Personal Bubble Space

A Ragtag Daily Word Prompt

Photo by Lucas F. on

“You’re in my bubble space!” she said, drawing an imaginary circle around her body.

My daughter was in grade school when she was taught appropriate boundaries. It was part of the curriculum and more effective than anything I had taught her up to that point. Her class was taught that no one enters your bubble space without permission. The idea behind this theory being that awareness of your bubble space reduces the vulnerability for unwanted touching.

It was effective, if not a little annoying, to be constantly reminded that I was invading her bubble space. What I didn’t expect was how empowering it was for her. At an age when children don’t have a lot of control over their lives she was able to assert herself. She was at times militant and to make light of it would have been wrong on so many levels. So, while annoying at times, I showed her respect.

As a parent I often talked to my kids about what is appropriate and inappropriate adult behaviour, but nothing made this clearer than what she learned at school.

She is now an adult and like her siblings she has strong boundaries. They do not tolerate inappropriate language or actions directed at them or anyone else. They will not hesitate to call out unseemly behaviour.

When I was in an emotionally abusive relationship they would often respond during our conversations with statements like:

  • He can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do
  • He can’t tell you what to do
  • He can’t stop you
  • He can’t treat you that way
  • He can’t force you

My self-esteem had eroded to the point that I no longer had boundaries. My children would let me know every time it came up, that his treatment of me was unacceptable and with gentleness they reminded me that I was worthy, I was strong, and I was loved. Because of their strong sense of boundaries, I was able to re-establish mine and find the courage to leave the abuse.

I’ve learned a lot from my children about self-respect, loving myself, and living life on my terms. But the greatest lesson has been about boundaries. Now, no one enters my personal bubble space without permission.

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