We all have boundary challenges, where we do too much or not enough. Where we allow ourselves to be encroached upon or encroach on others. These challenges show up in many ways, over and over, until we learn to balance. My challenge has been to hold my boundary in confrontation and it showed up again at pool side… I arrive at the pool around 10am to find all of the lounge chairs have been taken. Many “held” with towels some also with personal effects like a book or sunscreen. I ask management to add more chairs. He walks around and removes the towels from chairs without a personal item and offers me any one of the recently liberated chairs. I know that the person who put the towel there is going to come back. He suggests saying the chair was empty when I arrived.
Sure enough, she returns. She had been trying to hold 4 chairs. Two in front (with personal items) and two in a second row. The one I took was in the second row. Now I’m an adult, been one for a while. But its just me and clearly there will be four of them. She says, “I was holding these chairs.” I say, ” the chair was free.” I proceed to lay my towel out. She continues, “but I was saving this chair”. I look her in the eye and repeat, “It was empty when I got here” and sit down. She huffs and goes to sit with a friend at the pools edge. Now, this is not how I wanted to start my day. But I was drawn into this situation to continue to practice using my voice. I was prepared to go to the logical place with her, explain why what I’m doing is ok, and solve her problem- “not hotel policy,” “talk to a manager”. But its not my job to do that simply because she wanted to push me. I don’t have to feel badly because she wanted a chair she was not entitled to if everyone wasn’t there yet. The manager, showed me the short, simple way to shut that down. “It was free.”
Turns out that holding my boundary and my energy really ruffled her and her friend. A few minutes later they actually moved their chairs to another location and I ended up with a perfect view. By the way – the other people never showed up.