KAILAH LEE- STAFF WRITER
Ever wonder why every relation- ship you had has just gone south? Or that it has violated the dream that you had for it? Well, this time, maybe it is on you. You see, many people make the mistake of lowering their standards or expectations because they do not want to seem “too difficult,” but you are not actually asking for that much. You are just asking for appropriate respect. Trust me, in the end, being difficult is the least of your worries.
Let’s take this issue back a few steps; the core reason for your possible lack of self-respect may have begun in the home. The way your parents set or did not set boundaries profoundly affects your ability to respect and main- tain them yourself. In some families, parents teach that you have no say in advocating for healthy individualism because it is disrespectful. While this parenting method may have worked in many households, it stems from a place of mental manipulation.
A parent should respectfully keep a child in their place. However, parents should not restrict a child from commu- nicating things that make them uncom- fortable. “Talking back” to your parents is rude if you’re doing it “rudely,” but standing up for something that is just is not. Which is why “talking back” is highly misconstrued. Unfortunately, in homes–especially in black families–we learn that standing up for ourselves is harmful. But this issue goes both ways. Parents should also practice setting appropriate boundaries with their children. A lack of maintained limits in children can lead to them failing to set their own boundaries and struggling with relationships because of not prac- ticing boundary setting.
Well, you are grown now, and you must reverse this way of thinking because it trickles down into friend- ships, romantic relationships and even professional relationships. You do not want people crossing the line, but other people will not know they are crossing the line if it is not established.
There is a way to set a boundary without coming across as rude. You just need to be straightforward, but not harsh. Express the things that make
you uncomfortable in the most genuine manner and be consistent. People will try to test you and, in doing so, estab- lish their ability to infiltrate your peace. Once you fail your own test, it becomes a slippery slope of making exceptions for things you are not OK with. “I was always a ‘yes’ person, but that mess drives people crazy, I just wanted to
do what I wanted to do,” said Richelle Gregory, a working mother from Rich- mond, Virginia.
The idea of setting a boundary might seem rude, but believe me, it is not–it is actually hot! “I used to think that setting boundaries made me a crab, but girl, I’ve been manifesting real men ever since I started catering to my needs,” said Michele Parks from Chesterfield, Virginia. If you are in a relationship, giving yourself the respect to set standards attracts the right people into your life. And if you find that you are losing people you hoped would be around after a boundary building— well, you have just saved yourself some stress, trust me. Setting boundaries can also be a road sign of healthy self-es- teem. Nothing is more attractive than a person who is wholly content with themselves (within reason), “You weed out the bull when you set some rules,” said Darrell Lee from Richmond, Virginia.
Think about this: Say you have a welcome mat which reads “Welcome.” This is inviting but maybe too inviting. Anyone could just step all over it and wipe their nasty shoes all over it. How- ever, if there was a welcome mat that read, “Watch your step,” people would proceed with caution. Granted, some might step on it anyway, but that is on them.
This same rhetoric applies to life and how you get treated with respect when you stand up for yourself.
So set boundaries, voice discom- fort and value yourself enough to know you deserve respect.