When I have some work that needs to be done, but the room in which I’m working is messy, first the room gets cleaned. Always. That’s who I am on a day-to-day, minute-to-minute level, someone who prioritizes order.

We are all different from each other. Most people do not prioritize order and cleanliness, at least not to the extent I do.

I have housemates. When I come home and see a dirty house, the disgust or irritation is reflected on my face. It is reflected there before I even feel it, because feelings are just the tail-end of emotions. It is reflected there before I have time to change my body language or my bearing. So other people know I am angry before I even feel the anger; they know I’m disgusted before disgust even registers in my mind.

Other people are unconsciously aware of how disgusted I am before I am consciously aware of how disgusted I am. And guess what? Then they react to how I react, and they react before being aware of their own feelings. If we’re not careful, these reactions spiral out of control.

When you are attached to people, environments or even situations that violate your own deep values, the result is that your disgust, anger or unhappiness is reflected in your face, your voice and your posture before you even feel it.

And the people you are attached to can tell.

They resent you for it. And they can’t hide their resentment either.

So you resent them for resenting you.

Setting clear boundaries breaks this cycle of resentment.

This is why boundaries are unselfish. This is why setting boundaries often helps other people even more than it helps you. This is why if you want to say no, that’s a good enough reason to say no. And if anyone wants to say no to you, that’s all the reason they need.

And what if setting boundaries isn’t enough? What if people simply ignore you when you say no?

If you want to leave, that’s a good enough reason to leave. In fact, if you want to leave, please leave. Leave for the sake of everyone else’s happiness if you can’t do it for your own.