Amy Rees Anderson

Set Boundaries: You can’t respect yourself if you don’t know or stand for what is good for you

Setting boundaries is an important skill to learn in life. Boundaries are all about respect. The best way to think about boundaries is to use the example of having a fence that goes around your yard. There is a gate to the fence and you decide who gets to enter your gate to come into your yard and who doesn’t. It’s your yard so you have every right to decide who gets to come in it and who doesn’t and you don’t have to justify that decision to anyone else. You have the right to protect your own yard.

Some people in life are just plain toxic. They are like dealing with an oncoming tornado – rather than standing in place to face them you are much better off retreating to safety.  It is typical of a toxic person to try and make people believe you are over-reacting when you retreat in attempt to manipulate or coerce the situation. Don’t let them get to you.

“You don’t ever have to feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life. It doesn’t matter whether someone is a relative, romantic interest, employer, childhood friend, or a new acquaintance – You don’t have to make room for people who cause you pain or make you feel small.”  -Danielle Koepke

You have every right to set your boundaries and hold others to them. If retreating is the right thing to do then retreat. There is no requirement for you to make room in your life for toxic people, and frankly, you shouldn’t. If someone doesn’t like the boundaries you set or they get angry about them – that is there problem, not yours.

“The first thing you need to learn is that the person who is angry at you for setting boundaries is the one with the problem…Maintaining your boundaries is good for other people; it will help them learn what their families of origin did not teach them: to respect other people.”

“Do not let anger be a cue for you to do something. People without boundaries respond automatically to the anger of others. They rescue, seek approval, or get angry themselves. There is great power in inactivity. Do not let an out-of-control person be the cue for you to change your course. Just allow him to be angry and decide for yourself what you need to do.” –Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend

Great advice from the professionals! Set your boundaries. Stand your ground. Don’t respond or react to bullies. Just ignore them completely. Like the Dr’s said, “There is great power in inactivity.” Then if, after a period of time of ignoring them they continue to disrespect your boundaries, seek the help of law enforcement or a lawyer…after all, that is exactly what restraining orders are for – to force someone to respect your boundaries. And never feel guilty about seeking help to implement consequences for someone who disrespects your boundaries…after all you didn’t make the other person disrespect your boundaries…that is something they chose to do all on their own so they deserve to face the consequences that come with their choice.

“The more you set healthy boundaries with others and with yourself, the higher your self-esteem will be. You can’t respect yourself if you don’t know or stand for what is good for you.”

You don’t have to explain or justify your boundaries. After all…Your yard. Your rules.

~Amy

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