If someone throws a fit because you set boundaries, it’s just more evidence the boundary is needed.
I was just about to jump in the shower when the doorbell rang.
In my dream, I was in the same house I grew up in…a bi-level split. I was in the basement, wearing only a towel. I peeked around the corner and looked up the stairs to see if I could see who was at the front door. A man and a woman, both in white uniforms, were standing on the front step, on the other side of the glass door.
The man saw me and called out, friendly: “I can see you down there, peeking around the corner! Come open the door…we just want to talk to you.”
Stupidly, I went upstairs, holding tight to my towel, and opened the door.
The woman, who was very sweet, started off the sales pitch. The company they worked for was a laundry service. They would pick up my dirty laundry on a weekly basis, then return it, cleaned, for a reasonable price.
“No thanks,” I said.
“It’s a very good deal,” she said.
“I’m sure it is,” I said. “But I can do my own laundry thanks.”
Then the man stepped towards me and became aggressive. “No,” he said, “I think you should let us do your laundry.”
“No thanks,” I said, gripping my towel a little tighter.
“Yes,” he said.
“No!” I said, then pointed to the door. “Please leave.”
By this time, the woman looked uncomfortable. She walked to the door. But he didn’t move.
So I pushed him towards the door and said, “GET OUT! NOW!”
He resisted a little more and got kinda nasty. Finally, they left. And just before I closed the door behind them, I looked outside and saw there were a whole bunch more of these salespeople, all wearing their white uniforms, standing in a line around the edge of my front yard.
When I woke up, I was kinda shaken.
But after a bit of reflection, I think the message my subconscious was sending me had to do with setting and enforcing boundaries…for both external intruders such as controlling, pushy people and internal intruders such as controlling, obsessive thoughts.
The aggressive man likely represented bossy, pushy people and bossy, pushy thoughts (that may be in reaction TO the people!)—that are no longer serving me…and may, in fact, even be hindering me from moving forward with my life in the most healthy & happy way possible.
The sweet lady may have represented the majority of the people in my life (and the thoughts in my head) who are not bossy, pushy, aggressive or obsessive. Maybe she was a reminder that when I do MY job of setting and enforcing personal boundaries in a polite but firm way, most people (and thoughts) will respect and honour those boundaries…and give me the space I need.
Likewise, I need to do the same for others.
But regardless of whether they are people or thoughts, if they continue to keep barging into my life and mind—uninvited and unwanted—and refuse to take no for an answer, then I have every right to show them the door…and lock the dead-bolt behind them, if need be.
Yes, there may always be a long line-up of more pushy people and obsessive thoughts clamoring for my attention…but maybe not. Maybe at some point, if they see enough of their predecessors getting thrown out, they may start to get the message and move on to the house next door (or, even better, get back in the dumb little van their company sent them over in—and go back to where they came from).
As for the towel? Well, that’s obvious. If one answers the door wearing only a towel, one is not only vulnerable, but also rather daft. As in…when we are feeling vulnerable—for any reason—we should NOT open the damn door to pushy people or thoughts in the first place!
But what do we often do instead? We let them in…because we don’t want to be rude.
Well, I say: Be Rude.
Why am I sharing this dream with you? Because I suspect I am not alone. Every time I turn around, I hear another story that reiterates the importance of learning to set and enforce personal boundaries that serve to keep annoying people—and not-at-all-helpful thoughts—at bay.
Because of this pandemic, I think many of us are—metaphorically speaking—wandering around in towels at the moment…partly because we have a lot more time to think. And even if we haven’t been significantly impacted personally, we are all part of a collective whole that HAS taken a huge hit…and will continue to for quite some time.
As for the laundry service part of my dream?
The meaning of that is easy: I can clean my own dirty laundry, thanks…that’s where the lessons are. The gift of time the pandemic has given many of us is a perfect opportunity to do just that.
Previously Published on Pink Gazelle