Coexistence 101: Respecting Others

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Success 104: How To Persevere

Success can’t go very far without social skills

We need other people, and other people need us

The most independent and autonomous people still depend on the rest of the world

  • If you own anything made in a factory
  • If you ever learned anything from anyone else
  • If you ever thought of anything inspired by someone else’s work

You can only achieve when others encourage and inspire you

  • You need opinions from a wide range of people to round out your view of the world
  • You can only test the truth of your views through hearing opposing perspectives

Developing anything beyond yourself requires involving other people

  • Your overall success is determined heavily by how well you get along with co-workers, family, acquaintances, and strangers
  • Your message will be consistently invalidated by others misunderstanding you without proper communication skills

Effective communication is the most influential force on earth

Every impactful speech uses emotions to convey its point effectively, from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Adolf Hitler

Communication skills are more critical for success than intelligence, talent or attractiveness

Good ideas come most frequently during great conversations, but no conversation skills can make utterly amazing ideas unappealing

Some people treat socializing as one singular skill

Each situation has a unique array of necessary skills

  • Initiating conversations
  • Making small talk
  • Making jokes and being witty
  • The proper context to say and do certain things (tact and etiquette)
  • Sympathizing and empathizing with others
  • The ability to maintain friendships
  • Knowing appropriate times to stay silent
  • Ability to detect lies
  • Ability to confront others about genuine feelings
  • Ability to capture others’ attention and keep it
  • Ability to avoid or defuse conflicts
  • Capacity for language and the ability to write
  • Public speaking
  • Special situations like a business environment, leadership roles, and formal events
  • Managing awkward circumstances
  • Not taking what others say personally or reacting on appearances
  • Empathizing with others’ feelings

The most important social skill, however, is setting boundaries

Boundaries are emotional and physical spaces between you and others

Boundaries are necessary for  you and them

Boundaries aren’t selfish or disobedient

Boundaries are the only way to protect everyone from harm

Proper boundaries are reasonable and move as the situation changes

Every conflict or social issue comes from improper boundaries

Proper boundaries prevent codependency, inappropriate guilt, and shame

Boundaries protect relationships and everyone involved in them

  • Clarify where you begin and the other person ends, and vice versa
  • Establishing where someone can’t cross from a perceived negative impact
  • Protection from over-dependence or over-involvement
  • Protection from violation from abuse

Creating limits others honor for well-being gives everyone more freedom

Everyone is free to think and feel anything

Everyone can freely act without judgment or condemnation

Everyone can be genuine to themselves without peer pressure

Well-established boundaries allow interdependence

Interdependence is a state of mutual independence

Clarifying boundaries and specificity gives freedom for creativity and originality, even if it sounds counterintuitive

Boundaries fail in four ways

Compliant – Can’t say “NO”

  • Unable to set boundaries out of feeling guilty or controlled

Nonresponsive – Can’t say “YES”

  • Sets boundaries which inhibit loving or connecting with others

Controller – Can’t hear “NO”

  • Violates others’ boundaries through aggression or manipulation

Avoidant – Can’t hear “YES”

  • Sets boundaries that prevent receiving love or allowing others to connect

Consistently crossing boundaries damages people

People develop dysfunctional identities without appropriate boundaries

Loss of personal identity

Over-conformity to the point of never experiencing genuine feelings or thoughts

Distanced autonomy which alienates others

A tendency to inappropriately trust others’ promises

Inability to understand human behavior

No privacy

  • Nothing appears private exclusively to oneself
  • Feeling that nothing thought, felt or done is personal business
  • Expecting to report to others every detail and element of feelings, reactions, opinions, relationships, and outside activities


  • Withdrawn or over-controlling behavior that conceals feelings from others and self
  • Purpose of being unseen or unheard to prevent any further boundary violations


  • “Blanking out” during stressful events
  • Feeling violated physically or emotionally
  • Self-talk to a variation of “it’s no use”
  • Selective amnesia and detached feelings about the past

We often overcompensate with countermeasures on others who violate our boundaries

Cold and distant

  • Establishing strong walls to ensure nobody can invade or push into our personal space
  • Drawing an unenforceable line

