One of the most popular topics I teach is Setting Boundaries—but setting boundaries can be hard to do if you’ve made kindness the primary focus of your engagements. Don’t get me wrong, we should all be kind. And there’s no doubt that if there was more kindness, the world would be a much better place.
Attention to kindness is now a thing, complete with memes. Apparently, it needs promoting like the latest marketing concept we’re reminded to support. But it’s not reminders to be kind that we need. What we need are reminders to be kind, but with boundaries.
Kindness is great until boundaries are crossed. Unbridled kindness can have you giving up a piece of your authentic self every time you engage. When you lead with kindness, you feel good about yourself at the end of the day. But were you kind to yourself? How much did you tolerate? How many of your personal boundaries were crossed?
How much self-love and self-compassion did you shower on yourself? If the answer is none, then it’s time to set some boundaries for yourself too! One boundary that comes to mind is: Don’t do more for others than you do for yourself. Kindness begins with how you treat yourself!
Boundaries communicate our needs and expectations. It’s kind, not selfish, to tell others how you want to be treated. If someone becomes upset at your boundaries, it’s just more evidence you need to set them. They’re healthy guidelines you can use for more clear and mindful communication and engagements, less stress, and a better sense of control. When you don’t set boundaries, you may begin to sweep all the things that your infinite kindness allowed past your boundaries right under the rug.
It’s time to draw your line in the sand and set some personal boundaries. Proclaim who you are and have your circle adjust to it. Let your kindness flow, but let it flow with awareness and intention. Setting personal boundaries is the epitome of self-care and self-respect. Kindness with boundaries is Positive Aging!
Pat Landaker is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) and owner of Living La Vida Senior, Ageless Aging, and CSA Senior Solutions. She serves on the American Society on Aging’s Social Impact and Innovation Council and the CSA’s Certification Council. She teaches Positive Aging at UNLV/OLLI. www.patlandakerAGEncy.com or [email protected]