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4.3. Circles of Trust

Intimate distance is 0-18 inches, personal distance 18-40 inches, social distance 4-12 feet, and public distance more than 12 feet. But that's just physical space.

The tricky kind of space, with invisible walls erected all the way to the clouds, hidden bear traps and quicksand that surprise visitors, and boundaries that crumble when they're most needed--that's all metaphor.

Whose negative words do you let in when you shouldn't? Who should you reach out to more? Whom should you hold close? (This is becoming a terrible who/whom grammar exam.) If Kevin no longer sparks joy, but instead incites murderous rage or brings endless dilute tears, maybe he needs to go out with the other boxes of stuff you Marie Kondo-ed to the Goodwill.

In a world of strangers, room full of acquaintances, lifetime of relationships come and gone, how many people remain in your inner circle of trust? Two? Three? Now that one has died and is forever watching over you, how many remain? 

You are Freud's iceberg with only the tip of the ego showing; Jung's shadow/self, anima/animus. You are a star system. That sun in the middle? You.


You galaxy is your circles of trust. From your point of view, you are always the center, not because you're egocentric, but because you must take control of and responsibility for who you let in, whom you say no to, whom you give precious time to. It's difficult, but it's okay to say no. Every single time.

Maybe you let someone in, and they disappointed you so utterly they have to be banished to the outskirts of your orbit. Perhaps you love certain people and they love you, but if they are a bad influence, out of your galaxy they go. Some people are jealous, negative, envious, dishonest, and cannot be trusted to stay anywhere close to your center because negative energy is far more contagious than resistant bacteria or cold and flu viruses.

On the other hand, your center must be strong with you alone in it, too. One's happiness cannot depend on others. It's enough work fighting off all the unhappiness in the world. Regardless of what Yeats says, the center must hold.

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  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! I should talk, though--still really working on this (esp. the saying "no" part...)

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    2. It's a perpetual lesson for all of us!

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