Assertion Is Not Aggression

(To clarify: The boundaries discussed here are about boundaries for the self at the level of form. They are the practical result at the level of form of being aware of your wholeness in Truth. Discussions in spiritual teachings about the dropping away of the boundary of the self refer to a an experience that transcends the level of form.)

Sometimes students tell me that they feel that setting boundaries is an attack on others. This is because in the past they didn’t set boundaries until they felt so violated that they felt they had to become angry and aggressive to protect themselves. They would blow up at others or cut them out of their life for not respecting boundaries that they never clarified. Their anger seemed to be about others. But really they were angry with themselves for allowing others to abuse or to manipulate them.

When you are confused about your worth you feel uncertain about where to set your boundaries. You feel that you do not have the right to expect respect from others. You feel, unconsciously or consciously, that their abuse is justified. So asking for respect feels as though it requires you to “confront” others. This is a projection of your own inward conflict. Internally you feel so guilty and conflicted about your own worth that you don’t feel right simply asking for respect. You feel you have to “steal” it from others and that this makes you even more wrong.

But when you come from self-respect you assert your feelings, boundaries, and desires matter-of-factly. You don’t feel guilty so you are not defensive, angry, or aggressive. So if you feel confused about your right to set boundaries or you feel that setting boundaries requires a huge confrontation then look, with the Holy Spirit (the awareness of Truth in your mind), for the guilt and unworthiness in your mind. When you have undone them you will find taking care of yourself around others by setting healthy boundaries comes naturally.

Learn about the books The ACIM Mentor Articles, The Plain Language A Course in Miracles, 4 Habits for Inner Peace, and Releasing Guilt for Inner Peace at


Anonymous said…
I am much better at setting boundaries but what I have difficulty with sometimes is being clear about the actual boundary. I had a situation recently when a person I know as an acquaintance shows up at my home unannounced time and time again and even though I mentioned more then once, call first, he still just shows up and this last time I respectfully refused his visit. I remember however, feeling angry and guilty. So when I looked at the guilt with the Holy Spirit, I realized I wasn't being honest. I was feeling angry because I was questioning his intentions and felt vulnerable. I realized I wasn't being clear about the actual boundary. It wasn't so much about he calling first, it had to do with what his intentions were in calling.
My understanding so far- what is outside of me begins with a thought inside of me. Does it bring peace or conflict. When dealing with a person or situation of high emotional charge, the personal mind is demanding or expecting something to change. The result is conflict meeting conflict head on. This is where the Holy Spirit meets me and asks me to look inward toward my inherent truth and look for the error in my thinking. In form it is usually a self worth or repect issue. I used to numb myself to abuse, now I turn quietly inward. It is different, and without effort the "charge" diffuses or just drops away without worry.
The 3rd paragraph defined the process of the personal mind's attack. Thank you for continued enlightenment. It is amazing what occurs when these attacks are seen and corrected. The boundaries occur without effort...oh, blessed peace
Reading chapter 8 and "hear Liz teach". This chapter seems to resonate with article- at least for me. Thank you again for sharing and the article.
Anonymous said…
Liz, I was in need of correction and was guided to read some of your earlier blogs and this one little paragraph from blog dated 2/20/2007 was my answer;

"If you want peace, willingness is demonstrated by letting go of obstacles to peace and opening to Truth. Bringing your fears up for conscious examination; communing with God; turning everything over to the Holy Spirit; choosing to see Christ in others and Oneness instead of separation. These are all mental actions that imply willingness to be at peace. These are all things you can do now."

Thank you, DB
Anonymous said…
Thank you Tina. I now understand, a little slow but that's okay. Thank you Liz as I quote you below.

"The ego tells you that the external world causes your feelings. You are angry, depressed, fearful, lonely, etc. because the world is a crappy place or because someone has treated you in a bad way. But what really happens is you decide to feel separated from God and then you look outward and interpret the world in such a way as to justify your feelings of separation. You can just as easily decide to feel peace and look outward and interpret the world in such a way as to justify your feelings of Oneness."

Popular posts from this blog

The Grand Tour of Fear

You Don't Have to Go It Alone

Understanding the Ego Backlash