Excessive detachment

  • Treats everyone as entirely independent of everyone else
  • Unable to bring anyone together over a common purpose, goal, identity or rationale
  • Feelings aren’t shared among a group with an apparent lack of desire for anyone to come together

Chip on the shoulder

  • Anger that bleeds over from past boundary violations
  • Feeling validated to ignore others’ rights
  • Seems to “dare” others to be close to them or violate their boundaries

Aloofness or shyness

  • Insecure from past feelings of being ignored, invalidated or rejected
  • Including others in personal space feels like a violation of boundaries
  • A defensive attitude that rejects others before others can reject them first
  • Any small slight becomes grounds for permanent rejection

Victimhood or martyrdom

  • Sees oneself as a violated victim and justified in becoming hyper-defensive to fight off any further violation
  • Persists in being a victim of others and then seeks to be a martyr from it

Strange relationships form when several people with poor boundaries coexist


  • Overly involved in another’s needs and interests
  • Crosses boundaries where others feel strangled, smothered or a type of prisoner
  • Makes others feel violated, used, and overwhelmed


  • Doing everything together and nobody is permitted to deviate from group norms
  • Everyone is required to feel, act, and think the same way
  • Creativity is shunned or shamed

If you know how to set boundaries, everyone benefits

Proper boundaries come from the right attitude

Everyone is exclusively responsible for feelings and thoughts

Everyone should receive all the consequences for actions

It’s never an accurate measurement of success to compare accomplishments and status to others

Everyone should be respected to make their own decisions

  • Motives should be from freedom, not constraints

Everyone always has specific power over their failings

  1. To confess their inability, failings, and wrongdoing
  2. To submit their failures to God
  3. To turn from their bad behaviors
  4. To ask others for help
  5. To make amends to others

Everyone should consistently evaluate their responsibility for others and the effects of boundaries

Everyone should proactively communicate with everyone else, but reacting is never appropriate

  • Proactivity comes from working through reactive feelings

Boundaries must be visible to others and communicated through a dynamic relationship

Appropriate boundaries allow you to adopt worthwhile habits and behaviors

Accepting personal responsibility and developing self-control

Tempering survivalist thinking

Taking risks and overcoming fears

Handling insecurity and fear of rejection

Appropriately expressing vulnerability and building trust

Creating a healing environment and establishing intimacy

Eliminating manipulation, the abuse of power, and the obsession with control

Getting rid of over-dependency and the role of victim or martyr

Improving assertive behavior and removing passive-aggressiveness

Setting relationship goals with others

Handling conflict and confrontation

Forgiving and forgetting

Removing guilt and shame

How to establish healthy boundaries

  1. Identify symptoms of past or present violated and ignored boundaries
  • Identify which of the symptoms are current or past-tense
  • Write down details in a journal about the triggers for the behaviors
  • Give details about how those symptoms affect the present
  • Describe how you feel about the symptom’s effect on your life
  1. Understand what caused the boundary violations
  • Track any irrational or unhealthy thoughts leading to the boundary violation
  • Trace which beliefs drive those thoughts
  1. Replace the unhealthy thoughts with better ones
  • Find new and more reasonable thinking, affirmations and beliefs
  • The new thoughts should encourage changing behaviors in yourself that build healthy boundaries with others

In the long-term, appropriate boundary-setting transitions through stages

  1. Resentment, frustration or anger at the various recurring violations in your life

  2. Finding role models for new life behaviors you want to model

  3. Socializing with others who also love proper boundaries

  4. Learning to love yourself and to be grateful for blessings

  5. Learning to say “no” in small ways in a loving environment

  6. Developing happy feelings through bypassing former “guilty” feelings

  7. Saying “no” on a larger scale against difficult people or a legitimate risk

  8. Realigning your conscience to the new standard

  9. Respecting others’ views and boundaries as much as self-established boundaries

  10. Instinctively saying “no” when unsure and “yes” when it’s called for

  11. Exercising boundaries in a healthy environment, where goals become the driving force over feelings

Boundaries create the framework for all conversations with others

Next: Coexistence 102: Making Conversations