(This is a continuation of my earlier post, The Filipino (non-)concept of space.)
Interacting with people whose values and way of life are opposite mine has been a source of my growth and learning. Tremendous growth opportunity.
Considering I’m dealing with people who have no concept of space, it’s been quite a challenge. But it certainly is a most effective way to master my lesson of setting boundaries and asserting my right to my personal space.
If I’m around people who already have a good sense of personal space, and who already know how to respect boundaries without having to be told, and who know how to honor other people’s choices, how am I going to strengthen my muscle of boundary-setting and self-assertion and master my life lesson, right?
What better way is there for me to learn than to be in a place whose people are “spaceless and whose traditional concept of space is boundless“? A people who can’t even begin to define their own personal space and boundaries, what more respect those that were defined by others.
I also need to learn to respect whatever personal space and boundaries others have defined, no matter how different they are from mine.
The Filipino people are teaching me how to improve my skill of boundary setting, as well as how to respect their personal space and boundaries, in whatever shape or form they take or how they’re made known, and regardless how peculiar or “wrong” they appear to me.
The silver lining behind the dark cloud
I may not be ecstatic about residing in the Philippines. But one of the reasons why I’m here, still, has become clear to me. I am mastering my lesson of setting boundaries. This country and her people are teaching me that. And what has this got do to with my recent experience of laryngitis?
When my personal space is invaded and my boundaries are not honored, no matter how angry I feel for having been violated or disrespected, and no matter whether there was an intention to violate my boundaries or not, I need to speak up and assert myself. The only way for me to set boundaries and let other people know of the perimeters of my personal space and where my boundaries lie, is for me to speak up.
What was building up was what pulled me down
I felt frustrated being constantly bombarded by invading energies from other people and my surroundings. I resented the need for me to have to constantly assert myself and make my boundaries known. I was repulsed by the constant need for me to let people know when they have overstepped their boundaries.
Out of sheer frustration, there were times when I chose to keep mum. I pretended to not feel or notice the energies invading my personal space. I chose to simply walk away from the situation or the people, not saying anything. I was too angry or too exhausted to even want to deal with the situation. It’s like, oh no, not again…..
So, I walked away without doing what I was supposed to, i.e., assert myself, plus I was sending and leaving negative thoughts and feelings, plus I was taking with me all the negativity and the anger, plus I was not clearing my system and releasing the pent-up emotions. Hmmm….sounds to me like a simple and sure formula that adds up to an eventual dis-ease.
Is it any surprise that my experiences and attitude have affected my energy field? Is it any wonder that the flow of energies in my system were blocked?
It started with allergies. In the book, “Heal Your Body A-Z: The Mental Cause for Physical Illness and the Way to Overcome Them,” one of the probable [metaphysical] causes of allergies that author Louise Hay outlined is,
“Who am I allergic to?”
The answer is pretty clear.
Then the allergies developed into laryngitis. One of the probable causes is,
“I am so mad I can’t speak.”
Can’t get any clearer or truer than that.
We truly are where we need to be
I may dislike being here. I may be feeling angry and resentful. All my feelings are valid and justified. And I’m being reminded not to invalidate myself and my feelings. To have compassion for myself. I’m also being reminded to not allow anyone to dismiss what I’m going through or invalidate what I feel.
Being here may not be what I want. It may not be how I want to learn my lesson. But it most certainly is what I need.
I need to learn to make peace with the fact that this is the place that is providing me with growth opportunities that I need during this phase in my journey. And it is serving its divine purpose.
I am strengthening my muscle of setting boundaries. I am getting clearer on where the perimeters of my personal space and boundaries are. I am mastering how to assert myself and communicate as needed, in an appropriate, respectful and loving manner. I am also learning to honor and respect whatever personal space and boundaries are defined by others, regardless how misaligned they are with mine.
And yet more clarity
The inability of the Filipinos to recognize and respect personal space and boundaries may be largely cultural. It may be deeply embedded in the Filipino psyche. The Filipinos’ tendency to overstep into someone else’s space may be unconsciously done. Out of cultural influence and unconscious habit.
I get that.
And I may now have a better understanding and appreciation of where they’re coming from, and why they’re behaving the way they do.
Yet it still doesn’t make it less unacceptable to me or more allowable in my energy field, especially as I am defining and refining my preferences, and only choosing to be around people, situations, and places, that are uplifting and supportive, and are in alignment with my vision, my values, and my truth.
It can’t get any clearer than that. And I can’t express myself any other way.
Sometimes, the way to receive a gift is to give it
Yet I’m being asked to take a step back. See the bigger picture. Be the bigger person. And extend patience, understanding, even compassion.
Interestingly, I’d been whacking my brains wanting and hoping for these people to learn to understand and accept that I’m just different from them. That we have different concepts of personal space and boundaries.
But rather than have them understand me, I am the one who is being called to extend understanding.
How can I even expect them to understand and respect my personal space and boundaries when they don’t even have any concept of space at all?
Our teachers and our lessons truly come in all shapes and forms. One just never know what size or packaging the gift comes. One just never know what’s the gift inside the box.
And sometimes, the way to receive a gift is to give it.
Whew. What a gift. And what a journey.
But wait. There are two other metaphysical causes of laryngitis.
Fear of speaking up. Resentment of authority.
More will be revealed…..
To be continued – Part 6 – Giving myself a voice
- Setting Personal Boundaries – protecting self
- Healthy Personal Boundaries & How to Establish Them
- Part 1 – What I am learning from laryngitis
- Part 2 – The need for personal space
- Part 3 – Defining boundaries in the Filipino setting
- Part 4 – The Filipino (non-)concept of space
- Filipino space is boundless, communal
- The Problems of Proxemics
- Edward T. Hall: Proxemic Theory
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