The Rules of Engagement

September 26, 2011

Otherwise known as “kindness and compromise.” Kindness is the road to enlightenment.

Until it is NOT.

As yogis, one should always take the higher road because it always leads you to a higher place. But there is a catch here… kindness only succeeds when fairness has preceded it. In other words, it is very important to establish yourself and your boundaries with others first before kindness can reign king. When you meet a new business partner or a new lover or a friend, it is important that you establish your boundaries upfront – what you will contribute, what you expect in return and what you will not tolerate. This way the playing field has been established and leveled. Now the rules of engagement have been agreed upon and the dance can begin.

Problems only arise when we fail to establish those boundaries upfront. If you are not asking for what you need in a relationship or what you will not tolerate, then you leave yourself open to be compromised (taken advantage of). You are not doing anyone a service by not establishing your boundaries. You suffer and ultimately your relationship suffers. People cannot give you what you are not asking for. 

In relationships I have learned that there is a very fine line between being kind (or accepting of others’ flaws/or not wanting to change people) and being a doormat. If you allow someone to cross your boundaries upfront, I assure you they will unknowingly (or not so unknowingly) continue to do this for the duration of your relationship. After all, if you put a doormat outside your front door on a rainy, muddy evening, what do you think your guests will do with it? People will be very surprised if all of a sudden you yank the doormat out from underneath their feet and tell them to never step on it again! When they have been doing this for years, I assure you it will come as a bit of a shock.

We attract what we put out. If you do not want to be stepped on, take the doormat off the front step. Explain to your guests the first time they walk into your home that they need to take off their shoes. People will understand this and honor it all the days you dance with them. And it is from this mutual place of respect and compromise that kindness can truly reign king.

Read more inspiration in Donnalynn’s new Book, “Life Lessons,” click here.

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Written by Donnalynn Civello


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