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Love Can Build A Bridge

Kathleen Chelquist“Stay away from the word ‘boundary.’ The minute you say it, it conjures up walls and resistance and separateness. You don’t need that. Use the other ‘b’ word instead. ‘Bridge.'” -Cinnamon Lofton

I remember when my teacher first introduced me to the idea of creating a bridge rather than a boundary. It was one of those “WHAT?” and “HUH?” moments. After all, I thought boundaries were a good thing; protecting myself from the hurt and pain of someone’s misdeeds.

In my very first Living Love class, I couldn’t wait to speak (and I do like to talk) about how proud I was of my recent feat, where I was limiting my time and energy with someone who simply didn’t get it! I told myself that I was “detaching with love.” Some of you folks may call these people “energy suckers.” They are so negative and “wrong” that we just don’t need to be around them. And we are so “right!” Right? No and yes.

I remember speaking to the teacher about someone I did not want to associate with anymore. I told the class about how proud I was of myself because I chose to slow down my visits and phone calls with the “vampire.” I thought this was self love. I thought I was being generous of spirit because I was not going to FAKE, anymore. I thought I was “right,” because my feelings were confirmed and validated by therapists, friends and family. I thought. 

My list describing these “energy suckers” went something like this: rude, self-righteous, holier than thou, judgmental, liars, inconsiderate, users, insensitive, selfish, moody and mean. “I am over it!” I continued to draw my line in the sand. Much like dieting and eating my LAST burger and fries; we all know how well that works! I was a pro at building my boundary brick-by-brick with my thoughts.

But thoughts will keep you stuck on the hamster wheel of  hell. Instead, tap into your heart’s knowing, where peace dwells. I was not creating peace with my thoughts. Building a boundary was not the answer. Being “right” was not worth it.

I had so much more to learn; and only being patient with my spiritual process was going to give me the keys to free me from my separateness. I could have run out of the class that night with my self-righteous tail between my legs; but no, my heart called me, ever so gently, to stay and LISTEN (Oh, that’s a novel idea).

I fortunately quickly learned about how I was the one who was choosing to be judgmental. I was not distinguishing who this person really was from who they were being. My addictions were triggered by this person’s actions, and I looked without rather than within. The teacher helped me see that I could create a bridge with the “energy sucker,” instead of a boundary (although, she chose to call them “awakening beings,” instead). A bridge? What in the hell is that, and what’s the point? They are never going to change. 

Boundaries help keep ourselves and others boxed in. They do not invite growth. Declaring a boundary between you and someone else only feeds the ego’s need to be “right.” When we create a parallel with our so-called enemy, we are in fact building a bridge; no longer minding what they did or did not so. Crossing that bridge helped me create insight that caring and not minding are the keys to my own freedom. Whether the other person is willing to receive our love or not is none of our business. We will experience peace either way. This is the gift we give ourselves.

Forgiveness was the gift I was not willing to give. Being “right” was too juicy to give up. Until…

“If one does not forgive and heal, one will be forever chained to the experience and unable to know the joy of freedom, here and now. Since here and now is all we have, why would you want to attach yourself to a right/wrong mindset that can only bring suffering and further unhappiness?” -Cinnamon Lofton

Building a bridge requires letting go. We think that the other person needs to earn forgiveness, but the gift is really for ourselves.

“Unforgiveness is the poison you drink everyday hoping that the other person will die.” – Caroline Myss

This may seem drastic, but it is so true. We are often experiencing toxic fear, calling it love. Why Not? They deserve it. Our mind is ever so convincing. This begs the question, what became of Love in the name of Love?

We create boundaries because we have not forgiven ourselves for being someone’s victim and  having given them power over our peace. The lack of compassion for others connotes the lack of compassion for oneself. When we are willing to remember that everything in our life is FOR our spiritual growth, we begin to transform our lives.

As I take a deep breath, I realize breath is life. Keep breathing.

With all my heart,

Kathleen

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Kathleen Chelquist is an inspirational blogger. Engage with Kathleen on her website, her Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

  • Stephanie

    Kathleen, I have felt this way during a period of time when I could not stand being around a “toxic” person. This very reasoning and knowing in my heart that they are only acting out of fear, and I was only getting my buttons pushed (and consequently acting out of fear as well), lead me to stay in a friendship that continued to suck the life out of me. The interaction was toxic because we were both ignorant and did not have the tools to build a bridge. Finally, I scaled back, not because I thought I was doing the right thing or because she deserved it, but because I needed relief. I could not think straight when around her. I have kept her in my life, but at a distance. I love this friend very much, but the problem was that I was not loving and respecting myself enough to acknowledge my own feelings when around her. This boundary was necessary for me to see the situation through love’s eyes. Now, I can offer real love (not the half-baked stuff I offered out of fear), whether she wants to receive it or not. I think that boundaries are necessary in some situations, but maybe only serve as training wheels to get you where you need to be. I do agree with you, however, that people sometimes use the word “boundary” to justify unforgiveness. Thank you for your article!

