What can flowers teach us about boundaries?
Today I bumped into an acquaintance I’m quite fond of, who was holding a bouquet of flowers
. Of course, I shared how beautiful they were, and I quickly noticed a tinge of discomfort. She mentioned they were from her somewhat recent ex-boyfriend with whom she was dating for 2+years. It appears that he continues to send her flowers quite often, despite her repeated requests that he stop. They are a painful reminder of the relationship that needed to end, the temporary loss of a dream, and the tainting association of something usually quite joy-provoking. While we were talking, many others passed and commented on the flowers
, thinking how lucky, fortunate or how much joy she’s receiving from them.
However, at times, reality hits hard. Many times, whether within a relationship, or upon its ending, being clear, honest and forthcoming about one’s needs and expectations to one’s partner, can be extraordinarily challenging. It takes courage, sometimes tremendous courage. I gently inquired if she indicated her discomfort to her ex, and repeated her request for him to cease and desist, this time more firmly. She hadn’t, for many reasons – I suspect guilt about being the “terminator,” fear of hurting him further, minimizing to herself (her own feelings) how much seeing those flowers (every 2 weeks) truly distressed her.
When it comes to setting boundaries with others, there are often many dragons to slay to get up the moxy, hutspa, garbanzos – to do it. I suggested she contact the florist
, explain the situation, and ask them to discontinue all future flower deliveries by this sender. She appeared wide-eyed, with a mixed look of surprise and relief, and then, why not?
A workplace example of this is a co-worker or family member who repeatedly interrupts you throughout the day with questions or to just chat. While recently attending a professional conference, a colleague shared an uncanny story about just this. A co-worker was planning her wedding, and for 6 months, family members and the wedding
planner inundated her with calls. This resulted in a gradual, but significant decline in her performance with a probationary consequence. One effective strategy to address this is to give family members and others a specific day(s)/time(s) during which they can call. Any other time, you are unavailable, and will not answer the phone. After 2-3 weeks of consistently responding only during set times, the unintentionally distracting phone calls will stop.
Psychologists often work with individuals to identify and set clear and firm boundaries at home, at work, and with themselves. It isn’t easy, but the rewards are incredible – increased energy, self and other-respect, greater time for oneself, and an age-defying benefit- looking years (often 5-10) younger. You never would have believed it, until you see for yourself. Yes, good nutrition and exercise are very important and help us defer the visible signs of aging. However, don’t’ underestimate the transformative power of good, consistent relationship boundaries – it’ll do wonders for your complexion, not to mention your overall quality of life. Experiment, have fun with it, take a risk, and set a boundary today, then watch closely and see what happens.
We at May Flower do receive such instances and there are those who order flowers online that are not wanted and the best way to deal with it is to inform the sender regarding the non acceptance and thus hereby solving matters that would be discomforting!