Someone far wiser than I once said that we teach people how to treat us. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. That last part was a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. So how are you teaching people to treat you?
Do you set healthy boundaries and show people you respect yourself through self-care and self advocacy? Do you draw the line when someone starts treating you with disrespect? Are you showing people you know your value by taking care of yourself?
I have seen it happen so often in the corporate environment where people, especially women, are so afraid of being sidelined that they neglect themselves and their health in the interest of keeping a job. As a result, they are available anytime of the day or night, weekends, holidays, vacations, and sick time. So what message are you sending to your employer when you allow them to use you without limit? Your message to the people you work with or for is that their emergency is your priority, and everything with them becomes an emergency because they know they can get you to treat it as such. You put your personal and professional needs behind everyone else's needs. After you live in that dynamic for awhile, good luck trying to change it. It's not just your job where that happens, it happens with family and friends too.
But just because people may react badly when you try to upset the status quo, it doesn't mean you don't deserve to be treated with respect. When you try to set new boundaries that you didn't have before, other people have to change the way they interact with you. It's likely they were comfortable with the way things were and will try to resist your newfound strength. Do not let them derail you.
Having healthy boundaries helps to define you as a person. When you don't have strong boundaries, you don't know where you begin and the other person ends because you don't have a clear identity of your own. For instance, if you strongly identify as someone's wife, you feel that you cannot exist without that person so you do everything you think you should to keep your partner happy. In the process of constantly trying to be the perfect spouse, you lose who you are as a person. Being a parent is the same thing. If you only identify as someone's mom, once the kids are grown and no longer need you the way they did growing up, in your mind you may have no discernible purpose in life.
The problem with assuming these roles is that we teach the people we co-exist with that they should treat us as the one who will do everything for them. So when they are expected to stand on their own two feet, they are unprepared to do so. As a result, not only did we lose ourselves but they were also taught that they need someone to take care of them too and the dynamic continues to be perpetuated.
The bottom line is...set firm limits for yourself so that your identity remains intact and you teach other people in the meantime that they can take care of themselves if they just gave themselves a chance. Respect yourself and expect nothing less than respect from everyone you meet. You may get some pushback from people who are used to you being at their beck and call, but they can learn self reliance and to respect your limits the same way they learned that you didn't have strong boundaries. And treat yourself at least as well as you want to be treated by others...you deserve it.
An update on my journey back to wellness...I am about to go to the gym today for the 50th day in a row. I'll get on the scale tomorrow and hopefully will see a number I'm happier with. I made some modifications to my food choices this week so I'll see how that shows up on the scale. I am noticing a difference in the way I feel and it seems like the stretchy leggings I wear to the gym are getting longer on me which indicates I'm not filling them out quite as much as before. The best part of this whole journey I am on is the new set of habits I'm forming like daily exercise, intermittent fasting and a significant reduction in sugar consumption. I was not eating processed sugar prior to this undertaking but I was probably fooling myself into thinking that the honey and pure maple syrup I was using to sweeten my food was not a problem. But of course it was. So no more of those things for me. I eat some berries, an occasional banana and maybe a green apple from time to time. Most of my carbs come from vegetables and occasionally some brown or black rice and sometimes a little quinoa. I feel great, my energy is high and I'm feeling the positive changes in my body. All is well in my world.
As a health coach, I work with women who are facing serious health challenges like heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes or who have been diagnosed as having a precursor to a serious health issue such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high blood sugar. I help them make food and lifestyle changes so they can get healthy, live longer and enjoy a fuller, happier, more energetic life. If you would like to have a free consultation about the health challenges you have and the improvements you would like to see in your health, click here to schedule a no strings attached call.