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      Thank you soooo much. And once upon a time, I did the exact same thing … more than once. Creating the boundary ‘seemed’ to work at the time to relieve me of the pressure cooker that I was creating, but for the long term…it didn’t help me create the inner peace I longed for. You said it so well…my boundaries served as ‘training wheels.” And…”we can only give what we’ve got.” I did not have it to give, and I honor that time in my life. And…now I do. Creating bridges has been so crazy amazing for me, and it works, works, works for the freedom I know we all desire. We simply need to be patient with our process and then… stay in love or leave in love. XO K

    • The Daily Love

      We are so glad you did what was best for you, Stephanie. We’re so proud of you for getting out of a toxic situation so you could love in a real way. Thank you for sharing :) -Team TDL

    • Noni Boon

      Well said Kathleen. I agree with you.

  • Kathleen Chelquist

    Or please join me on my personal FB page: Kathleen Chelquist (Love).

  • Jilo

    Big Aha moment. I too felt Boundaries were necessary. Especially with those evil energy suckers :) and master manipulators.:) Setting boundaries is precisely that…back off, do it my way which usually leaves the other person in a lessor position or hurt, withdrawn or defensive. Sometimes they even retaliate your wish for protection and push even harder. A Bridge provides a flow of energy, movement and exhange of possibilities. In gratitude Kathleen!

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      YES!

      • jilo

        I’m also a visual person, so your bridge suggestion will really help me ‘see’ and ‘feel’ this as an option when I get triggered. Much appreciation.

        • Kathleen Chelquist

          You can even say: “When I trigger myself.” This will help you keep it on you! XO

    • The Daily Love

      You are completely right, Jilo. Thank you so much for sharing! -Team TDL

  • Estee

    Oh, the boundaries…..I work in a traditional type job, go to my office daily. I am a business owner, lending me flexibility to my schedule. I have school age children attending school. There are children who have a parent or two that do not leave to go to work or are working at home raising children/caring for the household. It has taken me a while to, but, I have navigated through my issues (I hope) and now I have bridges rather than boundaries…or atleast in my own mind.

    In the early years, I would some how find myself agreeing to some sort of schedule of playdates, kid swaps, carpools – all sorts of things because I wanted to be helpful to others, they seemed to need my “help” to make their schedule work, and I didn’t want to be the ‘working mom’ that was a taker and never reciprocated. In the end I would find myself resentful and not enjoying the time or activity with the kids and feeling overwhelmed by the workload I was creating by mismanaging my schedule. And annoyed, that I was so accommodating to everyone except myself.

    As a result, I built some boundaries. I thought this was a good idea. I wasn’t agreeing to anything and I would decline all of the above. I would take care of my schedule and my kids. I didn’t need to rely or coordinate with others. If one of my sons wanted a playdate, if it worked for my schedule I would have their friend at my house with a start and end time on a day good for us. No, not sending them to a friends house, as I was stuck in the mindset, that the other party will expect something in return and I’m not willing to feel guilty or obligated to someone.

    Well, fast forward a few years and some personal growth later… I’ve found I don’t need to have boundaries and rules in my mind and if I approach this with love and not the preconceived idea that people only offer with a string attached, I can find balance and enjoy both the “help” of a friend and hosting some fun at my house for the kids too. I can build a BRIDGE. I don’t have to say ‘no’ because of a boundary, I just simply say it doesn’t work for me this time (if it doesn’t) and we together can figure something out that does. So many more facets to this and the mind shift…I’m so grateful to be learning and waking up. No more worrying what others are thinking of me. I’m good and out of the goop when I make decisions from my heart….Thank you Kathleen & Cinnamon for all of the reminders!

    Yes, very simplistic example. May even seem trivial to some. A change in mindset for me for the better. It’s the babysteps, right?

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      Thanks Estee for commenting…keep it up, girl. You are shining!

    • The Daily Love

      This is definitely not trivial at all, Estee! We really appreciate you sharing your story, and we’re sure others have experienced the same thing. Good for you :) -Team TDL

  • Denise Dalton Sullivan

    I love you friend! Keep on sending out your love message!!!!! It speaks to my heart every time.

