Do you like to be robbed?

How about bullied?


Have words ”put in your mouth”?

Helped when you don’t want help?

I have a friend that due to a tragic accident has lost his arm. He is often shocked by the number of people ”helping” him by, for instance ripping a bag out of his hands at the cash register and putting his purchases in the bag without even looking at him.

These are all forms of intrusion. Intrusion means literally to disrupt or break-in to something without asking permission. It also can mean to interest one’s self in what is not their concern. It probably comes from the Latin ”in-trudere” meaning ”to thrust” or to push. Do you like to get thrust or pushed?

What is less acknowledged but often just as irritating is when you are intruded upon either bodily or conversationally. Just like my friend’s experience of getting his shopping bag forcibly ripped from his one good hand and even if it is done with the noble intention of helping him; from his perspective it is an intrusion and therefore a breach of his personal integrity. In his case it can become more complicated, for he has observed that if he comments on this intrusion he is often pounced upon and ridiculed for being ”ungrateful”.
How would this type of treatment make you feel?

There is a risk for intrusion with every touch. As my good friend and colleague, Don McFarland says ”There is no innocent touch”. By avoiding or neglecting to sense another’s limits usually causes feelings of guilt, resentment, bitterness and even dis-ease. Is that what we really want to spread to others? If we choose, we do have the senses to notice each of these boundaries we often miss consciously, or not. All it requires is a bit of curiosity, acknowledgement and training. In fact, what if the world will not change very much until we start to recognize and honor each other’s psychological and physiological boundaries? We already have seen the carnage when national boundaries are disregarded, even when it is under the guise of ”freedom”. Providing someone with democracy, whether they like it or not, is fundamentally intrusive.

Intrusion does not stop there. We are currently witnessing financial intrusion in Cyprus. Minorities all over the world are often intruded upon either legally, through democracy and ”majority rule” or illegally via bullying or disregard for their humanity. Intrusion can even occur conversationally. For instance have you ever:

  • had your sentence finished by someone else?
  • been cut-off in the middle of a story?
  • been stressed by an arbitrary deadline?
  • been abruptly told that your line of thinking was just wrong?
  • been taken hostage by someone that never takes a breath between sentences?
  • bought something at your door or over the phone that you didn’t need or want?
  • been questioned in a way that feels like an interrogation?
  • been the victim of a sarcastic comment?

These and many more are all forms of conversational intrusion. Each and every one of these examples demonstrate both a lack of respect for another’s boundaries as well as a focus on self rather than others. Some may justify their intrusions by twisting it to be ”efficient” or ”helpful”. In that case, ask my friend how ”helped” he feels and what feelings emerge when his personal integrity is breached by getting ”help” without being asked if there is a need.

People are starting to wake up to the intrusive nature of our current society. For a long time we have been ”polite” to each other. Polite can, of course, mean well-mannered, but as Patick Collard pointed out it can also mean ”pissed-off lightly”. Many people, especially the young are rapidly being pushed past the point of ”politeness” and are beginning to react when their personal boundaries are ignored. For some of us, this is a rude awakening to how hard and callous we have become. Yet beyond that, there is such an opportunity to learn from our behavior and together create a softer, more enjoyable future.
Being sensational starts with being sensitive, to yourself and others.

So what can you do become less intrusive?

Below are a few tips:

  • Observe and reflect before responding
  • Ask permission, listen closely to and honor the response
  • Give other’s more space to choose
  • Request instead of demand (requests can be answered with either a negative or positive answer)
  • Inspire rather than obligate
  • Develop a softer, more sensitive touch
  • Get more in touch with your own and others’ feelings
  • Feel more by breathing more; slowly, deeply and joyously
  • Become more aware of your touch and use it wisely
  • If you miss a boundary, apologize
  • Practice mastering these processes

In short, if you smell the ”Golden Rule” in all this you are probably on the right track.
It all boils down to being more curious about stuff outside of you and your own bubble.
The more you seek this knowledge and understanding the more it will reveal itself.

Finally, have faith in the process. Often, revelations of how intrusive you have been may be, at first,  very depressing. Remember though, this too is progress!
Before, you were not even aware of this behavior and now you are.
This is the first, necessary step in developing beyond where you find yourself now. It is the first step in taking ownership of your own Soft Skills Toolbox and it is also the first step in building a better, more peaceful and prosperous global community, together.

If you would like to learn more about becoming more sensitive and how your touch influences others please click here to learn more about The Body Harmony Workshop that will be held in Stockholm in June. For more information about Expanding Understanding’s Sensational Soft Skills Toolbox™ click here.

About The Author


I am fascinated with what makes us humans ”tick”, especially when it comes to how we consciously communicate and express ourselves with our body language. My business background is in international sales and sales management, selling everything from automobile tires in Houston, Tx, to retail banking delivery systems in 20 countries. I have graduated from CoachU’s 3 year Coach Training program, been certified as an Extended DISC consultant and become a Certified International Body Harmony Teacher with over 20 years of ”hands-on” experience in bodywork. This rich and varied background combined with over 20 years of being an entrepreneur has blessed me with insights and experiences I never would have noticed in the corporate world. Mainstream business now seems to be waking up to the riches available from more conscious and responsible business practices. Expanding Understanding’s Sensational Soft Skills Toolbox , the books I have written and training I have developed now provide savvy decision makers and their colleagues measurable results and a more restful night's sleep. These tools provide an edge in consciously understanding, deliberately using and profiting from the most powerful communication tool available, our bodies. I look forward to meeting you on this path to mastery in non verbal communication.

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