Note: this post is a (minimally edited) journal entry that I’ve converted into a blog post.
I don’t like it when my boundaries are challenged.
Being spiritually grounded is pretty easy for me when nothing rocks my boat. But when someone does something that I feel isn’t right, it’s a helluva lot harder.
This happened yesterday. It was a relatively minor slight and involved a few dollars, but it left me feeling self-righteous and violated. The action was, in my mind, unethical because it grossly pushed the limits of a preexisting agreement. I had to make a decision: do I resist what happened, or do I let it go?
That’s when fear and self-righteousness crept in. If I let it go, will it happen again? And again? Suddenly, I was imagining worse case scenarios of repeated boundary violations…all because someone tried to screw me out of a few dollars. A strong urge to control the situation took root.
I felt profound dis-ease. Nonetheless, I decided to ride the wave (I’ve also blogged about this here) and let myself experience the boundary violation without seeking a solution. It felt icky. But I knew that if I didn’t fight it, it would pass. And, it did.
A few moments later, I felt a massive warmth enshroud me. I felt at peace. And, I felt compassion rather than disdain for that person.
I recognized that I was being given yet another opportunity to grow my heart. This person obviously felt justified in doing what he did, and I decided that the cost of me “being right” wasn’t worth the serenity I’d lose by going into battle. At least not now. If it continues to happen, I may need to respond differently.
But for now, I’m going to re-ride the wave if need be, wish for him the same things that I wish for myself, and relax. And, I’m going to make a greater effort to see this issue from his eyes, without adding my own self-righteous judgment.
At the end of the day, having serenity is more important to me than being right.
While I chose (and still choose) to prioritize my serenity, I have since reevaluated what that means in this circumstance. Because of the financial/reimbursement nature of the issue (more on this below), I began to stress when it became time to submit another expense for reimbursement. It became clear to me that I could not continue to “love and light” this issue the way I had when I wrote this post. Rather than be a doormat and “love and light” away the icky feelings that followed, my serenity needed me to FIRST reinforce the boundary and THEN do the whole “love and light” thing.
The issue was that while my daughter’s father and I have a mediated agreement about how to divide out-of-pocket college costs, he nonetheless expected me to pay more than my agreed upon share for computer-related items he had purchased. While the $20 (or whatever) “tax” wasn’t a big deal, the principle was. And what if this had happened again for a $1,500 item and the precedent was set for me to pay more than we had agreed? NO FUCKING WAY.
Look, I can’t force him to honor the agreement he signed and he still owes me that money. What I can do is continue to tally the amount that he actually owes. Eventually, he will have to reckon with it. I’m not going to lose sleep over his potential reaction, and I actually feel more empowered than I did before he did what he did.
My heart is still open. He is a human who struggles like the rest of us. Taking no shit looks different for everyone. For me in this case, it means a “soft” reinforcement of the violated boundary. How does it look for you? Would you have handled this differently? How much serenity are you willing to trade over the principle of “being right”? I’d love to hear your take in the comments!