me put it this way.  I've met alot of codependent people who love Jesus. 

Loving our neighbor as ourselves {Mark 12:30-31} implies that there should be some level of regard and care for our own souls before we can model something healthy and whole for those we rub shoulders with.   The key is loving God first.  With everything we've got.  Out of that healthy allegiance comes the ability and desire to love and care for ourselves, in all the ways that matter most - body, spirit, mind, emotions.  And then modeling something compellingly life-giving to those around us as we share His love and grace.

And allowing people the freedom to make their own choices, own their own feelings, live their own lives.

Because God alone is the one who rescues.  Fixes.   Saves. 

Not us.

My notes ...

* setting boundaries is about learning to take care of ourselves, no matter what happens, where we go or who we're with

* boundaries emerge from deep decisions about what we believe we deserve and don't deserve

* boundaries emerge from the belief that what we want and need, like and dislike is important

* boundaries emerge from a deeper sense of our personal rights, especially the right we have to take care of ourselves and be ourselves

* boundaries emerge as we learn to value, trust, and listen to ourselves

* when we identify we need to set a limit with someone, do it clearly, preferably without anger, and in as few words as possible

* we cannot simultaneously set a boundary (a limit) and take care of another person's feelings

* we'll probably feel ashamed and afraid when we set boundaries

* anger, rage, complaining, and whining are clues to boundaries we need to set

* we'll be tested when we set boundaries

* be prepared to follow through by acting in congruence with boundaries

* some people are happy to respect our boundaries

* we'll set boundaries when we're ready, and not a minute sooner

* a support system can be helpful as we strive to establish and enforce boundaries

I hope this provides a bit of helpful food for thought ~

^ highlighters by Numan Q.

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