If I asked you “Do you respect yourself?”, I imagine you would most likely say “Yes, of course.”
But then if I asked you “Do you have challenges with other people respecting your time and privacy?”, what would you say?
If you are like most people, myself included, you probably struggle sometimes with family, friends, or colleagues who always seem to impose themselves on your time and personal space. They invite themselves to your house, or they insist you accompany them to some god-awful place that you wouldn’t, for the life of you, normally go to, or they ask you to do favours for them and make you feel guilty if you express reluctance.
It’s difficult to say “no” in these situations, because part of you feels obliged to “be nice” or to be helpful. This is especially difficult if, like me, you are a sensitive person who likes to make others happy.
This kind of behaviour from those close to you, is actually a form of disrespect towards you. It is very subtle, and they don’t even realise it, but at the same time it can have serious consequences on your own self-esteem, and general level of stress.
This lack of respect towards you is, in fact, a direct result of you not respecting yourself enough.
Hmm… maybe you’re wondering how I made that leap of a connection?
The thing is, respecting yourself means having clear and firm boundaries when it comes to family, friends, and colleagues.
If you don’t have those clear boundaries you’ll end up letting others impose themselves on your life. In other words they won’t fully respect you or your time.
When you get clear on your boundaries and you communicate that clearly to others, you are respecting yourself enough to say, in effect “Look, this is my time and my space… I’m more than happy to accomodate you, but not at the cost of my values.”
At first you may get some slightly offended, or even hostile, reactions. But they will quickly get used to the idea that they can’t always have their way with you. Soon after that they will actually respect you more as a person. You will feel happier, and you’ll have a better energy to deal with others. Consequently, your relationships will improve all round.
So set your boundaries, respect yourself enough to stand by your values, even if it feels uncomfortable, and others will learn to respect you more.
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