When it comes to improving how we feel and are treated, we tend to prioritise getting others to feel about and treat us in that way before we will do it for ourselves. We’re convinced that we’ll be motivated to feel about and treat us in this way when these external sources have given us what we want and essentially fixed what’s going on internally. Think, some person that we’ve dignified as an expert and validation source, or even a collective of several ‘VIPs’. While this shortcut appears to be ‘easier’, it’s not. And if you want to feel and experience love, care, trust, and respect, you must learn to do these things for yourself first or certainly at the same time as you’re giving these to others.
It is the simple matter of acting and treating ourselves in the way that we want others to.
The question you need to answer is: Why aren’t you treating and regarding yourself in the way that you want others to? Shouldn’t you be leading by example of the boundaries created by your relationship with you?
When you treat yourself with love, care, trust, and respect, there’s little, if any, incentive to hang around somebody who treats you less than what you already do.
Withholding and in fact starving you of these things means that anyone can come along with crumbs. You’ll dive on them and feel excited by the feast. But by overvaluing them in the first place, they come out of the exaggeration oven as a loaf. Then one day you realise that they’re just crumbs and that collectively they don’t make a loaf; they just make a pile of crumbs.
I’ve come to understand that anything that you expect of others in your interpersonal relationships are things that you must expect and deliver yourself. Anything less is inauthentic and while we can insist that we are these things, it’s our actions that tell the true story.
Why do we expect others to value us when we don’t value ourselves? It’s like asking someone to validate and attribute more value to something that we’ve already determined the lesser value of.
If you’re doing this, you need to realise that you are engaging in a misappropriation of your efforts. It’s not them that needs to realise your value; it’s you that needs to change your mind. You cannot expect someone to treat you with love, care, trust, and respect if, in the process of trying to gain this from them, you are actually denying yourself these things. Lead by example.
I still have the same family, pretty much all of the same friends, and I still am living in the same skin with the same mind in there, but how I’ve learned to feel about and treat myself has changed.
When you recognise that the people who detract from you are those who reflect your fears and beliefs, you realise that if you address these fears and beliefs, who you’re attracted to and attracting will reflect your ‘updated’ self.
You cannot expect someone else to live truthfully, or to be direct with you, or to take an interest in your wellbeing, or to respect your boundaries and know what you want, when you don’t live truthfully, are unwilling to assert yourself and be direct with them, are not taking an interest in your own wellbeing and taking care of you, and are busting your own boundaries and behaving like you have no clue what you want because you keep riding on the coattails of someone else’s agenda.
Deciding to take the focus off ‘them’ and bring it back to you is the equivalent of deciding to stop spending all of your money and spare time on partying and putting it into things and experiences that will better you. Only you take everything you’d normally over-give in the pursuit of ‘love’ to others and give it to yourself. The next time you invest in someone else, you will choose better because otherwise, you’ll be robbing yourself.
People say to me “But how?” The question we have to ask ourselves, especially when we’ve declared how much we’ve loved someone, have been guilty of over-giving, over-empathising, and even Florence Nightingaling, is why do we suddenly no longer possess the behaviours and mentality to do these things when that energy is directed at ourselves?
I’ve liked and admired people in the past for stuff that in retrospect seems pretty damn ridiculous, and yet I used to find it hard to like me.
How can we call ourselves loving, generous, compassionate, empathetic, the best that someone could ever meet and yet barely direct crumbs of this stuff to ourselves?
Anything that you expect of others is things that you should expect of yourself. It is the disconnect between what you do for others and what you don’t do for yourself that not only creates a mismatch in actions and lack of authenticity, but it’s how you end up mistreating you. This is all while feeling confused about how this happened when for all intents and purposes you appear to be doing ‘all the right things’, except valuing you.
A friend of mine and BR reader is going through chemotherapy at the moment. She had a huge row with her mother who keeps going on about how she needs to take care of herself, do this, do that, while at the same time sometimes saying things that are incredibly hurtful. “What is the point in telling me to be careful about where I go, eating only organic food, and taking care of my body if you’re going to say this stuff to me?”
If you’re not treating yourself as you expect others to treat you, it’s time to ask why you will go to such lengths to seek external validation, to invest in your appearance, or to clock up achievements, material goods, and add-ons to your life, if what you churn around in your mind are repeated self-criticism and other pollution?
The wonderful thing of course, is that when you start treating you like the worthwhile and valuable person that you are, you won’t let anyone come along and steal your wind. You’ll recognise that there’s no point sticking around somebody that detracts from you when you already bring so much to your own table.