Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Kindness and Respect--For Us

A couple of people raised issues that are important. In particular they relate to how we are treated. Even though I don’t usually post this often, it seems important enough to warrant an extra post.

How do people treat you? Is it with kindness and respect?

For many of us, that’s not how we’re treated, not even by people who claim to love us. Does it have to be that way? NO!!!!!

I didn’t used to be treated with kindness and respect. Or if I was, I viewed the person with suspicion. What did they want from me and when was I going to get kicked in the teeth? I thought it would always be that way. Thank God I was wrong. Today, most people treat me well and if they don’t I can shrug it off or turn it around so that they do. It took time and it took changing how I saw myself.

Step 1: I wrote down how I wanted to be treated. For most people, this might be easy but it actually took several tries to do it. And I ended up rewriting that list over time because the better I was treated, the better I wanted to be treated.

Step 2: I began to imagine people treating me the way I wanted to be treated—with kindness and respect.

Step 3: When people did treat me with kindness and respect, I accepted these things as if I deserved them. And I made sure I treated them with kindness and respect in return.

Step 4: If someone criticized me, I looked for what was useful in what the person was saying and thanked them for it and used the feedback to become better at what I was doing. (You should have seen some of the stunned looks I got, but some of those people became my staunchest supporters.)

Step 5: If someone continued to treat me with disrespect, I was polite to them but did not invest in that person emotionally. In other words, I shrugged it off and/or didn’t put myself in their presence again if I could help it.

Step 6: I began to choose far more carefully who I tried to please. I began to look far more carefully at whose opinion was worth caring about. I began to believe I deserved friends who valued me and spent less and less time with those who didn’t. And I found a world of people who valued me far more than the ones I had been hanging around with.

Step 7: I kept visualizing people treating me with kindness and respect. It altered how I interacted with others and how they interacted with me.

Very often, people value us to the degree that we value ourselves. Very often, if we don’t value ourselves, we hang around with other people who have all sorts of problems because we figure they’re the best we can do. If they don’t value us, no one will.

The truth is that healthy people are far less likely to feel the need to put us down to make themselves feel better. If we look around for happy people, we are more likely to find that they treat us with kindness and respect because that’s what feels right and natural to them. And if we see ourselves as being treated with kindness and respect AND ACT ACCORDINGLY then other people are much more likely to do so.

In other words, we do have control over how we are treated, but it begins with changing how we see ourselves and what we expect. Just the act of visualizing people treating us with kindness and respect can be empowering.

With love and respect for all of YOU and lots of safe and gentle ((((((hugs)))))),

April_optimist

2 comments:

Holly Desimone said...

Dear April_optimist,
I love this post, "In other words, we do have control over how we are treated, but it begins with changing how we see ourselves and what we expect. Just the act of visualizing people treating us with kindness and respect can be empowering."
It is so powerful and true.
God Bless

April_optimist said...

Holly,

Yeah. I look back and it's hard soemtimes to believe the difference between how my life is and how it was before I realized this truth.