Set your limits and don’t allow people to disrespect you

February 16, 2018

If someone disrespects you, you must set limits and protect yourself from aggression.  Regardless of whether these are direct or indirect. You were not put on this earth to endure aggression (no matter how disguised it is). Let alone when you have done nothing wrong to deserve it . Let’s remember that we cannot control the way everyone behaves. But what we can do is learn how to establish our limits and the consequences for people who cross them.

We have reached a point where we normalize a lack of respect as something which specially forms part of power relationships. As if it was a tolerable basis for relationships between people of “different levels in a hierarchy”. We excuse ourselves and excuse others in matters of disrespect. “Well … it’s your boss, you have no choice but to take it.”, “Let’s see … don’t expect to be treated nicely if you are the new guy in that job”, among many other examples…

A boss is yelling at a nervous employee.

The line between what is tolerable and what is not has become blurry. As if it was a pencil stroke upon which we have repeatedly rubbed a finger. On the other hand, each one of us has the ability and the obligation to set our own limits. Nevertheless, it is true that on many occasions we find ourselves doubting whether something has exceeded or not the limit of respect within a relationship.

Limits protect us from disrespect

Therefore, it is essential to make very clear what we will and what we will not tolerate within a relationship. This applies to relationships with our friends, acquaintances, co-workers, family… Let’s make an effort to listen to the signs our own bodies send us when someone is crossing our limits.

Our bodies are wise and will always warn us when respect towards us is being violated. Listening to our bodies and being aware of them is our task.

A woman is cupping her ear to hear the limits.

In human relationships, no one is superior. We are all different and perform different activities, but no one is “humanly superior” to anyone else. Because of this we should not think superiority is a valid reason to allow someone to harm or hurt us.

That which doesn’t exist cannot be a reason. Moreover, its existence doesn’t necessarily imply that it is a reason.

If we use this simple rule of thumb as our guide, then all people “superior” to us have the right to hurt and harm us. But if no one is superior, perhaps it would be good for us to wonder how much power we are giving these people. The kind of power that nobody can have if you don’t give it to them.

We find ourselves empowering certain people to hurt us and make us feel bad. How do we do this? By assuming their lack of respect towards us is something natural, something we must allow. It is something we let them do. We let them enter our castle, and on top of that we let them do with it whatever they want.

If we don’t set limits, we are allowing other people to harm us

There are many ways in which we allow others to disrespect us. There are also ways in which we send signals “inviting” them to do so. For example, when someone has made a comment about us and we feel very uncomfortable with it. Instead of letting the other person know how we feel, we conceal and silence our feelings. We keep them in our private backpack of saved grudges. This way, we turn their disrespect into our own personal poison.

A giant person is in the water with many ships sinking.

At the same time, by allowing their behavior, we send them a clear message – it is probable that in the future I will consent to this type of behavior again. Somehow it is as if indirectly we are saying “you can disrespect me if you want, I will let you do it”.

We should ask ourselves instead if this makes us feel comfortable. If silencing with our bodies and our words helps us improve our relationships…

Many times we smile or “lower the veils” to avoid being honest with our own limits and avoid making them visible to other people. Nothing happens when we do so. In fact, many times it is a matter of survival.

Another reason we remain silent is because we feel very clumsy being assertive. We have such few footprints on this field that our message of censure for the observed behavior is often unclear. Nothing happens if we stumble a little bit, we will learn with practice. The important thing is that we start doing it.

Let’s not fool ourselves – we don’t deserve anyone’s disrespect

Although enduring an expression of disrespect is a matter of “survival” at certain times, that doesn’t mean it works this way most of the time. If someone is frequently disrespecting us, we have to ask ourselves if we are “accepting” it in order to “survive”. Or if we do it because we are not capable of setting our limits and don’t value or appreciate ourselves enough.

A person is hugging a giant heart.

We don’t deserve to have anyone disrespect us blame-free and without any motive. So, if we feel we do not deserve it, we need to consider if it is better to endure the pain and change the subject with a smile on our faces or accept that people have trespassed our limits. We can do plenty to recover our limits and show them authentically when we feel they are being violated.

This is definitely a challenge. And it takes a certain amount of effort. But it is worth it. It is worth it to RESPECT OURSELVES, rather than letting other people disrespect us just to maintain their “affection” towards us.

It is a matter of self-care and self-love. It is a challenge to find happiness in this society of macabre lures. So, since life is not static and, above all, it belongs to us… we can choose to respect ourselves when others do not!