ON THE AIRPLANE, one of the my favorite features is the good old faithful armrest. The armrest is there for so many reasons. One of the most important of it’s functions if you asked me is that it provides a boundary between you and the person sitting next to you. When I’m traveling, I usually fly with my husband right next to me. He is arguably the closest human being in my life, yet he often thinks he can ignore my personal space. Fortunately, his disregard for my need of liberty is met with much resistance thanks to the armrest.
The armrest in those moments when he wants to cuddle up in what is already an extremely uncomfortable spot, now becomes my silent ally. It literally stands up for me and speaks out, advocating for my personal space and comfort while I’m going somewhere new. The armrest tells even my closest friend, she deserves some freedom to travel without feeling cramped or weighed down by anyone, including the people closest to her. It might sound funny to you, but I’m dead serious. This to me is a real thing. See, if you are like me and you’re trying to go somewhere great and the entire trip your comfort is being compromised for the comfort of others, there’s a good chance that by the time you reach your destination you’ll be cranky and in no shape to really enjoy the journey. You’ll be no good for the people around you, because you never got to experience the freedom of renewing your mind and getting refreshed for the next level.
I thought about this in terms of the roles and responsibilities so many of us have on us. How so many of us live our lives in service to others and that’s truly noble and great and all. But at some point where’s the armrest for you? Where’s the boundary between you serving others and someone finally letting you lean on their shoulder? When do you finally get the access to someone else’s space that you’ve made so easily available to others? Boundaries are a way for you to honor your needs. This is why the armrest is so wonderful to me. Someone took the time to think of that for me. To know that someone knew I would need a marker and a safe place to rest my tired shoulders. Some of us don’t have many people in our lives like this, but thank God for the ones we do have. I’m thankful for the ones I can rest my tired shoulders on and sleep a little. Those who don’t take offense to me recharging and renewing my perspective. The armrest and friends like it represent the reliable, consistent and amazing support systems we have in our lives. The armrest on the plane takes away the need to speak up for yourself. There are some friends like that. They know when we need a breather. They know when we are exhausted emotionally and they offer support for us in those times without making a big fuss. It’s good having this kind of support because when you step off that plane, you’ve got to open up your own mouth and tell the other people in your life where you stand when it comes to your boundaries, limits and standards. Even when it comes to those closest to you, I encourage you to be courageous enough to say, you’re going too far. Open up your mouth and say, this is my armrest aka boundary and you need to honor my space if you genuinely care about me. Today is the day for you to remind yourself and those around you that it’s ok to use your armrest. After all, it’s there to help you on flight called life.
Copyright ©️ Sherry Grant 2019
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