During dinner with a good friend of mine last week, the conversation turned to her family. I was quickly briefed on the status of her three grown stepchildren, the youngest of whom has serious anger issues and problems with substance abuse. Years of family counseling appeared to provide no relief from the quagmire of conflicting personalities and childhood wounds. Without going into details, the level of toxicity over the holidays reached epic proportions and took it’s toll on everyone. It was at this point in the conversation I brought up the idea of healthy boundaries and the concept of “loving from a distance.” It could be argued that one reason for our earthly existence is to resolve issues in an effort to form and keep healthy relationships. Simply stated, we are here to learn to love unconditionally (this is no small task). But what happens when somebody wears the label of victim and sabotages all efforts for a healthy relationship with violence, abuse and childish behavior? Enter the concept of “Love from a distance.” Loving from a distance means to maintain a loving relationship yet with strong boundaries. Strong physical boundaries allow the space for healthy emotional boundaries. Once these physical boundaries are in place, this might include sending cards and short letters rather than any kind of get-togethers. Loving from a distance means keeping your heart open, but protected so than no harm may enter. You cannot disown your family when alcohol, drugs, in-laws, violence or other factors become toxic to your heart space, but you can keep a healthy boundary and express love from a distance.
Stress Tip for the Day:
Find 5-10 minutes today and sit quietly focusing on your heart space. Breath in and out as if the inhalation and exhalation originate from your heart rather than your mouth or nose. As you exhale, send a thought and feeling toward someone whom you feel has become toxic to your emotional environment. If it helps, imagine a rainbow from your heart to their heart. Learn to send love from a distance with those who’s close proximity becomes a toxin to the spirit.
Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:
Here are a few links with some great information on healthy boundaries:
Quote for the Day:
“Appropriate boundaries create integrity.” —Anonymous
Photo for the Day:
While hiking the Inca trail last year, I took this photo of a man looking down over the valley to the next range of mountains. Talk about “from a distance.” Enjoy!
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.