I love that people come into my life committed to their healing process, open, ready and willing to “go there” for the benefits of what life will be like on the other side of their suffering, whatever form it may take. On Friday night, after an interesting day (you know, like it was neither ordinary nor amazing, but required all of you to make it through) I posted a picture that said, “Don’t let anyone get comfortable disrespecting you.” For a number of reasons those words resonated with me. I immediately thought, “I know that’s right!” and “Damn straight!” I’d just finished pouring out on the phone to one of my dear confidantes all of the details about how someone got very close to the ledge and almost disrespected me earlier that day, and Fuck that. I ain’t here for it. After saying everything that was on my mind about it, I hung up the phone with lingering thoughts about what that experience did to our relationship (the one with me and the near-disrespector.) Hence, seeing the words “Don’t let anyone get comfortable disrespecting you” was like a cosign from the universe that I was on the right track in my beliefs about how and why I no longer tolerate disrespect, from anyone. After I posted the picture on my IG and FB pages I saw several likes and thumbs up. Then I noticed a comment from a courageous woman.
I’ve never known how to handle this. People see my weak side. I say I’m sorry when it’s their fault afraid they are mad at me when they did me wrong. Help me stop this behavior. I never known how to deal with this. Tell me please!!!
Wow! Never mind what anyone thinks about her vulnerability, she went there, and I love it! Here’s what I wrote back:
What you’re sharing here is insight, the first step to changed behavior. Now you have to move into action. That includes making the decision that you will stop apologizing for someone else’s behavior. You will stop being afraid of people being mad at you or leaving you. You will choose to see your strength, beauty, value and worth so much so that you would not disrespect or devalue yourself anymore. That’s the work that you have to undertake either by yourself, thru therapy or thru a support group until it becomes your natural way of being. Remember you set the example and the limits of how people can treat you. Helpful?
She replied that it was (helpful) and said thank you. I realize that what I shared in response is easier said than done. I also realize that she had the courage to ask the question as well as to be open to receiving a response, in a public forum. Go girl! Perhaps she’ll take yet another step in the direction of healing from this behavior and its negative consequences. People pleasing and undervaluing oneself, can take so many forms. Even the subtle ways have to be addressed.
You teach people how to treat you both by how you treat you and how you let others treat you. If you respect yourself, if you value yourself, if you realize how wonderful, amazing, lovable and special you are, it will show. Anyone paying attention will see clear as day that you are full on in love with yourself and wouldn’t settle for anyone treating you in any way other than with love and respect. If for whatever reasons they are disrespectful, hurtful, deceitful, dishonest, mean, unfair, etc., that’s on them. And surely you’ve gotta love yourself enough to have zero tolerance for that kinda bullshit.
Ironically, when I watch scenarios on TV (news or reality TV) and in real life when people are demanding respect or giving someone a hard time for how they’ve treated them, I always wonder why they don’t just bounce. Deny the other person the pleasure of having access to disrespect you. I had a long-term friend who once got disrespectful in how she was speaking with me. She had all kinds of bass in her voice and said some rude things to me. As this was the very first time in the more than 20 years that I’d known her that she’d ever done anything like this, I was more shocked than anything else. At some point I interjected to slowly and clearly express to her that I didn’t like her tone or how she was speaking with me. I also suggested that perhaps she wasn’t hearing herself or realizing what she was doing. Since it was about 3pm and she hadn’t been drinking nor on any meds, I knew she was in her right mind but gave her the warning that she’d crossed a line. Since she simply continued in the same vein I politely let her know that I was done with the conversation. We’ve never spoken again. Cuz… I will not allow myself to be subjected to disrespect. There was no argument. There was no yelling on my part. I didn’t bother to slap her or use my words to hurt her. I just exited, stage left. She doesn’t deserve access to the kind, loving, loyal and supportive person that I am, and I don’t deserve to be treated like shit.
However, a younger, less wise version of me certainly did have a tolerance for being undervalued and unvalued. Looking back it’s kinda crazy. But at the time, I didn’t see how much of a role I was playing in the scenarios that I endured in my relationships and in my career. A lot of what was happening had to do with a distorted understanding of loyalty. To be loyal used to mean that I would endure anything because I gave my word, I was committed to the relationship, we were friends, I loved them, I was a good/hard worker, loyal to the company, I thought it was the “right thing to do”…. blah, blah and blah. Fortunately, I’ve worked my way through getting a much better perspective on who I am, what I deserve, relationships, love and life. I can serve humanity without being a servant or a slave. And… in all things at all times, there will be no disrespect.
Please share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear from you if this message resonates with you and especially if you have any questions.
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Shawna Marie is the CEO of Healing Truth Center, a resource for inspiration and evolutionary spiritual education. A dynamic motivational speaker and workshop facilitator, Shawna Marie passionately speaks about living in spiritual perspective, cultivating healthy loving relationships and achieving financial freedom. She’s a psychotherapist, life coach as well as the author of Prosperity NOW! and Only God.