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Tinkering with Compassion and Boundaries

Good morning fellow Tinkerers!


This morning I am thinking about healthy boundaries and compassion. Earlier this week I had a person step into my world momentarily and suddenly, to intentionally poke at me nastily for attention. I calmly and swiftly reinforced my boundary for them and moved on. Yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend who had a similar experience during her week. We all encounter these kinds of interactions from time to time. When we try to sort these kinds of interactions out, they can often seem somewhat fuzzy, especially when it’s with people we have a personal relationship with who we care about and respect. We want to have compassion for them and for where they're at in life, but we also need to prevent them from beating us up because they're caught in their own stuff. This can be really challenging to do.

I have thought a lot about these kinds of social interactions in my life and especially recently in regards to Social Tinkering. I have had someone who was being nasty and aggressive towards me and others, state that I was not practicing what I preach through this very project because I drew my line and built a boundary for them. I strongly believe people come and go in our lives for different purposes and those purposes aren’t always clear right away. This particular person and this interaction with them, are currently helping me to clearly define Social Tinkering and my “why” for doing this and I appreciate that, as annoying as that interaction was.


Compassion with boundaries can be a challenging thing to clearly create sometimes, especially with those we care deeply for. There are several ways we can react to others during difficult interactions. One way is to respect and care for ourselves by maintaining healthy boundaries, while simultaneously being understanding and holding compassion for others and where they’re at. Building boundaries and disengaging with disrespectful people does not mean we can’t also hold compassion and care for them. The two can be in the same room together at the same time, but that is difficult for us to understand in this culture where shame and guilt are such persistent tools that are used to divide people.


Here at Social Tinkering, we are creating and holding space for people to be their whole selves. And our whole selves have issues folks, as we all know – we all have our baggage and we are imperfect beings. Bringing a bunch of us together with our whole selves will inevitably bring up challenges. But just like I respect and love myself enough to maintain healthy boundaries for those that can be disrespectful and nasty, so too Social Tinkering and the space we are creating here will also hold healthy boundaries. We respect our mission, our vision, and our hard work enough to maintain healthy boundaries as an organization, and to draw lines where disrespect and nastiness are not welcome. We are advocates for diverse and inclusive social change and are willing to have difficult conversations with meaningful human connection in order to advocate for those changes and to learn and change ourselves. But those conversations need to be full of respect and caring and come with a willingness to learn and grow and a willingness to work hard to understand all perspectives. Just as I personally strive to maintain respect for myself and others while holding compassion, Social Tinkering as an organization will hold the hard stuff alongside the compassion and respect and empathy as a community. Just as I am personally not perfect and I screw this up at times, Social Tinkering as an organization will probably screw up sometimes. But I am telling you now, as this new and innovative organization’s Founder, Director, and President: We will work our asses off to create a welcoming, safe, whole, happy, respectful space, for those who are ready for it, to empower connection and grow happiness together. And I invite you to join us in this effort, because of course we cannot do it alone.


“Detaching with love means letting someone be who they are while protecting yourself from their consequences.” ~ shehaus.com


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