    • The Daily Love

      We’re so glad, Denise :) Thank you for sharing! -Team TDL

  • Lily

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! I have been saying this same thing and recognized this same thing a while back. The ego loves to use all the “self-help lingo” to feed itself. As you found, so many people and therapists, even, will encourage “boundaries” instead of helping us see where WE are just like the ones we need a “boundary” with. I feel like this is a message, especially in the self-growth community, that just is NOT heard enough. I’m so glad you wrote this article!!!

    • The Daily Love

      We are so glad you loved it, Lily! Have a great day! -Team TDL

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      Yeah! I agree…I do not hear about ‘bridges’ often, and that is why I wanted to write about it. Love to you on your journey!

  • Sad and confused

    Thank you for this. I so needed this. And if you could help me a little more I would really appreciate it…Here is a little bit of my story.

    I need help. Prayers. Anything. For the past 6 years my husband’s younger brother has been engaged to a woman that the family has not necessarily liked. (However true to my nature, I have been the only one in her corner, trying my best to love her. And to my own fault, taking “responsibility” for loving her.) Every time the family talks with the brother, Ben, to discuss things she does, she has told him that I am jealous of her and that I must be forcing them to hate her. He always tells everyone that she is changing. Or going to change or working to change. When we chose our wedding date, I emailed her to tell her and to include her and one week later she announced their wedding date (exact same as ours.) Instead of getting angry, I went to her parents house where she lived at the time and gave her a wedding organizer and offered to help with planning. When I walked in her father (drunk at 4pm) said, “This must be the evil bitch I have heard so much about,” I took it in stride and by the time I left the father ended up loving me. When asked why they hated me, Ben, said because I was “making my wedding all about me and I was including the entire family just to make it all about me.” Their wedding never went through and since, they have announced 5 dates and never followed through. She came over to my house once banging on my door and yelling at me that I was so jealous of her and that the entire family called her everyday to say I was jealous and that I was jealous of the love she and Ben shared. She then told Ben that none of this was true and that I attacked her. I called her once to talk and as I am telling her I love her she is telling me, she can’t believe I am attacking her and she will make it to where the family never sees Ben again. 6 years later, and Ben has not been around for much and now the family all treats her with great love and compassion. Which I greatly admire. Problem is she is still up to her antics with me. (When family is not around.) Recently on FB she posted horrible things about me. She claimed that I physically assaulted her. (Which is not true at all.) She referred to me as “it” and said she loves to push my buttons. She said much worse and kept referring to me as “it.” Around his family she cries and tells them she doesn’t understand why I don’t like her. Ben told my husband recently that the past six years she has been severely addicted to drugs. That she has been on at least 6 or 7 different pills and that she doesn’t really remember anything she has done for the past 6 years. I know that somehow I am bringing this into my own life. I accept responsibility for that. I know that I can choose to just love her and not care. But I am worn out. I feel that the entire family is worn out and no one wants to deal with it anymore. Out of 6 siblings we are the only ones that live in town with them and the parents. The other siblings have told us they are “just glad they don’t live in town with them.” I am tired and I am sad and after her FB rantings, I feel almost afraid. I don’t know what to do. I can stay away from family festivities, where she is usually on her best behavior, other than her passive aggressive insults towards me, but I don’t want to stay away from the family. And I feel sad that my husband’s relationship with his best friend, his brother, is non-existent. In July my husband went to talk to them and she claimed she was clean and sober and that she felt really badly for everything and wanted to apologize to me. But then she texted me, “It takes two to tango. Let’s never talk about the past again.” I let it go and took her a birthday cake and then a few days ago, my co-worker let me know about the FB rantings. I feel like a fool. I feel like I will forever have this thorn in my side. I have tried to find the lesson but I just feel so defeated. These antics I described are not even the half of it. And I still feel like somehow this is my fault. I feel that my ego just wants to be right as well. I feel that my ego wants to tell her off because although she does say horrible things on FB and behind my back when I am around she won’t look any of us in the eyes and she always seems nervous and on edge. My ego wants to take advantage of this and put her in her place but this won’t make me feel better. I am so confused because of her lies and her drug use. I am saddened deeply. I am ready to let go of all of this but I just can’t seem to. And every time I think I am feeling better she does something else that I allow to hurt me. I really don’t know what to do.

    • Sad and confused

      I think I really just needed to vent this out. After I wrote this, I initially felt ridiculous for sharing but then I felt better. And I felt that the answer has always been there. I need to forgive myself, firstly for being hurt and not be so hard on myself all the time. I need to forgive her. And I need to just love. And not let my ego interfere with reasons why she doesn’t deserve love. And not close myself off but allow that bridge to do its thing…Thank you for this forum.

