Taken out of context the title of this post could 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 them practices self respect, and the other person will hopefully learn from those boundaries and your self respect.
To illustrate my point I will use some simple personal life examples.
Several 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.
Now I have a very long and patient fuse that burns over time. But we all have a snapping point and finally in my own very firm manner 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 problem: 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 your plate as you are both sitting on the sofa? 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 problem: You get to eat in peace, mostly, because they have learned that they are not allowed to encroach on your food.
The Always Tardy Friend
Yesterday I was talking with a friend who told me that she usually doesn’t make plans for later when she know she’s meeting a certain few people because they are usually late and she can’t guarantee that her later plans will come to fruition as result.
Avoidance: Not making plans for anything afterward, and/or waiting around for them to show up so you can meet etc. 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 problem: With this method you continue to have a fulfilled day by going about your life, and the other party learns that there is consequence for lack of time management. When the friend wonders why you are leaving after only an hour, remind him that you had 3 hours allocated, it was he who made it an hour.
So not doing harm, and not taking shit are similar and different. The first half respects others, the latter half respects self.