Your formal living room

Two living rooms
Growing up in Los Angeles, I only saw homes with a common living room. When I moved to South Florida, I started seeing two living rooms, something which is apparently common. You have your formal living room, a space for adults to entertain colleagues, acquaintance, and those they want to impress. A little further in is your family room, what I had known as a living room, where the TV, video games, and books are kept, where the family and close friends gather to converse and spend time together.

There are boundaries you can set in your life, such as who has certain information about you. An easy example is: with whom you share your social security number – you know about identity theft and that only government agencies, your banking entities, and your employer need that information. Your neighbor, and even your best friend or sibling does not need your social security number.

Why boundaries
Another boundary you can choose is how much information to share about your personal life. This includes your sex life, parenting, family problems, financial information, sexual history, substance abuse history, and medical information. Some people are naturally private, and some are quite open. While those differences are perfectly normal facets of our personalities, we might consider small adjustments at times to protect ourselves from: judgement, unwanted advice, or having that information shared without our consent.

The family room
A boundary is a rule you set for yourself (and your household) as to what information gets shared or kept private. Consider that your family room is where information is shared freely, but your formal living room is where information is more restricted. Your closest friends may have access to the family room, but your co-workers may only be invited in as far as your formal living room. Perhaps your family and close friends who support you know that you are working through a medical issue, but that knowledge would not benefit your coworkers, and it might cause you harm if they knew.

The formal living room
The formal living room is always clean and ready to receive guests. The family room might be a mess at times. You only need to keep your public face and reputation clean for what you see is the outside world. Your personal face and reputation can be more authentic for those that you let in closer.

Dynamic boundary setting
It’s okay to draw and redraw those boundaries frequently, and as makes the most sense to your situation and your household. You might share information about your health with a support group, but not your siblings, or information about your kids with only your spouse, or financial information with everyone but your parents. Whatever boundaries are most practical to you are perfectly fine. And you owe no explanation as to when or why you set them.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

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