This is a little take on a song lyric (“what I like about you” if you’re not familiar with the song) that I thought was great for this blog entry. Since I have started talking about relationship with your self, I decided I want to continue that topic for a bit.
If you read my last post, and you did the activity (writing down an assess of how you view yourself, along with your strengths), you may have really liked what you discovered, or you may be feeling “now what?” because you’re not happy with the results. Anything, and I mean anything, that you would like to change about yourself, you can change if you are determined and patient. The hardest part for many of us is that patience thing, particularly with ourselves.
Let’s say for example that you wish you respected yourself more. (I’m choosing this example because it’s the one I have worked on for a long time before I was happy with where I am.) If you find that you don’t have the level of self-respect that you would like to have and you are looking to outside resources (family, friends, employers) to give that to you, you may be starting to realize that it doesn’t work that way, does it?
I used to work very hard to please other people by being as good as I possibly good as a wife, mother, employee, friend, etc. I was always waiting for the good words and respect that would come with that type of behavior. But, I was always disappointed! Even worse, I felt that people often took advantage of me and worse yet, did not give me respect! What was I doing wrong!?!
In a word, nothing. I was doing nothing wrong, but I was doing it backwards. I had to learn to give myself respect before I started getting respect from others. I had to respect my time, talents, feelings, etc, before other people did. And it wasn’t easy, because I had not started doing it when I was young, so I really had to pay attention and notice when I was being respectful to myself. I even started to notice when I was more respectful of others than I was of myself. Do you respect others’ feelings, time, resources, whatever more than your own? If the answer is yes, then it may be time to change that.
Once I started asking myself a simple question, “Am I respecting them more than I am respecting myself?”, I started making simple changes. I said no more often, instead of saying yes to the point of making myself crazy to just to please or help others. I still say yes most of the time, but people have realized that when I say no, I have a reason and they respect what I am saying. As I respect me, others have more respect for me.
Now, I have focused on respect here, but the same principle applies to liking, loving, being helpful, complimenting, etc. The more you treat yourself the way you want others to treat you, the more you find it coming back your way. And, the more you learn how others in your life want to be treated, and treat them the way they want to be treated, the more willing they are to treat you the way you want to be treated. It’s kind of a respect thing.
Give it a try, I think you will like the results!