Reading Review: Owning Our Injuries
Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
I pretty much loved this book. It is what it says it is – a book about boundaries. Not the physical kind, necessarily, but the emotional, mental kind. The boundaries we build around our true person that help to define who we are to the rest of the world. The boundaries that protect us from emotional harm, from stress and burn out, from feelings of guilt and obligation.
I will say, right up front, that the down side of this book was that it got a bit…long…at times. Though it is quite educational, it isn’t exactly a put-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat thriller. And, there are a LOT of lists. To accomplish _________, here are 10 steps. Or, to do this, there are 7 steps. Or, to gain this, there are 12 steps. There are a TON of steps for every little thing that your supposed to do in order to have healthy boundaries. I don’t see how they expect any one to actually remember all the steps, definitely not follow every single one. And some of them are the same steps just repeated for different purposes, but a lot of them are different. Who can remember 427 different steps? Not me.
But I did get the gist of the book. And I think it’s a book most every one should read. I was actually surprised to see where there are areas I have unhealthy boundaries. Areas where I permit harm to myself on the basis of sparing someone else’s feelings. What I see now is that I’m not only causing feelings of resentment and anger to grow in my own heart, I’m also not doing the other person any favors by allowing their poor behavior to continue. True love would kindly not permit poor behavior and would not harbor resentment but would address the issue and prohibit it from continuing. (Easier said than done. I know.)
The other thing I learned is that we are responsible for our own pain. When someone else has poor or unkind habits, when our boundaries are not respected by another, we tend to be hurt or wounded or angry or bitter. We blame the other person. After all, they are the ones who caused the pain. True. But they aren’t the ones feeling the pain. Since it is our pain to feel, we are responsible for doing something to correct the problem rather than playing the victim. As long as we play the victim and harbor the pain, the problem will continue. When we address the issue and enforce our boundaries we are taking responsibility for our feelings of pain and protecting ourselves from future injuries.
We are responsible as stewards for the lives we have been given. We are stewards of our time and our bodies and our emotions. In order to manage them well, we need good boundaries. Healthy boundaries.
Question: What are you reading right now?