I know how fast time seems to be flying by. There are many demands on our time, focus, and energy. It can feel like the river of life has swept us up and at times we feel powerless to fight it. But really, we do have a choice. We can choose to go at our own pace with certain things. To take the time we need to think something through, to make a decision, or even simply to respond to a request or a question.
When someone asks us a question, in a way they are forcing or redirecting your focus. Your mind may be on something else when the question comes along and you have to mentally change gears to focus on and answer the question or request. But just because someone asks a question doesn’t mean we have to respond on the spot. It is okay to ask for time or simply to say that you will think about it and respond later.
Another way that I see this is when people hug. I have quite a few people in my life who call themselves “huggers”. When meeting someone for the first time, the other person usually extends their hand for a handshake but these friends will say “Oh, I’m a hugger!” and will launch into a hug. Think about it. There’s nothing wrong with a hug per se but in this example, the hugger just assumes it is okay to hug the new person. Maybe the other person is not comfortable with that level of intimacy with a stranger. The hugger interrupts the recipients personal space and energy by forcing the unasked for hug. When I see this sort of exchange or am in the exchange myself, my first thought is “Read the room!”. By that I mean that I wish the hugger would not just assume the hug is okay and to take a moment to read the body language or simply ask for the hug instead of just doing it.
There are so many other examples here. But basically my point is that each of us is a sacred space and we are allowed to choose what happens within that space. If we aren’t ready for an interaction, we are allowed to ask for or claim the space we need.
I encourage you take time to observe the different interactions in your life, whether you are a direct part of them or not. Do you feel intruded upon or forced in some way? Stand up for yourself, set the boundary, ask for the room, space, or time that you need. As the saying goes, “We teach others how to treat us.” This is an opportunity for you to teach others about your needs and to set healthy boundaries when possible and when needed.