      • Kathleen Chelquist

        WOW…Thank you for taking the time to write and freeing yourself of all that junk. So much to say, and I would love for you to take a look at how many times you said, “I feel.” Just know that “Feelings” change and they are from our ego-not heart. When we tap into our “knowing,” we can stand on it. I wrote a blog awhile back called “Quick! Get Out Of Your Mind,” and it would be beneficial for you, if you are willing, to continually use the tools I gave in it. When I run the same stories in my head, I become exhausted and then I base everything on my dead past or imagined future. Stay present! And confirm: “I always have everything I need for my here and now, unless I am letting my consciousness be dominated by demands and expectations based on the dead past or the imagined future.”
        Hope this helps…and remember…You have a choice in all of this to create ‘sadness’ and ‘confusion.’ It is NOT what you are. Love, Kathleen

        • Veronica

          Thank you!! I will read the blog now. <3

  • anonymous

    Wow – thank you for this. I really get what you are saying. There is a lot of rhetoric about getting stuff out of your life that isn’t what you really want including people and naming them as toxic and getting rid of them…. I think it is really SO incredibly difficult sometimes to see where we ourselves are creating part of the problem. Even when you are a super introspective and extremely willing to accept your faults, type of person. It happens when you are aware enough of “how things should be” to “know” that the other person’s behaviour is “wrong”. Now I am starting to truly overcome some of my deepest triggers and problems, because I am starting (really, at the very beginning!) to look inside myself, rather than expect the other person (eg. my partner) to be my saviour and not to trigger any of my pain. I think that perhaps a lot of serious relationships end unnecessarily because of this. People feel they are doing the best thing looking after themselves, by getting the person out of their life, rather than doing internal work. Probably could not do this without my therapist either, who is an incredible sage, and can encourage me in a direction that I am only barely aware of – like your comment to tap into your heart, difficult sometimes to actually hear it above the noise of thoughts! I am so thankful for the balanced views presented here in the daily love.

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      Thanks for commenting. I wrote a blog, “Quick! Get Out Of Your Mind” here on TDL that may help you with that brain noise. When I first realized that I was not only a “part of the problem,” but took FULL responsibility for my reactions and triggers…I started to create a peace that I did not know existed. What helps is when I confirm: “I take full responsibility here and now for everything I experience, for it is my own programming that creates my actions and also influences the reactions of people around me.” Hope this helps! XO Kathleen

  • Candy

    But what happens when you try to really forgive but, it just seems so impossible? I’ve been hurt by someone I really cared about. But no matter how hard I try to say that I forgive him for what he did, I just can’t and won’t. Instead I feel so rejected. Over and over again. I can’t let go because i honestly don’t know how to let go.

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      Forgiveness is a tough one. There is a book called, “The Little Soul In The Sun,” By Neale Donald Walsh that helps me so much with forgiveness. It is a children’s book, but it helped me see the light in everyone (especially the ones I hurt myself over). Much love to you on your journey, Kathleen

  • True North

    I read this as I was in the midst of writing an email to set a boundary.

    I feel wary of guidance that suggests there is a right way/wrong way to love. I still find my mind is very swayed by trying to be ‘spiritual’ and do right spiritually.

    That said, it is growth for me to state my needs directly while holding love in my heart. I do not see the need to build a physical/outwardly visible emotional bridge with everyone who triggers me to be loving. I can see that we are one, I can have empathy for the part of me that the other is showing up as AND recognize that they are not open to that lens.

    I believe they are showing up right now as they are because I have asked for experiences of discernment and strength. In recognizing how they want to communicate and relating to them on the physical/empirical level (vs. trying to get them to see the unseen/mystical/spiritual levels of our dance), I am being loving vs. taking a prescribed loving/spiritual approach to prove to myself that I am loving.

    My soul is calling for this, and it is me ‘true north’ compass towards love.

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      Rumi, the poet, once wrote about meeting “in between the fields of right and wrong,” and when we do that, we can either stay in love or leave in love. If you have no doubt, no judgement, no intolerance, etc….you are “leaving in Love” and I say, keep it up!

      • True North

        My, did this help, Kathleen. Thank you. I wrote the note I was in the midst of earlier, but, after reading your post-script to me. Your words of “no intolerance” helped me see I still was holding against her that she wasn’t responding as I think she should. I learned I need to feel gracious in my heart to know that I have let go. I wrote what I think was a balanced note — I did need to speak to her actions, and, I let her know that I do the same, despite wishing I didn’t. I thanked her for the experience (and I hope that I let her off the hook fully). I can imagine seeing her in a public place, now, letting go of my shame (for being vulnerable in her presence and giving away my power when she rolled her eyes) and my pride (thinking that she’s ‘mean’ and I’m ‘kind’ when I often do mean/snubby things). I feel closer to myself. Feel free to comment again if you see some shadow I missed. Thank you again for this and for putting yourself out there for others’ healing.

