A Case for Boundaries

Personal Boundaries

All of my professional life was spent working in human service organizations. I wanted to help people! And, like many of us who go into ‘helping professions’ I had to learn–usually the hard and embarrassing way– about the concept of personal boundaries. No, not the office door is closed I’m busy boundaries, but the, “Have you got a minute” one’s or, “can I talk to you”…usually right now with a big sense of urgency.  It took me a long time–in retrospect forever– to realize that I could not be everything to everybody and what I initially thought was kindness and compassion was really my ego at play as I tried to fix everyone.  And of course, be a friend so they liked me. However the  boundary lesson was the realization that I was usually not dealing with patients, but invariable dealing with my staff.

Recently I came across a quote by Tracy Kidder in regard to boundaries that I wish I had read a long time ago.

“We all know people with toxic personalities. The toxins are less potent when we realize the role we play. If we have expected them to move us along the spiritual journey we have made a bad choice; if we think we can reach out to them and bring them along by administering a cure, we had better put on protective overalls and keep our role clearly before us. Such relationships keep us clearly stuck to each other as if the handholding where the goal.”

And you know what? I have come to realize that Kidders points transcend the workplace and can creep into the dojo and monastery as well. Different place, same dynamics.

What are your boundary demons?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: