Do No Harm but Take No Shit.
Apr 15, 2018
Taken out of context the title may sound aggressive. However, if you really look at what it means it is saying that it’s okay to set boundaries while also being aware that is not OK to intentionally harm another being.
We all learn from boundaries: The person setting those practices self-respect, and the other person learns how you want to be treated etc.
To illustrate my point I will use some simple personal life examples.
Years ago I was out with a few friends enjoying a quiet evening at a local bar. Two guys came in and they were being rude and aggressive; eventually one of them calmed down. But for the next hour and a half the second guy kept behaving in a very inappropriate manner.
I have a very long and patient fuse that burns over time but we all have a snapping point. Finally in my own very firm manner I let him know that I was done attempting to redirect him and put him in his place.
Avoidance: Just leaving and ending our night. We would be displaced and he would see no harm in his behavior.
Addressing the situation: We may or may not be ending the evening, and he learned first-hand that his actions were unacceptable… possibly thinking before he did it again.
Who doesn’t have an animal who gets very curious about what is on their plate as you are sitting on the sofa eating? I have seen people literally scoot down a sofa, as an example, or continue to turn their plate away from an animal to keep them from sniffing on it all while the animal encroaches further. My preference is to tell them no and push them off the sofa. It is very rare that I have one of my pets sniff up my food.
Avoidance: Saying nothing or moving the food from your pet. They continue to encroach and never learn that their behavior is not acceptable.
Addressing the situation: You get to eat in peace, mostly because they have learned that they are not going to get any of your food.
I was talking with a friend who told me that she usually doesn’t make additional evening plans when she knows she’s meeting a certain few people in the early afternoon for what should be a several hour get-together. Since the friends she would be meeting earlier are usually considerably late she can’t guarantee that her later plans will come to fruition as result.
Avoidance: Not making plans for anything afterward, and/or wasting the earlier part of your day waiting for them to show up. You plan your day around the other person, showing them (and you) that their time is more valuable than yours, and that you had nothing to do anyway so tardiness is of no concern.
Addressing the situation: With this method you continue to have a fulfilled day by doing all of the things you intended, and the other party learns that there is consequence for lack of time management and that it is disrespectful. When the friend wonders why you are leaving after only an hour, remind him or her that you had 3 hours allocated, it was the other person who carved it down to an hour with tardiness.
Yes, we all have to pick our battles and some things are just not that important to hold your ground on. Passive behavior is common and often considered not rude. Most people don’t want to rock the boat and be perceived negatively, or be the target of rudeness by a person who cannot handle being called out on about their behavior. When that happens it is not because you spoke up, it is because many people are incapable of seeing themselves as imperfect. How else do people learn what is OK and what is not if nothing is ever said?
At the end of the day it is about communicating your thoughts and feelings so others can be attuned to you. Not doing harm, and not taking shit are similar and different, and can certainly work in unison. The first half respects others, the latter half respects self.