The type of treatment we receive from others is a strong indicator of what we agree to accept. When we allow people to mistreat us, disrespect us, or disregard our feelings, we are actually making this behavior and treatment acceptable, approving it. If we want to receive more respect from others, and experience more self-respect for ourselves, we have to demand it from those around us. And we also have to command the respect we desire by loving and taking care of ourselves.
We often complain about how someone is treating us. Maybe they do not care about our goals, or they do not have the same values we do, and this comes out in their actions toward us. Or maybe they are outright disrespectful, doing things that hurt our feelings, or saying things that attack our self-esteem.
Poor treatment from others is not just present in intimate relationships, as it can occur in professional and other personal relationships too. Our bosses at work might be rapidly tossing around projects and talking to us like we are children, or our friends may be dismissive when we are talking to them or take our confident information and share it with others.
There are many examples we all could share about the ways that people irritate and anger us by how they continue to treat us. Read this sentence once more time: people irritate and anger us with the way they continue to treat us.
People cannot continue to do something without approval. Even though we may think that we are voicing our concern and making an impact on them by telling them how to treat us, sometimes this just doesn’t work. It’s like they cannot hear us, or they are just ignoring us. Either way, our current strategy is not working, so we need to change our response to their poor regard for us.
Here’s how to stop giving your seal of approval to those who provide poor treatment:
- After you have said it, stop talking about it. How many times have you expressed your concerns? How many times have you had the conversation about the way they treat you? If you have stated your concern more than twice, STOP. We are dealing with adults here, either they get the message and they are working to improve or they are ignoring the message and they are content with the way the treat you. Don’t be a broken record.
- Demonstrate self-respect and self-priority. Model the respect you desire to receive from others. Are you taking care of yourself? Are you making and reaching your life goals? Keep up with your life. Get up everyday, get dressed, and be your best, regardless of your circumstances. You cannot expect people to respect you and treat you well if you do not first demonstrate it yourself. And make yourself a priority. Do not become a martyr that sacrifices everything for everyone else and then complains about it. If you do something for someone, do it because you care, not to receive something in return.
- DO NOT back down. It is easy to retreat from our position when we see no change. So we start thinking, “Oh, it’s not that bad”; “They don’t know any better”; “I can’t change anyone anyway.” While some of these statements may be true, it doesn’t mean that you deserve to be mistreated. If you back down you are approving what you receive. We have to stand firm in our requests for positive action, respect, and compassion from others.
- DO NOT provide ultimatums. Ultimatums do not work unless it’s an overdue bill and the lights may be shut off for non-payment. Think about it, how often do you respond positively to a “do this, or this will happen” statement/order. You do not respond well, and it’s insulting because you are an adult who is capable of making decisions without force. The same goes for everyone around us. Do not give ultimatums about change, you be the change.
- DO NOT gossip about it. Rehearsing our verbal recital is useless and stirs up drama because then we have outside opinions swirling around in our minds. Say what you need to say to the person who is providing poor treatment. Gossiping is not going to solve anything, and it involves people who are not YOU, and they are not as invested in your assessment of good or bad treatment from others because they can only assess their own. So, STOP spreading your personal business around and deal with it like an adult. Besides, nobody wants to learn that their personal story has now been turned into the latest gossip.
- Walk away if necessary. Of course this is the last resort. You have tried everything and expressed your concerns. You have been patient while they said they would change. Ok, now you may need to walk away for a while, or permanently. This is not a public event like a parade or movie premiere either, just calmly and quietly walk away. Demonstrate the self-respect you desire by acting as mature as you can even though you are burning up inside. Remember that we cannot change people, they have to change themselves. We can try to influence them and express our concerns, but we do not have magic wands to make someone who we want them to be.
Stop giving your seal of approval for behaviors you do not respect. Take control over this aspect of your life and watch how your self-esteem and self-respect increase. While this is not always an easy task, if you ignore the mistreatment you receive from others, it will turn into animosity and regret later in your life. Change your seal of approval to only include quality care and treatment from others.
Time may be on our side for some aspects of our life, but it is not on our side for receiving disrespect. Make this clear, and stand firm.
We cannot change people. They have to change themselves.