Your spouse does not understand you. Your kids are stubborn and disrespectful. Your co-workers, colleagues and employer raise your blood pressure. And your extended family and friends either compete with you for attention and praise or they dump all of their problems on you. Enough is enough!
Is any of this sounding like what you might be facing from day to day? As humans, our first reactions to this type of treatment tend to be just that – reactive responses. We get defensive, feel defeated and misunderstood, try to “fix” the problems with others and our relationship with them. However, I have found in my life that when I replace being reactive with setting boundaries and caring for myself, I wind up feeling at peace. I have learned to set boundaries in a loving but firm way.
Now I’m not saying others around me snap to and change into what I would like them to be as a result of this. But I am saying I genuinely leave it where it belongs: with them. Then I act accordingly. This means I may have to make decisions as to whether or not I need to keep myself emotionally safe by staying away from certain people. Or it could mean I plan how I am going to handle certain others when I am not feeling respected. Joyful Souls, maintaining your dignity is life-changing.
Next time you are feeling a relationship of yours is all one-sided and out of control, step up and take care of yourself. Kindly excuse yourself from the room or situation. Think about what you are feeling. Decide which boundaries you will set, and be prepared to follow through. This is the most important part, because if you don’t follow through on what you say you plan to do, nobody will see you as strong and loving. On the contrary, the opposite will happen and they will end up treating you with more disrespect.
So give yourself time to think it through. Take control of yourself! That’s right, take control of yourself, not them. Changing their behavior, outlook, or thought processes is their job, not yours.
Figure out what you’re feeling as a result of the exchange you have had with this person. Humiliated? Disrespected? Insulted? Anxious? Unloved? Then take care of yourself. After giving yourself some space and tuning in to your feelings, have a conversation with the person who is upsetting you. A loving, kind, but firm conversation about how you are going to handle the situation, and the steps you will take if they continue to treat you in a way that is unacceptable to you. Be direct. There is no room for misunderstanding here. Finally, do what you say you are going to do. If you can’t trust yourself to follow through, how can anyone else trust you to do so?
Notice I did not recommend that you tell them what to do or how to behave. Notice I did not tell you to expect major changes in them. Also notice I did not tell you anything will change. What I am telling you is that you will feel more at peace, in control of yourself, and healthy. You will not feel like a victim any longer because you will not be a victim. YOU will change. You will be a healthy, content adult worthy of respect, who knows how to take care of yourself. That’s JOY!!!
I welcome your thoughts and comments.