My Perception of Me impacts My Relationship with Others
Have you ever had someone treat you poorly, and when you try to set up boundaries, you feel guilty? Or maybe, you have someone in your life who is constantly giving you passive aggressive insults, or worse flat out aggressive insults. Does the thought of addressing the situation cause too much anxiety so you allow insult after insult to come your way?
You may tell yourself that you deserve better. You might try to convince yourself that one day it will get better or that one day you will address it. But do you really believe that? I felt this way for a long time. I allowed others to treat me poorly, because it was easier than confronting it.
For me it was easier to justify their behavior than to set boundaries and say no. Maybe the person was hurting, maybe it wasn’t truly about me, maybe they were dealing with something deeper. While all of that might be true, I still allowed their behavior.
I allowed their behavior.
I realized that by not respecting myself, I allowed others to treat me with disrespect. How do I change that? How can I change my perception of myself so that I no longer allow others to walk all over me?
With the help of a therapist, deep soul-searching and asking some very hard questions, I realized that I have value and I deserve to be treated well. This had to start with me. I had to start treating myself well. The shift from allowing others to treat me poorly had to start from within. It had to start with how I treated myself.
I changed my behavior.
The first step was to change my behavior toward myself. I combat negative self talk with speaking truth. When my mind starts to go through mistakes I have made, things I could have done better, I remind myself of times I have overcome hard things, times I was compassionate to others, times I did things well. I focused on this portion alone for several months. I focused on being intentional about my thoughts and redirecting thoughts when they were self deprecating.
The second step was to practice self-care. I started to take care of myself as I took care of Addie. I made sure to focus on basic needs. I kept water close by and started to consume the recommended amount for my body weight. I chose to eat intuitively. I started taking care of my physical health. Just as I make sure Addie has her needs met, I started meeting my needs without making excuses or pushing them aside.
The final step was to learn how to love myself. Everything about me. My quirky personality traits. My freckles. My love for organizing and color coordinating books. My extremely lopsided vision. The excitement I get when I grab the mail (even when it is just bills). My love for Aaron Carter - I can sing the entire Oh Aaron song, and it drives my Aaron crazy. I learned to love the unique things about myself. I realized that I am a pretty cool person.
When I shifted my mindset, started taking care of my body, and embracing the unique things about me, I realized that my confidence began to grow. I started feeling proud of who I was.
I started feeling proud of who I was.
This is where the shift happened. When I embraced who I was and started loving myself for who I was, I started to treat others the way I was treating myself. I noticed that my desire to nitpick dissipated. I noticed as I treated myself with respect and dignity others followed suit.
There were some relationships that I had to walk away from. Unhealthy friendships. It is okay to do that. There were friendships I was hanging on to for the sake of time. Just because you have been friends for years does not mean you should be treated with disrespect. I left a job that was not healthy for me, with no prospects of another. Sometimes hard decisions like this need to be made, but you get a beautiful second chance when you try again. You get to teach others how to treat you.
Healthier me. Healthier relationships.
As I learned to love myself, set healthy boundaries and pursue healthy relationships, I noticed that my anxiety went down. I was no long anxious about leaving the house. I was no longer anxious about being in groups. My anxiety about how other people perceive me is gone. Because I realized one thing:
My worth is not defined by others.
You deserve to have healthy relationships with others. You deserve to have a healthy relationship with yourself. Do not let anyone tell you differently.