Here’s how I work: I’m extremely friendly and respectful to those that obey the laws of common decency when interacting with others.
However, if someone is rude to me, I even have a one warning rule. I’ll allow a They Messed Up-pass for the first occasion of rudeness . Then, I will stand up for myself and stick to the boundaries by which I operate—rudeness won’t be tolerated, so get the picture or rue the day you didn’t.
We all experience difficult days, life events that challenge us, illnesses that make our days difficult and times of great stress that wear us down. It is often difficult at those times to get on our greatest behavior with our fellow muggles, and we are all guilty of this behaviour from time to time.
Additionally, we all have experienced levels of unkindness from others. We’ve each been on the receiving end of someone’s bad day or stressful situation. Oftentimes, the people that are the most unkind are those who need kindness the most . Unfortunately, their behavior often guarantees that they won’t get what they have .
Due to some recent negative experiences, I’ve been brooding about behavior in social situations with a specific emphasis on kindness or the shortage thereof. In each of those experiences, the responses I received weren’t appropriate given things . These unkind behaviors weren’t reactions to a discourtesy that I’d shown; actually , there was nothing in these encounters that I could really account for.
I simply was within the wrong place at the incorrect time and got on the receiving end of someone’s bad day.
With attention on kindness and mindful living, I feel that it’s important that we maintain strong personal boundaries, but that we also behave with kindness towards one another . It’s equally important to guard ourselves because it is to be kind to others when possible. It goes back to the “Do no harm, but take no shit” rule.
I fully embrace that sentiment, but it are often difficult to place into practice. Here are some ways we will embrace this as a neighborhood of our lifestyle when the TMU-pass has been used and social courtesy has not been observed:
Instead of collecting instances that have offended us, we’d like to speak up immediately and let others know that their actions aren’t acceptable. When a coworker cuts us off mid-sentence with a rude remark, rather than seething inside, we’ll calmly state that we will speak to them once we have finished our current conversation. If that doesn’t work, we will always take that person aside and remind them that while we are perfectly happy to attend to their needs, we don’t find interruptions and rude comments to be acceptable ways of getting our attention. If nothing else works we can calmly say something like “This conversation has come to an unprofessional point, let’s pick it up when you have considered your actions towards me.”
By speaking calmly, we do no harm. By speaking up about how the action made us feel, we take no shit.
Instead of responding with the same show of discourtesy, we will find ways to calmly state our boundaries. Rather than responding in anger, using abusive language or being passive aggressive, we’ll simply state what we will and can not allow. It’s as easy as calmly telling the telemarketer that we have no interest in their product, but we hope they need a pleasant day.
By stating our needs simply—without resorting to unkindness—we do no harm. By holding fast to our boundaries, we take no shit.
Once we notice a pattern of behavior that continues to violate our boundaries, we will strategize about how we might better handle this. We have the choice of responding in kindness or we will prefer to remove that relationship from our lives or limit our contact with that person. I’ve certainly had to eliminate relationships from my life when the boundary violations were just too much to still manage peacefully. These relationships were limited (or in some cases eliminated) not in an act of anger, but so as to make peace in my very own life. Not every relationship is healthy or beneficial to either party.
By separating ourselves from these sorts of relationships, we do no harm, but also take no shit at the same time.
We can say “No.” We don’t have to explain our no. We simply have to hold fast to it. Saying “No” to obligations that burden us does no harm and actually protects our own energies. Holding fast to our “No” is our way of not taking any shit. Learning the power of “No” as one of the best tools in our arsenal is a important step in protecting your own wellbeing.
This is, of course, not an entire guide, but with these few basics, we may find it easier to navigate our social interactions with less frustration. By taking these four steps, we are taking responsibility for our lives and therefore the relationships in them.
We can still practice kindness and be fully invested in our relationships. In fact, we’ll be more ready to do this stuff when our time and energy isn’t being dedicated to the anger we wont to experience once we didn’t practice good communication or enforce our own boundaries.
Instead, we will live our lives in joy with people who are willing to respect our sacred space.