Boundaries and Blackbirds: Our greatest challenge is to break away from the herd

What do boundaries and blackbirds have in common?
What do Boundaries and Blackbirds have in common?

Carl Jung said that as humans our greatest challenge is to break away from the herd

Boundaries.  Those lines we draw around ourselves to maintain balance and to protect our psyche from invasion.  Yes, or maybe ‘intrusion’ is a gentler word.

The push of energy that comes from the behavior and the demands of others requires a boundary.  That boundary keeps us from being used or manipulated by others and within that boundary we can express our true nature.  Personal boundaries allow us to be in the driver’s seat of our own lives.

Without healthy boundaries we sometimes give up a part of our self to be available or accommodating in a way that enables others and causes a loss of self-respect.

We can  become so entangled with another person and their needs (co-dependent behavior) that we lose your own identity. This undermines our integrity and leads to a loss of self-respect — and the respect of others around you.

Respecting boundaries. I asked my self today if I honor other people’s boundaries.  Do I push myself on others?  When I get a hint that a person does not wish to socialize with me, do I continue to insist that they do so?  And  do I solicit others in passive-aggressive ways to elicit sympathy from others using them to assist me to push boundaries even further?

Sounds like a little bit like the animal–the bull, doesn’t it.  But you know how some people keep on antagonizing the other, right?   I have a visual.   Someone who is like a bull and charges upon others.   Wave that red flag in my face one more time and I may, do like the bull, and charge!  🙂

Do people have a fundamental right to set limits and expectations in their life without incurring the judgment of others?  I think they do.  You know that saying,  “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.“–??

Can people consider the wishes of others yet still make choices regarding personal boundaries?

People are the way they are.  Can we accept that without judging them, trying to manipulate or change them?

I operate from my own truth.  You do too.  And when we respect other people’s truths,  we expect our own truths to be respected in return.

Manipulative people do not understand boundaries.  They force themselves into the space of other people’s lives.

Where’s the compassion?  Fear is the root of it all, you know?  The boundary pushing person has a fear of not being loved, not being good enough, deserving enough.  Okay, that’s understood.  So then what? Do we let the person keep pushing or what?

Compassion for the boundary pusher and for the one with the boundaries ( both ) is what’s needed here.  There is the defensiveness from the one with the boundaries who says, “See what I see, hear what I hear, feel what I feel and then maybe you will understand.”  And the other one, in the meanwhile,  of course still pushes– the habit of fear being the driving motivation.

“You couldn’t handle half of what I’ve dealt with and don’t understand that there’s a reason that I do what I do”, says the one who has been willing to accept responsibility for their own life and who has developed the self-respect which created the boundary.  Victim talk?

Personal boundaries are more than OK–and it doesn’t mean that you are selfish or unkind if you push back when someone pushes yours.  Boundaries mean that you have a clear picture of who you are and how you want to live.

In a family dynamic it is always more difficult or better said–complex.  Sometimes we have to endure a person for the sake of keeping the relatives happy, right?  Or do we?  Do we enable dysfunctional behaviors in family members? Or don’t we?

The “herd mystique” and it’s allure

There is a quote from Carl Jung about this being one of the human’s greatest challenges.  Fitting in with the group, the herd, the clan–“You are family so you HAVE TO be around me!”  Where is that written?  Genetic connection or NOT;  do we vote with our presence indicating that dysfunctional behavior is acceptable?

On another note, is it our responsibility to straighten other people out in ways that we believe they should ‘act’ according to our own standards of behavior?  Whoa! Now  that’s one huge judgment if we believe that.  Where’s THAT truth?  Speak it.  Does that sound right if you say it aloud?  Best not to push your truth onto others or become a evangelist — that’s a karma creator if there ever was one.

By placing a boundary and living within it, you are living your own truth and being compassionate to yourself and to the other as well.  You are also teaching people in your life what self-respect looks like through example.

We have to trust what we know and what we have learned from the work that we have done in our own life via self-analysis, theology, philosophy and spirituality. 

This is especially true if we speak about times when our boundaries are pushed and disrespected, especially in a family situation.  Those are the most charged with the opportunity for growth and for teaching through example.

People who push boundaries are giving you the opportunity to develop or to teach self-respect.  Pushing back is a delicate art.  Knowing how to push back against pushy people takes stamina and skill. (Personally, some days I feel too old for it quite honestly.)

Anyway, push-back involves maintaining your own autonomy and self-esteem when you are being invaded.  You know that you need to step back and protect yourself, while minimizing any hostility or confrontation.  Not easy.  People are going to be offended.  Sometimes I think pushy people know that and it makes them push all the more–or they enjoy the drama.

People who push boundaries are acting out of fear and desperately trying to fulfill their own needs.  Social self-reliance is not really their forte’, their strong suit yet; they’re working on it.  We’re all a work in progress.

Self-care means recognizing the importance of your feelings and honoring them and when you set boundaries, this is what you are doing.  It’s important.

But we’re “All One”–right?

We’re all one and connected and while this is true, and while we can be compassionate and understanding as we see the ‘bigger picture’ with self and others, we still have to be able to function here and in order to do so we must stay emotionally healthy while maintaining boundaries… all the while doing the relationship dance.  Being human isn’t easy.

Being human isn’t easy and being the best human you can be… well, it’s tricky sometimes.

I think the best thing we can do is get out of the judgment with the whole business with boundaries and relationships and being social.  I think Jung was right about the “herd mystique”– our greatest challenge being to break away from the herd.

To fully “individuate” is to be able to stop trying to “fit in” and  to be comfortable living in your own truth.  Separating one’s self from those to whom one does not feel an authentic connection takes courage.  The wrath of the clan falls upon you sometimes; that comes along with the territory of being your own person.

There is perceived safety in numbers which is an illusion just as much as any other erroneous belief we hold about living in this dimension.  Some people, and maybe I’m one, feel more authentic outside of the herd.  Strong boundaries are needed and when threatened, need re-enforcing.  Should that be a surprise?

What about karma?

Karma.  It’s our intention that creates it.  I think that needs to be said as well.  To have a boundary does not carry ill intent.

No man is an island onto himself, it is said.  We are one; yet, it is ego that separates us or gives a unique history of experiences and thus identity.

Judgment also separates us– i.e. “…you are different” or “… you should behave toward me in one way or another”.  It all gets us to work on our human growth and evolution both individually and collectively.

blackbirdBut in the meanwhile, as we do all of that, I like the blackbird way of interacting with their fellow birds. If a bird lands on a nearby branch and is not the mate of that blackbird they do a little nod (a bow) and fly away. Blackbirds are pretty solitary.  They are known to establish their territory, fiercely defending it (boundaries) by driving off any of their kind that get close to their vicinity.  Boundaries and blackbirds seem to go together.

What’s the bottom line? The ending conclusion? The final thought?  The summary? The point? The meaning?  I don’t know.   I just do hope something here helps someone out in cyber-world as I worked through some thoughts about boundaries today.

Here’s an article about emotional manipulation that I came across shortly after writing the blog above.  Some may find this helpful:

http://themindunleashed.org/2014/09/8-ways-spot-emotional-manipulation-free.html

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