Do you want people to treat you differently?
(Do you expect that from them?)
A while back, something really struck me. It was one of those moments when you think you’ve grasped something and then realize you actually haven’t. Not all the way.
People do not understand that boundaries are for THEM to enforce, not about what other people should/should not do—a big misconception.
(While I knew it, I still let the second one play a significant role in my life.)
But isn’t there a moral code that should be respected in the society, ethical standards, imparted to every human being?
Shouldn’t we expect a certain level of conduct from people we interact with, from those we have relationships with?
Yes. Of course.
There is something else.
I will not dive into the first question today because the second one has more potential for individual application – and with that, eventually, for influencing the certainty of the first one.
They make us. They can break us. And they (can) also teach us – if we are susceptible to that.
Should we expect people we interact with, people in our lives, people we live with to treat us with respect?
If this is our standard, and if we honor it ourselves.
We may (think we) want respect, but in real life, we might not do enough to receive it.
Let me explain.
We teach others how we want to be treated – by how we treat ourselves and how we let others treat us. We learned it in our childhood, and if we did not change anything since then, we keep the same standards.
Others do the same. They treat us the way they have been taught to treat others. If they don’t revise their way later or are not instructed otherwise.
If we want people around us to treat us differently, we have to do something about it. And it is here that our power lies.
How do we (re)claim it?
The first thing is being clear on our standards – knowing what we want and don’t want, what we will tolerate and what we will not.
Then we have to be honest with ourselves about the price we are willing to pay for honoring those standards.
After we are clear on what matters to us and how much it matters, it is time to take some action.
Instruct other people on how we want to be treated. Take ourselves out of the equation. Or do something else that will ensure our standards are honored.
It is what separates us from what is not us. They help us keep what we want in our field/life and what we don’t want out of our field/life. They are the means or, as my mentor put it,” making sure that the desire happens. “
A lot of times, setting boundaries seems too expensive.
(They will not like me anymore. They will be angry. I will be rejected.)
But what we fail to see is by not setting boundaries, we are already paying the price that is way higher than the one we fear – the possibility of losing others.
We are losing ourselves. Our self-respect. Self-love. Dignity.
(How much do WE like ourselves? How intense is that inner rage? How many times do WE reject ourselves?)
So to bring it back to the initial question – and to take it a step further.
If you want others to treat you differently,
show them how it is done.
If you expect them to do that,
make sure they know how.
And if you need support in doing that, let me know.