I know reading this title you’re probably thinking “Jasmine, how do I teach people how to treat me” or “I can’t control what people do”. I hear you because those are both very valid points. You certainly cannot force people to act a particular way or control them. However, we have a little more control than we give ourselves credit for. There are certain actions you can take to teach others what is and is not acceptable when it comes to how they treat you. These behaviors can lead to more fulfilling and healthy relationships.
Reflect on how you treat yourself
I often share with clients and loved ones the importance of treating themselves well. The habits you form, how you treat your body, and even how you speak to yourself are all vital for your mental health. When you treat yourself poorly it can lead to low confidence, increased feelings of depression, and cause relational challenges. In addition, how you treat yourself can often influence how others feel they can treat you. If you’re continuously engaging in negative self-talk, others may get the impression that it is also okay to talk to you negatively.
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Often, due to the longevity of a relationship or because something may seem like common sense it can be easy to forget that people won’t know our every need or want. No matter how long you’ve known someone or the role they play in your life, it’s a must to communicate your needs and feelings. Reason being people cannot read your mind or automatically know what you’re thinking. Communication helps build stronger relationships and make less room for misinterpretations. Communicate, communicate, and then communicate some more.
Setting boundaries or not can make or break a relationship. Boundaries get a bad rep because they can be perceived as mean or restrictive. However, setting boundaries is a form of self-care because they allow us to prioritize our needs/wants in relationships in a healthy way. When you communicate your boundaries to a loved one, coworker, or anyone else in your life it lets them know what is and isn’t acceptable regarding how they treat you. An example of boundaries you may communicate are “Please call, before you come over” or “I enjoy spending time with you, however I do need alone time each day”.
Modeling behavior or modeling is exactly what it sounds like. You model a behavior (consciously or unconsciously) that you would like others to imitate. An example of a behavior you might model is communicating your boundaries with a partner so in turn they also communicate their boundaries with you. Another example may look like using effective communication during a disagreement so the other person will follow suit.
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You can often communicate, set boundaries, treat yourself well, and people still will treat you poorly. You may not be able to control others, but you can control how you respond to their mistreatment and how much access someone has to you. If a person is treating you poorly, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship and whether that person is worth having in your life. It doesn’t feel great to lose relationships, but it feels worse to be treated unwell by someone you care about. Moving accordingly doesn’t mean matching energy and all that business, but it does mean asserting control and revoking access if necessary.
*Disclaimer: This notion does not apply when it comes to abuse and domestic violence. If you are feeling unsafe, please call 911. You can also visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline at https://www.thehotline.org/ or call them at 1(800) 787-3224.