Set Boundaries and Claim Yourself

Boundaries

“When people show you their boundaries (“I can’t do this for you”), you feel rejected. You cannot accept the fact that others are unable to do for you all that you expect from them. You desire boundless love, boundless care, boundless giving.

Part of your struggle is to set boundaries to your own love — something you have never done. You give whatever people ask of you, and when they ask for more, you give more, until you find yourself exhausted, used, and manipulated. Only when you are able to set your own boundaries will you be able to acknowledge, respect, and even be grateful for the boundaries of others.

In the presence of the people you love, your needs grow and grow, until those people are so overwhelmed by your needs that they are practically forced to leave you for their own survival.

The greatest task is to claim yourself for yourself, so that you can contain your needs within the boundaries of your self and hold them in the presence of those you love. True mutuality in love requires people who possess themselves and who can give to each other while holding on to their own identities. So, in order for both to give more effectively and to be more self-contained with your needs, you must learn to set boundaries to your love.” 

~ Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love

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