A New Day, A New Perspective

The Empathetic, Boundaries, and Misinterpretation of the Bible

Calendar

December 2011
S M T W T F S
« Nov   Jan »
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

I grew up in church and was taught a daily helping of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” – Luke 6:31.

Although, growing up it seemed that this verse was then and is now quoted as a matter of telling someone else they should be acting better than they are.  I had this presented to me in a fashion that meant that I should continually “put myself in the other person’s shoes,” “stop and think how they feel,” and for most of my life I did just that.  I was the person that was constantly thinking of others and how they must feel in whatever situation presented its self.  It made me sympathetic to many, comforting to all, and completely locked inside myself. 

My sense of boundaries was all messed up as well.  I was so considerate and empathetic to my friends and neighbors that it was hard for me to see that I was trampling their personal boundaries and going too far in my “caring, and putting myself in their shoes.”  After all, I was doing what I would have liked done in that situation.  The flip side of that is that when I was going through a traumatic event  I thought I wanted someone to essentially sweep in and take over and help me, but it never happened, not once.  Looking back now I know I would not have really liked being rescued and having someone else make my decisions anyway.  Rescuing is meant for firefighters, policeman, lifeguards, doctors and such.

Only after years of personal reflection of what things were and were not working in my life, and the (sometimes not so gentle) instruction of close friends, a personal life coach, and a good dose of trial and error, I realized that a lot of my issues were caused by my own run away emotions.  I had an over abundant supply of emotions that I was heaping on the heads of those around me because I had my perception of what was good for them.   In short, I was wrong.   

In the last three years I’ve learned to separate my emotions, my perception of things, put in place strong boundaries and most of all to raise my standards to where they should be.  Though it might sound simple, it was a long process and a lot of hard work to personally go back and look at the different circumstances in my life objectively, then to realize that those circumstances were what came about due to choices I made, which led to more choices that were also not in my own best interest.  It’s been hard to legitimately take responsibility for my life and realize that while I was in an unhappy marriage and an abusive relationship, it was the person in the mirror that made that choice just as it was that same person that chose to keep trying to make it work for so long when it so obviously wasn’t going too.  While married, we went through years of counseling, workshops, and I read books of all types, but you cannot save a marriage by yourself, it has to be a joint effort.  It was my choice to stay so long and put up with being mistreated.  Lesson learned.

The other, perhaps most important, thing I learned is that while the Golden Rule does apply in how you should treat other people, it is not license to put yourself in their shoes.  This is can quickly become a self-created prison. 

Keep these things in mind should you ever decide to “walk in another person’s shoes.”

  1. You are not God and you do NOT know how that other person “feels.”  Don’t excuse bad behavior by over sympathizing.
  2. You are NOT capable of knowing or understanding how that other persons  mind works and what they legitimately think, which means you should not make decisions for them unless it is agreed upon in advance.
  3. People change, through circumstances, experiences, the way they were brought up, beliefs, etc., on a constant basis.  What makes you think you can possibly keep up with someone else all the time and know what their perspective of a certain situation is?
  4. Respect boundaries – what you perceive to be “For someone else’s own good,” may not be.  Have you ever stopped to wonder – what you are getting out of that?  Does it make you feel like you’re protecting them? Do you feel like you’re comforting or providing a service?  Does it make you feel more useful?  Those things are all well and good, but if you weren’t asked to do them or didn’t ask to help and be able to step in then you are over stepping their boundaries.  The remedy is simple – ask how you can comfort, encourage, or support them.

There is great freedom in boundaries.  They are there for a reason.  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – what does it mean?  It means that we take a moment to ask questions,  to stop and listen to the answers, to sympathize, to NOT assume or say we know how someone else feels, to request permission to help, and to lend a helping hand when we can, because that is something that we would want when we are going through a crisis.  Do what you do out of love for each other, not for recognition.

That is the true lesson in Luke 6:31.

Cherry Coley ©

Tagged as: , , , , , , , ,

9 Responses »

  1. This page appears to get a good ammount of visitors. How do you advertise it? It offers a nice individual twist on things. I guess having something authentic or substantial to talk about is the most important thing.

  2. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was wondering what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% positive. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Appreciate it

    • I’m not internet savvy either. I started this as a wordpress free blog, then as I got the hang of it changes it to a paid one. There are lots of options and designs to choose from and tons of tutorials. It’s a lot of information – but you don’t have to learn it all at once, so don’t get bogged down in it all. To save some money and learn as you go you can start free, get the feel for it and if you like it, then decide what to do from there.

  3. There is obviously a bundle to know about this. I believe you made various nice points in features also.

  4. What did you use to design your site? It’s really awesome can you send me an email and let me know?

  5. Yo. Just want to write a swift statement and inform you you that I unquestionably approve with your particular post. Perfectly spot on.

  6. We’re a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your site provided us with valuable information to work on. You have done an impressive job and our entire community will be thankful to you.

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,205 other followers

Quest2U

%d bloggers like this: