On setting boundaries…

Imagine yourself in a huge house, tastefully designed, everything handpicked by you. This house is one you have created over the years but while you love it, it is so dusty, you can’t breathe.

One day, you wake up and decide to clean this house, room by room. It takes a while, it’s exhausting, you pause to rest, to do your solo music show, you spill things everywhere, you sometimes have to start over, you blame yourself for how your house was so messy but you continue cleaning it up anyway until it’s clean.

Do you know that point where you mark the moment by lighting up a candle as a ceremony to celebrate this new scent? That’s where you are now (feel free to take a deep breath to inhale your favorite scent here, mine is tobacco and chocolate).

Now someone comes in with dirty shoes and tries to walk into your space without taking them off, your eyes are bulging out of your head as you see the work you’ve done, almost get undone by them. You wish they would know, like don’t they have eyes, can’t they see that they need to take off their shoes? But they keep chatting and walking and chatting and walking until you snap, “can you fucking take off your shoes!”

Alternatively, you could say “please take off your shoes before you come in”, “ can we meet somewhere else instead?”, “would you mind cleaning up before you come in?”, or “don’t come in”. You recognize the amount of work it took to get the house you have so you are very vehement about making sure it stays that way for as long as possible. Everything you do to make this possible is setting boundaries.


Writer, Clinical Psychologist

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