We have this mentality that if we could just fix everyone around us – our parents, our spouse, our siblings, our bosses – then we’d be happy. It’s THEM that’s the problem not us, right?
Try pointing a finger in blame. Notice you’re actually pointing three fingers back at yourself? Because blaming other people means you’re not taking responsibility for your part in the relationship.
Let me state the obvious and say that in a relationship there are always at least two people involved so it’s impossible for it to be one person’s fault entirely.
If someone in your life is treating you like crap, it’s because you ALLOW them to treat you like crap. If someone is always taking advantage of your time, it’s because you haven’t valued your own time.
If someone asks you to stay late at work and do more than your fair share, it’s because you are aiming to please and are prioritizing other people’s needs over your own.
If someone is disrespecting you again and again it is because you have been disrespecting yourself.
So here is the most important truth to remember:
You teach people how to treat you. No exceptions.
If you don’t respond when people cross the line for what is acceptable behaviour towards you, than they will continue to act that way.
That said, it’s important not to judge yourself for how you have allowed others to treat you so far. Before you didn’t know better, but now you do. So I welcome you to explore the following journaling exercise with curiosity and self-compassion.
So far you may have made up a story about this relationship with so and so.
It’s important to note that we all make up stories. It’s how we make meaning out of our experiences.
You may have told yourself that your boss is a jerk who keeps giving you more work than you can handle. He doesn’t ask anyone else at work but seems to be picking on you! (that’s the story). You may have garnered sympathy from your loved ones who agree with you, “Oh what a jerk!” Maybe you’ve thought switching jobs may help but what I want you to notice is that is all just a story.
Story = Mean boss who overworks me and gives me more than I can handle.
What I am here to point out is, is there a pattern here? Do you always do more work than required? Are you aiming to please? What is your responsibility in this story? What else is true?
Here’s what else is true: You say yes to the work he is giving you. You don’t want to rock the boat. You hope that by doing more work you might get noticed, praised or promoted.
So here are some jumping off coaching questions you can journal about:
So even if you can’t change others, and you can’t blame them, you can always change your response – and it feels friggin’ powerful when you can stop being the victim and start re-writing your own story.
I would love to hear what insights you draw from this exercise. Leave your comments below and let me know what stories you have been making up.