During the past holiday season, I consciously chose to focus on establishing boundaries and minimizing judgments with people in my life. It is instinctual for me to judge others and label them good or bad. I have a natural urge to analyze other people’s behaviors. Somehow I find myself arrogantly speaking about people as if I am an experienced therapist with all of life’s answers. I have learned that I can compassionately establish personal boundaries for myself without judging others. We all need to give each other the gift of non-judgment even when a person falls out of our healthy boundary zone.
It is prickly work for me to live and let live. I have only recently recognized that I do not have to like a person. People do not have to like me either. I can place a person outside of my boundary fence without judgment. I can let other people be who they are at this time… and I need the same allowance in return.
We are all souls on our own journeys in our own time zones. We arrived here in our karmic destiny from past lives. We have this lifetime to curate our dharma (a Hindu term meaning purpose and right living) and we are constantly evolving.
In order to establish boundaries, we need to identify our own core values. I value creativity, integrity and compassion. When I define these values I am able to determine if I am operating in wholeness, simply put I know when I like myself. I feel best when my days are creative, my actions are with integrity and my heart is filled with compassion.
I believe that daily creativity matters. I am drawn to creative people who are curious, open-minded and seeking unique self-expression. I create when I design jewelry for the east+west collection and link the meaning of each piece to a spiritual symbol. I feel creatively empowered even when organizing a closet or wrapping a gift. Curating a new playlist for Young Hearts Yoga is meaningful as well as cooking a new recipe. Creating a logo for my website is gratifying. Creative opportunities saturate our days, even if it does not involve watercolors or a camera.
I have learned to accept the creative expression of other people and work hard not to judge expressions. I prefer paintings over piercings and chanting over church. I know that creativity comes in all flavors.
Operating with the value of integrity keeps me whole. When I judge others I feel more like a gossip, hacking away at someone else’s choices. I am then not whole, I become as hacked as the words I use to judge others. This extends to listening to and reading online gossip. I feel flat when I am the audience to a friend’s gossip. I feel even flattered when I choose to read celebrity gossip. I recognize at these times that I am not existing with integrity.
I have learned that I lack integrity when I continue to interact with people outside of my healthy boundary zone. I notice unkind thoughts ruminating in my mind and I recognize I am in a space without personal integrity.
Compassion is a heavyweight quality and important value to me. When I choose compassion rather than judgement, I am happier. The Dalai Lama says, “if you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” There are times I see homeless people asking for money and I wonder if they plan to buy alcohol or drugs with donations. If I donate with compassion, I am happier. If I refrain from judgment and focus on the challenging weather conditions then I am comfortable with making a donation. I live in a cozy home. Instead of judging why this person is living on the streets I need to feel compassion; then I like myself better.
Thomas Merton so perfectly explained compassion in this quote, “The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, all are involved in another.”
In 2018 I will establish boundaries and limit judgment. I will instill my values of creativity, integrity and compassion in daily life. I know I will like myself and my community.