From the Left



Setting Boundaries and Loving My People With the 'Let Them' Theory

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp on

Podcaster Mel Robbins has ignited the "Let Them" theory for the masses. The theory is simply this: When you feel yourself trying to control a person, outcome, situation or circumstance, stop and instead just "let them" go ahead and do whatever it is they are doing.

Does someone want to assign ill intent and misunderstand you? Let them. Your friends left you off an invite list? Let them. Is your company restructuring? Let them.

We cannot control people. We know this in our hearts. We can try to manipulate and shame people in attempts to get our way, but some things are out of our control, so just put down your passive-aggressive toolkit and just let them.

What I like about this theory is that I can marry it with Maya Angelou's and Michelle Obama's great advice. Angelou famously said, "When people show you who they are, believe them the first time."

Obama said that your behavior is how you practice who you want to be. "If you're a whiner, you're practicing being a whiner," she said. On the flip side of that, you also take the steps of practicing who you want to be. This includes how you choose to respond to others' behavior. "Life is practice," Obama said, and we have to practice who we want to be every single day.

With these bits of advice combined, we truly find our people. In the context of the let them theory, while you're practicing who you want to be, you also bear witness to other people's practice. So, instead of attempting to exert control over a situation, let people be who they choose to be. Meanwhile you can practice who you really want to be. Instead of trying to control outcomes, let them, and then set boundaries according to the behaviors you find acceptable.


Do you protect the love and peace in your household? Or do you yell and scream and call people names when you're angry? Do you confront those you love with kindness and true accountability in a way that says you care? Or do you confront people with contempt, shame and judgment? Either way, you are practicing who you want to be while also living that example for your children to observe.

No one is here to tell you which is right and which is wrong, and we are most definitely all works in progress. But I, for one, want to live in a supportive space with people who appreciate me for who I am, knowing that I live intentionally. We don't always agree, but we always respect one another. And because of that, I am free to live my most authentic life while also supporting my partner and friends' most authentic selves.

I only want my people to be themselves. I want the opportunity to know them and love them for who they really are and how they really want to experience this world we're living in together. The greatest way I can do that is to let them.


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