Men. It is imperative that we respect a woman’s “No”.
Bow to it. Really really hear it.
And if her “No” brings us pain and discomfort, it is imperative that we own that pain, take full responsibility for it. That we give ourselves full permission to feel disappointed, rejected, sad, afraid, abandoned. That we own these uncomfortable feelings, and do not ‘take them out’ on her in our search for discharge and relief.
We acknowledge our own vulnerability. We breathe into the tender and fiery sensations in the belly, chest, throat.
We protect her from our rage and control and passive aggressiveness. We protect ourselves too.
When we are connected to ourselves, we will not judge or shame her for her feelings, needs, boundaries. We will not find ourselves trying to control her, persuade her, fix or advise or ‘heal’ her.
(Spiritual gurus, please take note!)
We will never, ever call her ‘afraid’ or ‘weak’ or ‘trapped in ego’.
We will deeply respect her God-given right to do and say what is best for her. To tell her raw truth. To want us to come closer, or to come no closer. To set limits. To say “this is not okay for me”.
It is imperative to listen. To listen without assumptions.
And we will, in turn, be respecting our own right to say no, to have boundaries, to protect ourselves, to value and trust and express our own feelings of safety and unsafety.
Boundaries do not shut others out – they help us connect, get to know each other, protect our vulnerability, build trust, and keep us safe.
We are all One, all the same, and yet we live in different worlds, and we are so different, and so we have to listen to each other. Boundaries help us navigate this gorgeous paradox.
Boundaries are love, in form.
I love it when people say “No” to me. It feels so honest. I love their freedom. Their autonomy. Their truth. As I love my own.
~ Jeff Foster
Art: Team Lab, Transcending Boundaries immersive installation