Respect and Boundaries

Aug 05, 2020

We talked all about protecting your space, and we’ve talked about releasing your burdens, but what about respect? I had a teacher in high school who was deeply respected. Although he was a great teacher, his respect came from the expectation he set in his classroom, not because our 16, 17, and 18-year-old selves noticed how great he was. You always referred to him as Mr. Dare, never just coach or by his last name. You were never late for his class. You didn’t break his rules. He expected excellence from you, no matter your reputation. And so he got it.  

You can do the same in your life. We often allow the disrespect that comes our way. Maybe not the first offense, but from the ones that continue to treat us poorly. Most behavior is learned behavior, right? So, if my child colors on the walls and there is no punishment, she doesn’t learn to take responsibility for her actions and will most likely color on the walls again. She will continue to disrespect the space. The same goes for how people treat you. Let’s say you make plans to meet a friend for coffee at 10 AM. Your friend shows up at 10:30 with no warning or notice that she’d be late. Yes, we offer grace, because no one is perfect, but she is showing you that she doesn’t respect your time. You don’t show up a half-hour late to your doctor’s appointments, your job, or dropping your kids off at school because you respect their time too.  

You don’t walk into someone’s home unannounced because you respect their space. You don’t take someone’s patio furniture out of their yard because you respect their property. You see, we have an established system of respect and boundaries in our society. Yet, so many of us, don’t require the same for our time and energy.  

When you begin to set boundaries and change the way people interact with you, it will feel awkward. It will upset them. It will be hard. But it is a change that must happen. For instance, if you’d planned on that coffee date being 30 minutes, and she shows up late, you offer her grace and love, and then you leave as planned to continue on with your day. If someone acts as if their needs are your priority, you stop and remind them that “actually I have other plans today, but I do have free time tomorrow to help you out.” Someone else’s lack of planning is not your emergency.  

When someone disrespects you by what they say, how they act, or how you are treated, those are your opportunities to recreate your boundaries and let them know what you expect from their presence in your life. First, you have to recognize what respect looks like to you? What are you comfortable with and not comfortable with? Where is that line? When you are able to establish that, then you can start asking for that respect from others. Statements such as, “I’m with my family now, I don’t work after hours. I will get back to you during regular business hours tomorrow.” Or “I would love to help you, but I have a previous engagement today, how does tomorrow work?” You are not rude, but you do remind people that you have a life outside of them and that you value that time and space. You’re not asking for anything other than your time, space, and energy to be respected. Are you ready to demand more from the people in your life?  


May nothing less than love, light, and respect come your way!  


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