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, you 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.
In case you missed my post on June 30th, I am using this 31 day challenge to hold myself accountable for walking my talk. Several years ago, I was able to take off 135 pounds and essentially save my own life. I have regained much of that weight so I am working my way back down.
If you choose to join me on this journey, I hope I am able to impart some nutritional and lifestyle wisdom. Even though I may have gone off the rails temporarily I can still share some of my first hand experience as well as my acquired knowledge and training to help you make the right changes for your best life.
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.