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“Toxic people make you think you’re holding a grudge when you’re really holding a boundary”. Warren Buffett
While lock down kept getting extended in the COVID days in Mumbai, my understanding of client issues made me realise that when it came to interpersonal relationships, people were having a hard time drawing up boundaries. The simpler term sometimes used by layman in this context is “missing my space”. The ones in a young marriage should have used this opportunity to work on their marital bond, instead they felt they were in an over stressed, over exposed, relationship that got aggravated with the work from home demands on them. Strangely, while the more mature marriages enjoyed the daily chores that left them physically exhausted but brought out greater realisation as well that living life in its sheer simplicity with attention to basics was perhaps the road to bliss!.
And then I chanced to see an Instagram post by a motivational speaker called Jay Shetty who wrote about the importance of setting 3 types of boundaries if we needed to improve our mental health. Boundaries with time, boundaries with our energy and boundaries with people. He goes ahead to explain that boundaries need not be negative as most people may interpret them to be so. Nor are boundaries like grudges; boundaries instead make us feel what we are when we are at our best and healthy. Protecting and maintaining our boundaries in relationships with people, with time, and most importantly with our energies could perhaps hold the key to a more balanced life. Inadvertently, this thought process and practice could lead to more control on one’s mental health and reduce personal discomforts and misery?
People often give me the feedback that when it comes to my personal relationships, I lose focus and do extend my boundaries. I am guilty of trying to even extend myself by causing myself discomfort and making others feel good. Since empathy comes easily to me, I have to retrain my mind now to draw my boundaries that are better and clearer so that I do not lose myself in trying to empathise with others and end up compromising my own self- worth. Afterall, setting healthy boundaries for oneself is a sign that we value ourselves.
A word of caution to the married couples at any stage in their marriage, well since loving someone has really no boundaries and marriage as an institution needs to be continually worked at from both ends, do give it your best shot, but do not consume yourself loving the other. More on that on the question and answer segment on the website, so good luck in the post COVID days as well.
- Dr A. Kapoor
While the country deliberates on the economic impact in the post Covid times, as a Counselor I lament on its impact on the human spirit. The mental deterioration of every age group cuts across every socio- economic strata of society. While being an optimist at the start of Lockdown 1.0 where keeping our selves engaged over the newly discovered Zoom meeting space was as exciting as discovering new recipes on the internet, my own challenges only intensified as the euphoria of all the free time we were confronted with increased.
I discovered creative ways of engagement with my clients and started to take up online counseling, an unexplored field in my pre- covid world. It was exciting to make skype calls to clients that would possibly deliver some of the same benefits to the client that a face to face session would have done in the past.
The problems experienced by the clients were varied with every incremental rise in the lockdown series. But a common thread that kept reappearing was that the individuals were in stressful situations, with the lack of domestic support staff (a big dependence in Indian homes) stretching the family’s level of tolerance and patience to its limit!
Simplistic suggestions that came to my mind was to appeal to clients to “develop tolerance or patience” but that would be merely adding salt to their already raw wounds. So instead I choose to ask them to use their logical mind and to look at the opposite persons intentions before judging their actions.
Knowledge includes humility, simplicity, self- control besides several other things.
Anything contrasting this is sheer Ignorance. And hence results in impatient and intolerant reactions. Maybe Lock down rage is hear to replace road rage.
So, look before you leap. And keep a safe distance to avoid head on collisions.