The last paragraph you wrote was beautiful and very touching. It simply glows with your own genuine love and compassion.
While I am hearing what you are saying about boundaries, I also guess I have for the last several years, been more inclined to see difficult moments as reminders of or pointers to what I have to work on in myself. If I have a problem with another's behavior, it is indeed, my problem. Why should they change?
I suppose that every situation and relationship is different. I can see myself remarking about certain things, but choosing to leave others alone. Some behavior patterns are so ingrained that the individual can not be any other way. What business is it of mine, ultimately?
I have so appreciated, learned from, and made regular use of your advice to ask myself, "How can I take care of myself in this adverse situation?" Eventually, I also ask myself questions like, "Why do these words or actions bother me so?" "What fears in me are being triggered?" "How am I failing to be a better person here?" "What can I learn about people, life, and myself from this?"
No one is supposed to be a tool for our use...or worse, be viewed and treated as an obstacle! We have all felt we were being used as a tool and treated like an obstacle, and we've all been guilty of using people. I see awareness of our self-centeredness as key to living a better life, as well as a desire to do something about it.
Is a way of "taking our space" to be grounded in our beliefs, adhering to our guiding principles?
Yes, you are exactly right. Taking your space is speaking your truth, quietly, in accordance with your guiding principles. A. B.