Boundaries are not something you need in order to give freely. In fact, putting boundaries in place in order to feel safe giving something, is the very definition of conditional giving. It is giving with the intention of receiving only certain energy in return. “I’ll do this for you, but you have to promise to do this in return.” That’s an exchange. It’s not giving freely. If you’re desiring exchange, then that’s great, but recognise it for what it is. You have put conditions on your giving, and are not giving for giving’s sake.
Boundaries, for me at least, involve recognising what energy feels good to allow into my life, and what doesn’t, and honouring that for myself by taking action where needed to ensure I keep the good vibes flowing [a phrase you would never hear me say in real life but I like the way it looks on paper…without the British accent]. Having boundaries is not linked in any way to my giving. When I give, I am consciously trying more and more to give from a place of complete unconditionality. I’m giving purely because it feels good for me to do so, and knowing that giving and receiving are actually the same thing. By giving to someone, I am allowing them to receive fully, without any need for defence or reciprocity or a feeling of ‘owing’ me.
When I hold my boundaries, it is not in relation to my giving. Giving is only giving if it’s done without any intention or expectation. Otherwise, it’s taking: it’s putting an expectation onto someone who doesn’t even know if they want to receive what you’re giving yet.
As I’m writing all this I’m thinking, ‘Is this too preachy? Too deep?’, and my doubt kicks in a little. I have no idea how you will receive this, but I’m giving it anyway, because it feels good to share it. I’m doing a whole heap of work on giving and receiving in my life right now and it’s so interesting how life imitates art.
It’s not easy to give without expecting something in return. It’s scary to feel like you might be walked all over. But we shouldn’t give out of obligation. If we give because it feels good, and ONLY because it feels good, we will never feel taken advantage of, because we’re doing what makes us happy.