This question was posted on Facebook earlier today and got me to thinking about something I have long believed. That people will only ever treat us the way we permit.
Think about it.
The first time someone shows up late and keeps you waiting. Its annoying. Its rude. Its upsetting. So you find out why, yes? Then you make it clear that you will not accept this as a regular thing. Then, subject to circumstances beyond their control, your friend will make an effort to be on time. If it keeps happening, again you choose. To accept and learn to live with it. Or to refuse to make arrangements again. You are establishing a boundary, which will become part of your reputation ‘She hates people being late’, thus eliminating this ‘habit’ from your experience.
With bullying, humiliation or even violence, we all have a line we don’t want others to cross. Usually modelled by our own behaviour. If it occurs, or is threatened, we can then restate our position and choose to continue to engage with that person, or to walk away.
As a victim of bullying for many years, I always understood that the bad behaviour stemmed from a sadness or a hurt within the bully. but i never realised the power I had to stop it. It never occurred to me to say loudly ‘No!’ I had no voice. Due to avoiding parents who set rules like ‘be nice’ ‘do not swear’ ‘do not hit’ ‘do not fight’, i had no strength to tackle the aggressor, only a feeling of futility which enabled them to pass me around, every gang in school having a go at some point or another. I was marked! And I allowed it to continue, for far too long.
Today we teach our children to stand up for themselves, to believe in themselves.
I tell my kids that it is unacceptable to ‘start’ on someone else but that they have the right to ‘Stop!’ the abuse at any time. By force if necessary, telling an adult immediately, what happened and admitting their part.
This part is vital.
In order to maintain your strength, you must be 100% responsible for your actions.
If you are being harassed, hit, pushed, kicked, etc, and you choose to fight back and put them down (ending the provocation and danger for yourself)and get a detention for fighting, so be it. Accept with good grace. The bully will think twice before starting on you again, but you broke a school rule and must take the consequences.
Controversial? I hope so. We need people to ‘Think’ more and ‘react’ less.
In the 7 Words System, (7words.com) the first word we master is NO.
This represents Establishing Boundaries and creating your Identity through Choices to live out your Truth.
By saying No when you mean it, you are free to accept what you want and reject what does not fit you. Easy in the big areas where choices are poles apart,(drinking, smoking,) but not so easy when those No’s relate to relationships, families and the work environment. But still as valuable, if not more so. After all, it is only by saying No when you mean it, that you will establish yourself and your identity clearly, thus creating the boundaries over which you don’t want people to step.
Which brings us back to the question in hand. Do we get treated the way we allow people to treat us? I think the answer is a resounding YES. At all times.
Think about that the next time you feel wronged. Was there a time in the past when you could have ‘drawn a line’ but failed to do so, but instead kept people happy, while your self esteem was whittled away?
Maybe now is the time to reconsider and sit down and have a chat. Broach the subject, talking about how YOU FEEL, rather than what they did. And finding an agreement that will enable your friend to treat you better and for you to feel better. Its a win/win surely?
Do let me know what you think. As part of my Coaching and Therapy practice I am always interested to hear different points of view.