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Prepent 5774: Day 22, Setting Boundaries

Reevaluating the ever-changing borders between our public and private lives

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(Tablet Magazine)

Journey into the High Holidays with Amichai Lau-Lavie, founder of Storahtelling and the spiritual leader of Lab/Shul. It’s a daily dose of inspiration to get you focused and ready for the new year, featuring daily intentions, simple tasks, and tools for living better.

Jane Lynch plays a therapist with boundary issues in Jill Soloway’s great new movie, Afternoon Delight. She talks a lot about herself during sessions, and her not-so-patient patient wonders if this is appropriate—is this the therapy she needs, and is paying for?

Boundaries need examining and remapping every once in a while. We get used to saying yes or no to relationships, contracts, push backs, and positions that could use re-negotiating. Everything changes, boundaries too.

This 22nd day of Prepent I’m focusing on re-charting the routes in the maps of my mind. Where am I taking too much space, where do I step back too much?

Yesterday I started my third year of rabbinic school at the Jewish Theological Seminary with a helpful session on rabbinic roles in the public arena—when to say yes or no to congregants, how to be there for others but not at the expense of one’s own well-being and private life. 

I realized how often I put myself second and others who require my help first. And that’s noble, but not always healthy. I thought of Lynch’s role in the movie during class when we discussed when, if ever, it’s okay to talk about yourself and your own issues and questions as a leader and when it’s best to just listen and be more private and discreet? 

Here I am, blogging my guts out. And it feels honest, transparent, and real. But still, it’s a good time to ask myself where I draw the line about private issues. It reminds me to consider how often I say yes or no to requests and needs, to re-examine the borders between private and public in my life.

Just thinking about my boundaries led me to ask a few people who had recently texted or Facebook messaged me with professional questions to use my work email instead. I turned down two requests that I realized were okay for me to turn down. I also considered going back to therapy.

Just say no, or yes, or maybe—but take the time to think about at least one boundary that would benefit from reflection in the eight days, before the new year begins. 

Follow along with the Scroll’s daily Prepent series here.

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Prepent 5774: Day 22, Setting Boundaries

Reevaluating the ever-changing borders between our public and private lives

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