Lots of cities are in or heading towards a lock down. It is hard for everyone. What if this time is not just another lock down? What if this is an opportunity to level up your well-being and better manage your work/life balance? Follow this 4 week series of posts to take advantage of this time and come out of the quarantine a better, happier you.
Week three is dedicated to Friends and Family. We all love them but on stressful situations it is easy for them to become needy and suck your time like a professional vacuum.
I am Mediterranean and that by default makes me an expert in Emotional Blackmail. It is mandatory for all Greek mothers to attend special courses on Emotional Blackmail and Psychological Warfare.
In that way they are prepared to win any argument, no matter how irrational. This behaviour also infects the rest of the family. Fathers happily join in when mothers are not around and grand parents are the kings or manipulation. Friends can be like that too. They can become overly comfortable, not respect your time and focus.
Deep inside, especially on uncertain and scary situations like COVID, it is normal for parents to worry a little extra. They need to feel closer to their children, make sure they are safe. This is an explanation, not an excuse. Their actions are coming from a place of love, that does not justify 3 calls a day or unnecessary cries for help.
Understand this: Your parents, your friends, people who truly care about you, would like you to be the best possible person you could be. They want you to take care and love yourself. They want you to be a respectable person. You cannot be that if you don’t respect yourself first.
Self respect means clear boundaries. Yes, you will go the extra mile because it is your parents or your best friends. Yet that does not an opportunity them to walk all over you or make you feel uncomfortable. You have needs and you need your space too.
When you don’t answer the 3rd, 4th…16th call of the day from your parents, when you clearly state that you only have 15′ to spend on the call with your friend, when you reply with a short text message to a humongous paragraph sent by your brother, it’s not showing disrespect to them. You are showing respect to yourself and you fence your space and time.
Once you clearly set your boundaries, people who really care about you will recognise the improvement, will approve and will congratulate you. They might not like it, it may push them out of their comfort zone. Their comfort zone and yours is not a Venn diagram, they don’t overlap.
You will have to stay put, keep your fort and defend your position. It may be hard at first, there will be relentless attacks from people who are losing their ill-earned privileges. Once you feel the benefit and luxury of claiming back your space and time, that will be the fuel that will propel you to get the distance that you need.
If you don’t respect yourself, no one else will respect you.