I will not be taking into consideration how effective social distancing is for the prevention of disease by a popular now dangerous virus, though I have listened to some scientists who doubt the validity of this theory. Instead, I will explore personal boundaries with a little input from my business partner and colleague.
Over The Borders
On the ground in the south of France, Steve Costello reports some activity that concerns him. Traditionally, all people he passes in the street say, “bonjour”. Just a friendly greeting shared with everybody who makes social contact, however formal or informal. Meeting a male or female neighbor in the street would start with a handshake, a friend, male or female would share a kiss on each cheek.
“We don’t say “bonjour” to everybody, especially in a supermarket, unless we happen to make eye-contact. Pre-COVID-19, most people were happy to enjoy a little social contact with a stranger, even if it was just a simple, “bonjour”.
We were saying, ‘I see you’. Not so different from the Namasté greeting, I bow to the divine in you”.
Something has shifted, Steve suggests. Many people have become fearful of contact to the point of creating physical distance by stepping as far away as possible. Steve has made a point of saying bonjour to more people and with sadness, he notes that many no longer respond. Instead, they look fearful and seek a way out. Is this going to be the new normal?
Yet, caution is thrown to the wind when some people want to reach the best apples on the display before anybody else or grab six bags of flour instead of the allowed four because they happen to be the last six. How do they pass through the checkout? They split the shopping with a partner.
Back To Russia
The fact that Corona is not respected is obvious in the nearest supermarket in Russia too, when even if we are standing somewhere in the area of red scotch on the floor, we still turn back-to-back with the person in the adjacent checkout queue. Until we are reminded of our close proximity to another, potentially infectious human.
But I am more interested in what is called personal space, and the fact that meeting the borders of this very space is the subject of hot fights on the network and sad tears in the chair of a psychologist.
Usually when I advise, I write down what a client says, and I take notes, which I have such associations and reactions, and what, in my opinion, I need to tell the client about how to clear or strengthen.
And for the last couple of years, I notice that I have been drawing circles on almost all my notes. The circles are lonely, couples, internal, connected lines and shared by them. I share my notes with clients.
I understand this as a symbol of personal space. This is you, but this is not you anymore. How you rate your space, how strong you express your borders, how you realize they are broken, how you break into the space of another.
These borders are invisible, and almost intangible, but if you listen and tune in, it turns out to be one of the most significant types of self-perception. Steve published an article about this recently. You may like to read more.
And almost all of my clients have this category, if not completely destroyed. Even more accurate, not developed from the very beginning. And it’s not surprising when most of us grew up in the conditions of negative personality, the right to self-determination, to personal opinion, to respect ourselves as a person, as an individual.
For many clients, the usual part of the story is violence, physical and even sexual, emotional terror, grinding out the details, to the needs of the majority, whether parents, school, financial elite, or political system.
The feeling of my personal borders and the feeling of being broken is my problem, which I am working hard on, and I can talk about the importance of this feeling endlessly. After all, the borders not only mean my place for others, but they also paint my place for me – my home, my space, which I explore, finding the hidden sites, build, revival of what is broken, I find in it, precious places and broken minds. And of course, I learn the fine art of keeping and protecting my borders, in some cases they need open defense. Because the desire of the neighbor to win, happens to be responsible and clear to them.
I don’t know how to fight. My tool is the word. It is a tool that I can use for good but may not really. With an axe – you can build a house and warm a family, and you can destroy the beauty and kill a person. Looking at whose hands and for what purpose does that axe serve is necessary.
The trouble is that breaking the borders teaches war, use an attack as a better protection, or forced to give up on the mercy of the winner, giving to the winner of the winner. And it is extremely difficult to learn.
But my soul is tired of war, and I’m learning.
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ExGro was founded in 2018 with business partner, psychologist, personal development specialist and friend, Steve Costello.
2 thoughts on “Personal Boundaries”
I noticed the same thing here in the states and with kids out on a walk they treat them as if they are a death sentence. I don’t want to be insensitive to how others feel but it’s definitely a shift.
Hey Myla, Thanks for commenting. I agree that there is a clear shift and it is very sad and a cause for concern. For many people I work with, anxiety is already a challenge in their lives, COVID seems to have amplified that. We could theorize all day about how to bring people together or how the media contributes to pushing people apart under the guise of “best interests” but, who will that help? Perhaps the simple solution is to keep saying “hello” and share the love.