{79} Friend’s Prompt #7

“How about keeping your sanity and equilibrium in unsavory times?”

WayneT posed this question as a prompt. We all know the obvious answers, I think: unplug, meditate, go for walks, spend time with family and friends, etc. etc. In short, “practice self care.”

But there is a caveat to this that is often overlooked or even unseen: knowing your boundaries.

For some reason, somehow, modern Western culture for all its avowed prudery and stoicism does not actively teach people about personal boundaries, our own or other’s. We grow up intuitively understanding the “personal space bubble” and studies have been done about our negative reactions when that is invaded. But on the other hand, we are NOT taught about our “emotional/psychological space bubble” and it is something that we generally only have a vague awareness of existing.

“Pushy” people are celebrated in a lot of ways, and I don’t want to say that persistence and determination are bad things, but they are often lauded over and above being, you know, healthy. Immersion in an activity is considered “all in” and fanatical devotion to a thing (politics, sports, reality TV, celebrities…) is encouraged more often than not. Internet addiction becomes the universal standard because FOMO is a real thing.

So we stream emotionally intense movies and shows, we watch dramatic news stories, we read inflammatory political coverage…and then wonder why we feel morose, or wrung out. We’re “all in” at work and expect to be the same for our families/friends, and hobbies, and social activities (be they religious or fraternal organizations or activism), and, yes, social networking too.

People hit the wall all the time, become depressed or overwhelmed, and they don’t even know why.

My answer to this prompt is the trite “know thyself” but I mean it sincerely; maybe doing ALL THE THINGS is just not on your agenda for today. That’s fine. Pay attention to the fatigue and feelings of disinterest. Do not power through just because you think you should.

Feel out your emotional boundaries and then viciously protect them.

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