A lot of my life has been spent on the sidelines of my own story, watching in awe as people commanded respect while I continually got hurt, discarded, rejected, disappointed, f*cked over, overlooked and felt like a professional, people pleasing doormat that would never be chosen and was never, ever good (or special) enough for anyone.
No one could see my value, no one ever named me their #wcw, #bff and my knight on his white horse never came to rescue me from my most toxic and heartbreaking relationship of all…
The one that I had with myself.
I was in awe of how there were just some girls, whether they be friends of mine, coworkers, classmates, or girls I didn’t even know that well, that no one would ever mess with. Like, ever. Clearly there something I was missing.
How could these girls seem to bring out completely different (read: respectful) behavior in the same person that just treated me like sh*t?
“That must mean that there’s something wrong with me,” I thought.
And I kept that thought on repeat in my mind for more than half of my life.
The common denominator of any pain, heartbreak and injustice that you feel is always rooted in a lack of respect either for yourself, your boundaries, other people’s boundaries or other people’s lack of respect for you (and themselves / their boundaries). Always.
Knowing how to command respect in your relationships not only extinguishes what seems like a curse of “bad luck” that you feel like you’ve been subjected to endure, it’s also part of building your self esteem. It’s that missing element, the thing that makes you look up to other people who seem to always be so comfortable in their skin, so confident in their decisions and so content in living their life unapologetically on the terms that accord with their happiness and well being.
So how is respect achieved? Want to know how to command respect in your relationships with your family, with guys and in your friendships? So did I.
Here’s how I got there and went from insecure doormat to the girl who still makes mistakes, still has moments of insecurity but that found the respect that I had been after and put a permanent end to The-People-Pleasing-Doormat Era of my life…
- Boundaries and respect (for yourself and for others) go hand-in-hand. One cannot exist without the other.
- Your boundaries should never change and you can’t have different sets of boundaries for different people. You can’t allow anyone to make an amendment to your boundaries just because they texted you back/they noticed you/they make you feel like they’ll change for you (they won’t)/they’re a good lay, etc. If you do so, you will LOSE respect for yourself because you’ll always be smelling your own bullsh*t right under your nose.
- Boundaries are great because they don’t require words and a lot of people (especially the kind of people who don’t respect you), like to use your words against you by twisting them. When you instill boundaries, you become the girl that speaks with her actions, stays classy and respects herself enough to know and communicate (through her actions), to others that she won’t tolerate anyone that respects her any less than she respects herself.
- People that have and are capable of respect don’t need to make this big thing of it. Yeah, they may still get heartbroken, cheated on, lied to and abandoned, but they have such a deep pool of respect that’s already there.
- Understand that when you start having respect for yourself, it won’t change who they are. Unfortunately when you evolve, that never means that the people around you will.
- You can say you want respect until you’re blue in the face and you can claim to have healthy boundaries, read every self help book and sip tea on Super Soul Sunday with the Oprah herself, but the ONLY way to give ANY validity to your boundaries, your self respect and the way that people respect you is through action.
- It’s pointless to try to communicate respect to someone that doesn’t understand it.
- The sky will not fall if you ACT within your own best interests. You’ll survive.
- Understand that when you aim to respect yourself, you will lose a lot of people in your life. Their part will have ended in your story or their part will be significantly limited. Yes, it’s hard when relationships change and it can be uncomfortable but it’s a good sign because you attract what you exude and if you exude the actions of someone that gives a damn about herself, you’ll detract the f*cktards that don’t.
- Stop talking, being made to look psycho, explaining and creating drama just so you can hold onto a relationsh*t.
- People only explain their boundaries and self respect that they supposedly have if they don’t truly believe it that they have it. Don’t be one of them.
- People that are incapable of respect will use any little hint of insecurity, people pleasing and lack or respect for yourself that they see you exhibit, to exploit and use you to infinity degrees.
- The only clearcut path to living a life where you’re surrounded by people that respect you is by respecting yourself first. And will probablyl mean having to tell your libido to f*ck off for a minute while it reboots itself.
The only person that you should ever be concerned with garnering respect from is yourself.
As women, we want to nurture and show people how much they’re worth and make them feel the exact way that we are looking for them to make us feel: special, validated and valued… and that’s fine…. just vow to stop doing it if it means that you have to devalue yourself in the process.
If you feel like you don’t have anyone that believes in you and you can’t believe in yourself, just remember – I believe in you and if I did it, so.can.you.