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  • Writer's pictureMaegan Kenney

Pick up the poo-poo

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

Ever feel like everywhere you turn, people are disrespecting you? It can be something major like a boss asking you to work after hours or on your day off, or something simpler like a neighbor who doesn't pick up after their dog who just pooped on your lawn. If this sounds like you, keep reading...


People who are "empaths" and/or struggle with setting boundaries often find themselves in these predicaments. They have a high expectation of others and assume people know how to treat them. And this couldn't be farther from the truth.


When we choose to "people please" and avoid conflict, we are unconsciously communicating to the Other that we will tolerate being treated in any way the Other wishes to treat us. What we are saying to the Other is that their needs are more important than ours. We are telling them that we will prioritize their emotional wellbeing by not making them uncomfortable with our assertiveness and decision to stand up for ourselves and will instead choose to remain silent instead. As a result, we get taken advantage of.


When our boss demands an inappropriate ask of us and we say "yes" instead of "no" or when our neighbor's dog poops on our lawn without picking it up and we avoid asking her to tend fo her own shit, what we are really saying is that it's okay for you treat us however you wish. We assume they should know better which is mistake number one.


The truth is that people only treat us how we allow them to. We must teach people how to treat us instead. Otherwise, we will stuff our frustration, remain avoidant, grow to be resentful, and end up either exploding at the Other or making ourselves sick through our silence. Either way, no one wins.


Instead, we can choose to assert ourselves, communicate our boundaries, and command respect without demanding it.


We've heard it a million times...we get what we give. If we give passivity, we receive disrespect. It's a reflection of how much we value ourselves and experience our self-worth. If we see our value as equal to the Other, we don't have trouble setting boundaries. After all, boundaries are for us, not for others.


So the next time someone takes it too far, think about how you want to respond. Avoidance says "yes," and no says "no." Trust that your "no" has the power to teach and heal not just you but those around you. And remember, when you set an instant boundary, you don't have to worry about the anger swooping in later like a tidal wave. Now, it's not personal. It just is.


If we want others to pick up their poo poo, we must model that and pick up our own as well.


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