The Difference Between Boundaries And Expectations
By Luke Miller / Truth Theory
In 2010 I started to meditate and this would be my first divine assignment I become aware of. I literally lived and breathed meditation for years practising some days for hours. I was able to enter altered states quite quickly and in all honesty, I became obsessed with this “other” world I discovered. Then every few years I would get assigned something to understand and experientially embody.
From around 2012 to 2014 it was all about the Chakra System and feeling each Chakra and what they meant individually. From 2014 to around 2018 it was all about duality and the trinity, not just as a concept, but the embodiment and practical application of the related laws and principles. This year the main course has been about unconditional love and surrender. With a side of non-attachment and living without expectations.
It has been quite the process, but it feels like I am starting to be able to articulate what it means to me.
I feel it is easy to have this airy-fairy idea of unconditional love being soft and fluffy, but I would argue that boundaries and (at times uncomfortable) honesty are the key to living in a space of unconditional love without being violated. This opens up an interesting space as there can be a fine line between boundaries and expectations. But I would differentiate them as so:
Boundaries are when we do not allow someone to violate us, but if they do, we do not try to change them. Instead, we try to change what we can about the situation. This can often be resolved through honest dialogue with the person you feel violated by, but if this fails or is not the best course of action, it can result in removing yourself from the situation. This can be followed up by taking the necessary steps to stop it from happening again. So in a nutshell when we have boundaries it is about us and not the other person.
Expectations on the other hand (when concerning interactions and relationships) is when you want the other person to change to fit your model of the world. This becomes a game of transaction and conditions. Expectations are centred around us wanting the other person to change, and in reality, we have no control over anyone but ourselves.
Boundaries are fair and result in symbiotic relationships, whereas expectations are self-centred and often create resentment. Boundaries are loving, but expectations are not. This is not to say love cannot coexist with expectation, but the expectation part is not love and inherently selfish.
Surrender is crucial for unconditional love to flourish, for me, it has been about saying “I am just going, to be honest, and love, and continue to do so and not want anything in return for that love.” (Yes I just quoted myself :-)) This can bring pain and suffering in some circumstances, but only when you have expectations or you are attached to a specific outcome. When feelings get involved especially in romantic situations this can be a challenge, but with practice, things do become easier. The heart is a muscle and it expands with use, so deciding to open it up and accepting what comes with this opening is a process of exercising this muscle.
I will be honest, I found attachment the hardest part of this puzzle. Inherently I am able to love and the conditions have started to fall away. I am quite relaxed with boundaries in general, and while I am usually surrounded by respectful people, I still put them up when needed and this has worked out pretty well. As for expectations, I don’t really want anything from anyone, but am happy to accept and celebrate when someone gives to me in whatever way they choose.
As for attachment… I love people and some people I do find myself wanting to be in their company consistently. I have this thing when I like someone and I can just be around them all the time. However, I have learned that there is a big difference between love and attachment, and there is a real beauty in being able to view someone you hold dearly from a distance when it is needed.
Image Credits: Komkrit Suwanwela Ion Chiosea 123RF