When I was a kid my parents always insisted on some very basic ‘rules ‘of house…wipe your feet before you come through the front door being the most prominent for me - and then…take your shoes off as soon as you are through that door (if not before – that is if its not pissing it down with rain and the thought of squidgy wet socks freaked my dad out more) … you see no one wants muddy paw prints traipsing through their home - a home that they’ve spent years envisaging, building, investing in, nurturing, cleaning… and I get it…more than get it…
… and I am sure during some more ‘hormonal’ periods my of life that it bothered me, the rules and the routine, but I always did it – even with the lack of a smile, out of unquestionable respect it became routine, effortless… unquestionable. And then when I went to another’s home? Well I’d pay the same respects to their space…without thought really; it was just a learnt given...
I am not too sure why it took me another 20 odd years to work out that the ‘house rules’ should be not only be applied to our material homes, but to the inner nest also - and not just our hearts, not just our minds, not just our bodies – the whole entity… its a master piece you see, our own personal master piece - the being of you - a home you’ve worked tirelessly to envisage, build, remodel... that you want to ‘show it off’ - sure you want others to ‘admire it’ and why not? No I mean it… why the hey not!
But then that ego kicks in doesn’t it – that fear – that flip side…. Ermm what if they don’t like it when they’re in? …. What if it’s not as great being here, being me as I thought?... HOLY SHIT – what happens if they find a crack in the celling? They find a bulb that’s exploded and gone out, they think the paints dull and what if they find that Monica from Friends cupboard where I’ve shoved all my shit out of sight? And what if they come in and then they tell other people that it’s a hot mess? Oh god no - that just will not do will it…so what do we do? We open the door… which is more than a good first step… but it’s the AND THEN that plays the blinder here… so let us get to it…
*coughs – clears throat*
Well then we don’t really review our visitors – don’t check their invite - cause we don’t really ‘see them’ and their dirty shoes…we’re just so grateful that some one came… so we open the door up…WIDE – we so often allow people to just strive right on in, without an actual official invitation, with their shoes on tight - traipsing their emotional mud all over our wooden floors or cream carpets – an open house, really… a free for all - you might as well be standing outside of it shouting ‘yeah come on in, take space...’ and what you actually may as well be saying is – ‘I am out of my depth here… come in, take some ownership, PLEASE…put your feet right on up’
And what a fabulous invitation to another’s subconscious? A free house? Where I can come in? and do what I want? Many thanks, don’t mind if I do….
Time flies by and you start to see a decline in your space, the appearance of it… the once beautiful home that you worked so hard to build and grow, well its not being treated in the essence in which it was created and crafted is it?… and then some time later, an unscheduled moment usually… you flare up at your ‘visitor’ - step one happens in your mind (we all know how vicious that can be) and the burning of the words left unsaid drips down into our hearts and step two – it burns, and we stress because it sits so heavy there, burning away.. so that then EVENTUALLY ...we crash land at step three – we explode – with an overtly (often irrationally) expressed ‘don’t do that’, ‘don’t leave that there’, ‘would you do that in your own home’... nag, nag, nag…. Much to your guests bemused reaction of ‘what the actual funk?’ Sorry to say (well actually not really sorry) that its here we (myself included) should realise this is actually our own fault….
Why? BECAUSE WE DIDN’T LAY DOWN THE 'RULES' ON ENTRY…. From session to session I’ve realised its something socially we carry - mainly from beyond youth, from school and from before that…. feeding people rules is somewhat boring we believe… but I feel not, not if delivered with the right intention - not if they are within reason? LIKE, yep you guessed it – like wiping your feet before you come in to my house…and then taking your shoes off… its not really a big ask is it? It’s actually the courteous thing to do isn’t it? Its more of a gently boundary - than a rule that’s going to send someone, who genuinely wants to come, to be here to ‘see me’… who has taken the time, made the effort to get here…to send them running?
I work from home often, I work from others homes also – I’ve had clients traipse in when I was so lacking in confidence of my abilities 11 years ago and I wouldn’t trade or charge for my time – I was grateful that they just came and they would run my ragged post session – I made excuses for it and the demands where high…my own space? What was that to them… it didn’t exist to them - they could not see it. Perhaps… just perhaps (more like - yeah like actually in fact) because I didn’t let them see it? Didn’t share the boundaries – probably because then I didn’t have any confidence in what they were or should be… I didn’t respect what I owned... I was shy, sensitive and I had huge doubt hanging over the door with a light shone right over it saying who the hell am I….come help me look… Naturally it took time, self nurture, self respect and some gentle boundary settings to realise that if they came in fair nature, good intention they’d come back and if they ran? Well let them get going I say, better to know now they arrived in respect rather than to drop off some baggage they’ve run out of room in their own home to store.
Annnnnd I hear it so much still now – the work I do with so many of my clients I see, and during the time I have with friends … we have all allowed people to come on in and we have all allowed our inner space to be shaped by a visitor or two, rather than grown with them. It is a somewhat hard, but rewarding lesson well learnt…And just for the record (again), no I am not talking here about romantic love (but if that’s what this resonates within you today - then that is more than cool) – I am talking here about every relationship you have with another...work colleagues, friends, an animal, a stranger… you don’t need to build walls in defence – having let someone in once, let them make a mess and then having spent much time and great investment in having an almighty clean up…that’s not what a boundary is, that’s a line of defence. A boundary (a house rule) too can be loving, it can be a welcome home mat that say ‘meet me here and this too is how I will meet you’ – it can say ‘home sweet home’ with a small print under it saying ‘please be sweet and wipe your feet’ and this may feel the hardest thing on the planet to implement because you are SCARED…. Scared of how they’ll meet or find you – that it isn’t enough or isn’t right… but (I LOVE a BUT) more often than not it will be enough, more than enough and you having laid the love line down, that boundary of how to enter your home? Well, you’re saving yourself months, perhaps years of unnecessary emotional stress, tension build up, resistance and then anger, aggression and regret – when all you needed to do was open the door and show them the way in and they way how.