Chaya Lester
Chaya Lester

MAGEN Markel and healthy boundary-setting

Photo by Chris Jackson

Have you ever noticed that Meagan spelled out in Hebrew is Magen, a Shield? This coincidence of letters seems particularly poignant given that a shield is an archetypal symbol of protection, self-defense, and boundaries. Aptly, Meagan and Harry are demonstrating some serious boundary-setting and self-preservation…and modeling it in a powerful and instructive way for the world’s watching eyes.

Their ongoing saga with the Royal family is part of an evolving curriculum for society. The Royal family stands as an archetype of Family for all of us witnessing their all-too-human travails. Through their story, we are collectively exploring what it means to grapple with speaking our hard truths and exposing our vulnerable secrets.

Societally, we are learning how to stand up for ourselves and construct healthy family systems out of the rubble of broken dynamics that have for so long held sway.

Boundary-setting is not particularly pretty and it’s certainly not easy. As a psycho-therapist who regularly ushers families through challenging dynamics, I have witnessed time and again the immense long-term benefits of what often feels like brutal short-term pains. Yes, it’s mournful…but also medicinal. Yes, there are searing losses…but for the sake of immeasurable gains.

When we don’t adequately negotiate our boundaries, we often end up anxious, depressed, or restlessly resentful; the inevitable by-products of living lives we don’t actually want to live.

Setting boundaries is a crucial muscle of a healthy psyche. For most of us, that muscle is atrophied beyond recognition. We have been raised on the idea that saying ‘no’ is simply a negative. We need a radical re-education to help us understand that boundaries are not bad. They are positive. They do not just disconnect us from others. They protect us. And even more, in the long-run they do connect us to others – just in healthy and sustainable ways.

To quote Brene Brown, “Compassionate people are boundaried people… They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it.”

Let’s hope that Meagan and Harry can also model for the world how to build boundaries that engender deeper connection. I hope that we as a society get to witness a healing and productive resolution to the Royal family’s archetypal family-drama.

In the meantime, let’s honor the shields and boundaries that are being courageously raised, in the royal family and in all of our families.

About the Author
Psychotherapist, inspirational speaker, wordsmith, performance artist & Co-Director of Jerusalem's Shalev Center. Chaya lives in the heart of Jerusalem with her husband R'Hillel & their 4 energetic children. Read more pieces like this in real-life book form: https://www.amazon.com/Lit-Poems-Ignite-Jewish-Holidays/dp/1623930219
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