Imagine that you look out your back window, only to see your lovely neighbour doing some landscaping without your permission. The neighbour decided to take some initiative on your behalf by removing your crab apple tree and replacing it with a beautiful maple. How would you respond? A mix of emotions may come over you, ranging from feelings of confusion, disrespect or possibly anger. You would later learn that your neighbour meant well thinking that you would enjoy this beautiful maple tree more than the “messy” crab apple tree. Whatever your neighbour’s intentions might be, I think most people would feel somewhat offended in this situation.

I share this analogy to emphasise two important points relating to self-care and boundaries. Firstly, I hope we can feel empowered that our lives are worth being cared for. We need and deserve self-care. I equate our lives as a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual garden that deserves care. Can we take personal responsibility to offer ourselves this care?

Secondly, this analogy can shed some insight into the nature of boundaries and relationships. Typically, relationships suffer when individuals do not take enough personal responsibility for their own yards or if they attempt to take responsibility for someone else’s yard. Even if our motivations are good, our attempts to remove weeds or a messy tree from a neighbour’s lawn will likely get us into relationship trouble. We may have good intentions and/or be struggling because the person we are in relationship with is ignoring their yard, but it generally does not go well for the relationship if we overstep into their yard.

At LifeCare Centres we would love to explore this with you invite you to meet with a trained therapist to examine self-care, personal boundaries and how to handle the possible challenges that may come being in a relationship with someone whose yard is suffering from a lack of care.  



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Jeff Dienesch