        • True North

          Weird, I signed in as a guest, True North, and it listed Tanja Erickson as the author. I don’t know Tanja, but I guess we have the same taste in blogs! Peace

          • Kathleen Chelquist

            Funny, Tanja is my soul sister, bestie, and you name it. Not weird there…LOL. Good for you “True North!” How courageous of you to see your own intolerance and forgive yourself. Keep letting go of all shame and remembering that she is your greatest teacher. Blessings, K

  • Cindy

    I am dealing with someone close to me who continually yells at me. They don’t like what I say and begin to yell (loudly, in public). I fully accept that this is the best they can do right now and we are separated. Can you help me apply what you’re speaking of here? Surely in separating (which is a form of boundary) there is something positive. In the daily connections that still have to happen and there is still yelling – how do I build a bridge? I think we can build all day long but if the other doesn’t want to walk across, they don’t have to, and we can learn and move forward – in total love, and utter forgiveness because it truly is the best they can do, without feeling like we failed. Help me understand what I’m missing in your application.

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      Hi Cindy! I had a difficult time understanding this as well, and as we know…there are times that we are not going to fully understand what it means to love, until we actually experience its power. I wrote a blog called, “Stay in Love or Leave in Love,” which you may want to check out. Building a bridge is for us to create peace, and to not mind whether the other person chooses to step across or not. Of course we care, but we learn to not mind (big difference). It is about recognizing that person is not any better or worse than you. You may be more practiced at choosing love, but you are both awakening beings who are here to claim your birthright to freedom. “Building a bridge” does not mean to stay in an abusive relationship, but it does mean to take a look at where you possibly have yelled at him or maybe even yelled at yourself internally. (Just an example…only you would know). Once you see a parallel (how ever small it may be), you then let go and forgive yourself. It is then that you will be more likely to see that other person differently; with eyes of love (and still choose to NOT be with him). NOONE can hurt us without our permission. They may scream, and ‘try’ to dominate, and etc., but the more we love ourselves fully, the more we will not accept the other person’s self rejection; we will know it is theirs-not ours. If we hurt our own feelings, that is our own painful trigger to go through. If we create a boundary and run (meaning avoid our own trigger), we will not create the peace that is within us. Boundaries are often avoidance of triggers. And as we know, The Universe will give us another…to learn our lessons. Hope this helps. I also do a VLog called, “Sundays With Cinnamon” and she did one on this topic. http://www.kathleenchelquist.com Love, Kathleen

      • Cindy

        Interesting explanation. I’ll print this one out and sit with it. Thank you for taking the time to really drive into this one.

  • Tanja Erickson

    Dear Kathleen, This is by far one of my favorites blogs you’ve written (do I say that everytime???) So doing my best to build a bridge with everyone in my life! And WOW, WHAT A BEAUTIFUL SONG! Thank you for sharing you and this song with all of us.

  • yesi.p

    I am grateful for this quote, “Unforgiveness is the poison you drink everyday hoping that the other person will die.” – Caroline Myss… Glad to be in presence of forgiveness because allows me to be here and now building bridges trough all the things that I get trigger by. I have many, many, addictions that I am willing to observed and be for them as the observer, cannot argue with them no more, because they can only keep me stuck in not leaving the presence…I am building bridges by choosing LOVE, I am also more align with this word BRIDGES, than boundaries..just because is easier for me, my brain takes it better…boundaries is a tool for me to see how I can still use wrong and right as “GOOP” &”MGOOP”( MyGoodOpinionOfPeople).. I can say with a smile on my face is happiness for choosing LOVE with you Kathleen, I can read my own words from my heart, trough your words, as I step into my power, expressing what is. Thank you! because when I used to choose boundaries was to have an excuse not to talk to all the toxic vampires etc. in my life, is that the only truth in my life back than was that I become awaken within of how toxic I was of all the contracts I had made for so long, and as I go on in my journey, healing, clearing and most courageous, having fun with my process, yes fun even if I forget some times when I make it hard. Lol! The antidote for unforgiveness is always available starting with Gratitude and eventually forgiveness will come. Love you and all….Yessi.

    • Kathleen Chelquist

      Thank you so much, Yesi, for always taking the time to comment. Recognizing our heart in one another, is a FUN journey. Thanks for ‘that’ reminder! Love back to you! K