When you go to someone’s house for the first time, you can learn a lot about what their expectations are by observing them in action. Do they wear shoes inside? If not, you know to take off your shoes at the door before going into the house. Do they put coasters down for their drinks or are they ok with a little moisture on their tabletop?
In the same way, though we may not realize it, we teach others how to treat us by the way that we treat ourselves. If we set the bar high in our relationship with ourselves by loving and taking good care of ourselves, other people will implicitly learn from us that we are worthy of love and nurture. If we treat ourselves with reverence and respect, people in our lives will get the message and will be more likely to treat us accordingly. A simple example of this is how me manage our time. If we are punctual and always careful about how we spend our time, others will learn not to waste it… Or else!
When it comes to relationships, whether personal, business or intimate, we have a major part to play in letting others know what is cool and what is not. So it’s important for us to establish for ourselves the kind of relationships we want to have, to act accordingly and lead by example.
We can’t control what anyone else does or says but we can decide what is acceptable to us. If we allow a certain pattern of behavior to go on unchecked, we are basically implicitly communicating that it’s ok. There’s a fine line between being generous and allowing people to take advantage of us, between being forgiving and putting up with abuse, between kindness and weakness. It’s up to us to establish that line and set our boundaries.
Another important aspect of this is how we treat others. It goes without saying that we should treat others the way we want to be treated. But just because we treat someone a certain way, that doesn’t ensure they are going to reciprocate. This is where it’s important for us to know for ourselves what kind of person we want to be regardless of what anyone else does. Establishing this, as well as what we want out of a given relationship gives us a good reference point and a measure by which we can decide whether or not we’re fulfilled with the status quo. Ask yourself: Is this relationship bringing the best out of me? Is it providing me with what I want or need? If not, you can choose to speak up in hopes of effecting a change, walk away or consider compromising and accepting things as they are.
Ultimately, it’s up to us to decide what stays and what goes. It’s up to us to love ourselves enough to make sure we get what we deserve in our relationships. It’s up to us to know what we want out of life and go after it.
So know your own your worth, set the bar high and don’t settle for anything less!
Written for The Daily Love (Nov. 13th, 2011)