Whenever I’m about to put fingers to keyboard and write a newsletter, I pray and ask Jesus to direct me to what He wants me to talk about. Having Him as my guide means I’ll obviously have more cut through and be talking about stuff you need to read and think about, as opposed to me just casting thoughts into the dark void out there. (I also do this before coaching sessions to make sure the sessions are right for each person and whatever is going on for them). Plus, often as I write, He gently reminds me of things I need to take note of too!

This newsletter turned out to be just that!

As I mentioned last month, boundaries have been on my heart a lot, so that’s what’s up this month! Why?

Well…we have a beautiful flatmate who was diagnosed with terminal cancer 1.5 years ago. So, for the past 1.5 years we’ve been in this bubble. It’s bittersweet and such a privilege.

He was told he’d be gone by now, so he’s done amazingly well to beat the odds so far…but, he hasn’t been doing so well lately.

This has meant that we’ve had a lot more visitors recently. Interestingly, some only started coming after his diagnosis. They never showed up in the 2.5 years of him being our flatmate prior.

Reminder to myself and you, keep in touch with those you love, don’t just turn up when they’re dying!

Some awesome people will check first before coming, and work within an hour time limit so he doesn’t get too tired. Others will come and hang as long as they can, forgetting that he’s sick and tired, and that it’s also a home where others live who need their space and may not always want to engage in conversation.

I must admit these are all things I’ve been oblivious to until now…

Respecting people’s boundaries

So through this, boundaries have become more and more top of mind, not just for him but for us all. And I’m not just talking physical space boundaries, but also mind space boundaries.

When we share with others what’s happening, so many then share their own stories and experiences…but don’t…just don’t.

When someone shares what’s happening – just hold space for them. Don’t make it about you.

I shared with someone the other day after we’d had some particularly bad news, and they went on to explain their own experience. All I could think of was to ask them to shut up. I didn’t of course. But OMG, it was right there on the tip of my tongue. So please, don’t make it about you.

On reflection, I’ve realised it’s because I didn’t have the mind space to cope with their trauma on top of my own.

And thats ok. Sometimes our mental bandwidth is maxed out, and we can’t always cope with what’s going on for others.

So…what if when we’re about to share something that’s challenging for us and could be triggering for the other person, we check first if they’re in a space to cope with it?

We’re giving them the precious choice. To either listen and hold space for us, or to decline (preferably politely!) because they’ve already got too much going on themselves.

Here’s an example. “We all have things that weigh us down from time to time, so I wanted to check if you have the capacity for me to share about xx / ask about xx right now?” Thus, respecting others’ ability/inability to cope, and taking care of them and us in the process.

How refreshing would it be to have these types of conversations in those difficult times?

Whether this is relevant for work or home, I hope it rings true for you and helps you think about how you could respect others’ physical and mind space boundaries.

After all, we’re on this journey together, so we’d better make sure we’re supporting each other in the very best way possible, eh?

If you think we can help you with something, set up a Teams cuppa with me!