She does not appear to have any particular stand-out features. At work, she is diligent and polite, a good team-player. Shopkeepers that she encounters would likewise describe her as polite. Some people, when they first start getting to know Mary, may describe her as unusually attentive; most people, it seems, are all too quick to get their word into a conversation but Mary doesn’t seem to have to. Maybe, people think, she is merely being ‘polite’ again. Some may even realise that what they initially thought of as merely attentive is not only that; it is also starting to come across as genuine compassion, a real interest in another person and what they are saying.

What people don’t see is what lies beneath the surface until, that is, they get to know Mary even better. Mary, you see, has made some important decisions in her life.

Some are simple: Mary does not wish people to go through her personal belongings.

That is simple but is still an important line in the sand. She also does not wish to be unfairly criticised, not does she wish to have off-colour jokes told in her presence. She is firm but polite about these choices and, because of that, people respect them.

Mary has also decided that she has a right to certain things. She has a right to have help around the house and some peace and quiet while getting a massage. She also wishes to have more information before she makes a purchase and, because she is firm about this, a sales person is quick to respond.

And finally, Mary has also decided that it is okay to protect her own time and energy. She knows that it is okay not to answer her phone every time it rings.She has decided that, if she takes her time responding to messages and emails, she can do them better and with more clarity. Mary knows that she is free to say “no”, even to a volunteer activity, and change her mind. Mary feels that it is okay to cancel a commitment if she is not feeling well and she has decided to do just that, if the need arises.

Mary knows that it is okay to reserve a place in her own home that is off limits to everyone else.

These decisions have allowed Mary the space and the ability to start looking outwards. She in content with how she views things and how she would like people to view her.

She has discovered The Power of Boundaries.

Kindest regards,

Marléne.