I teach people how to treat me by what I will allow.
– Stephen Covey
It’s so easy to blame others when things aren’t going well. Let’s face it – it’s basic human nature and generally there is truth in what we are complaining about which legitimises our right to complain even more!
“My boss doesn’t like me so I’m always getting the extra dog-jobs.”
“I’m always picking up the slack for my co-workers.”
“My family don’t seem to SEE the mess around the house, let alone do anything about it. It’s always left to me to clean up each day!”
“I’m always the person who organises catch ups with the girls – if I don’t, nothing ever happens.”
These are common examples and I’m sure that you could think of a dozen more in your own life. The problem however is that no matter how “right” we are – there is little we can generally do in the moment other than check our own responses. Arguing with the boss about a job you have been delegated at the time it is meant to be executed is not going to earn you any brownie points fast. Likewise, moaning about being the the only person who truly cares in your circle of friends will probably earn you the martyr tag.
No-one wants to be tagged a moaner, however nor does anyone want to be a push-over who is at the beck and call of everybody else while being eaten up inside with resentment.
I know that I certainly don’t want to live like that and I can imagine that you feel likewise!
So what to do? How can we live a life where we don’t feel resentful, taken advantage of and walked over?
I believe that there is a huge key in Stephen Covey’s quote “I teach people how to treat me by what I will allow.” When we begin to change what we have allowed in our lives and reteach the people around us, we in turn will be treated differently and able to live with a spirit free of resentment – doesn’t that sound wonderful?
Here are 3 of my own quick tips in how to teach others to treat you:
1) Let your yes be yes and your no be no! If you aren’t clear with your answers, of course people will expect more of you than you intended to give! I learned this one as a young bride trying to communicate with my Italian mother in law many (MANY!) years ago. When she would ask if my husband and I were able to visit on a certain date and I knew that we already had plans, I’d say “I’ll see what I can do” instead of a clear and decisive “no” as I was worried about offending her. Unfortunately she would take THAT answer as a clear and decisive “yes” and there would be much resentment on her side when my husband and I didn’t visit! A clear NO might of upset her in the moment but would have eliminated ongoing confusion and resentment.
2) Set your time boundaries, make them known and stick to them! I’m still not always the best at this one, but I have improved so much on how I used to be! I rarely answer emails or messages of an evening after 6 pm these days -something learned the hard way as it is easy to blur boundaries when you work from home much of the time. Likewise I am more protective of my time on weekends with family playing a high priority. Even on workdays, it is too easy to find that hours have passed where there has been little achieved other than involvement in numerous message threads if I am not careful! Of course there will sometimes need to be flexibility with these time boundaries, however the more you implement to them, the more you will be teaching people what you value.
3) Don’t follow the sheep! If you know that your values don’t align with a person or corporation pushing you to do things their way, and you are too scared of drawing a line because so many others are happy to go along with them – it is time to grow a backbone girl! When did we get so timid about not wanting to rock the boat? When did we decide that we were going to settle for an internal dialogue of resentment and bitterness because we decided to “go with the flow” – even when we know deep down that it is not the right flow for us? I talk about this more specifically in my keynote “Are you living your life in 3D?” where well meaning people can become the “Voices of Distraction,” in your life, leading you into fulfilling their agenda for your life instead of you following your own.
There are so many more tips that I could add, but these three give some solid starting points to implement and will work best with a humble attitude of personal responsibility that acknowledges your part in enabling the situation to occur in the first place.
Please let me know if they hep you make changes for the better in your life and in how people treat you!
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