I posted half of a sentence on social media and got a few responses. But there was one that I really caught my eye.
"I am worthy of...."
That's all I posted. Four simple words to begin a sentence. I asked people what they thought they were worthy of receiving that they weren't getting. I didn't receive a large amount of answers, but one stood out to me. One lady who occasionally replies to my posts typed "Me time!" I noticed that she usually comments on my posts about finding time for yourself, or relaxing, kicking back, etc. with something that leafs me to believe that taking care of herself is just not something that can/does happen.
Her latest response really made me think. Basically put, she believes that she's worthy of private time (however she chooses to spend it) but doesn't get it. If she was one of my clients, I would help her explore what private time looks like to her, and what things she has [herself] put in place that prevents private time from existing in her life. But, on the surface, one question came to mind: What behavior has she been carrying out (albeit unintentional) that signals to those around her that she doesn't have a need for private time?
I know, that's a pretty loaded question, isn't it! But think about it. Really think about it. We teach people how to treat us by how we treat ourselves. We signal to others what our boundaries and needs are based on how we live our lives. A young lady asked me once "Does that mean that if someone mistreats me, I showed them how to do it?" Not necessarily. You may not have taught someone how to 'mistreat' you, but you also didn't teach them how to 'treat' you.
Example? Of course! While working on a group project, one of the group members began to speak to me in a very condescending manner. I ignored it at first, thinking it would go away. It didn't. When it happened again, I just stopped responding and remained quiet. Apparently, this person enjoyed that and it made them feel powerful over me. And it continued. I finally decided that this was an unacceptable way to treat me, and I'd had enough. The next time it happened, I held up my hand, causing this person to stop mid-statement. I think they were caught off guard, lol. I politely and calmly said, "I understand that this project is a big undertaking, and that you really want to do a great job. That's probably why you're so intense. I get that. However, this method you're using isn't helping either of us get this done. So I need you to find a better way to speak to me. When you're ready to address me with a better tone of voice, I'll be ready to restart our work. Until then, I'm doing nothing." This person was quite unhappy with me, as expected. A couple times, they even tried to speak to me in the same condescending manner. I simply walked away, saying nothing. I meant what I said, I said what I meant, and I didn't say it mean.
Eventually, this group member learned that I will not tolerate someone trying to establish a sense of power over me, and making attempts to belittle my intelligence. They next conversation was much nicer, and eventually we were able to communicate effectively. Why? Because I taught them how to treat me.
So back to my busy social media friend lol. I would ask her to reflect on some things. When she meets new people and introduces herself, does she come across as super-busy? What does she do with unanticipated moments of downtime (a load of laundry? watch tv? bake a cake? soak in a bubble bath?). The answer to this question is important if you have anyone watching you, i.e. spouse, child(ren), roommate, because this is when they learn what is important to you. If you clean up, that's important. If you relax, that's important. If you're checking something off of your to-do list, that's important.
So here's the bottom line: If you feel that you're worthy of something that you're not receiving, start by examining whether YOU find YOURSELF worthy enough to receive it from YOURSELF. When you believe you're worthy of no less, you'll begin to tolerate no less, and then begin receiving no less.