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What am I teaching people about how to treat me?

I have spent over 100 days building my life facing depression, with the mantra “depression is not my boss.

And yet, with all the support groups, therapy sessions, psychiatrist appointments, and independent reading I have done, I have not owned up to my own self-worth. I realized yesterday that I have not created healthy Boundaries for myself.

I am allowing others needs and actions to dictate how I respond.

Or worse, I am not defining to myself or saying to others what I expect so they are clear on how I will or will not be treated. I have control over my boundaries, and I can accept or not accept other people’s actions. I have a choice, I have control, I have the right to take care of myself.

This is not easy. Creating healthy boundaries is foreign to me.

I have lived a life of service, at the expense of myself. I did not appreciate the value and absolute necessity of taking care of myself. So, my own needs and boundaries have been crossed by others over the years because I did not understand that I have a choice. I did not allow myself to think that “I” had the right to be treated better.

I need to honor myself.

One of my peer advocates quoted from Carla Birnberg in a group meeting last week. This morning, as I am mulling over my own plan to honor myself, I looked up the quote.

When we don’t create healthy boundaries, when we don’t speak kindly to ourselves, when we don’t take care of ourselves, people in our lives sense this and take advantage.

Honor YOU. Carla Birnberg

The question, am I good enough, keeps swirling around in my brain.

Self-esteem and self-worth are issues I have encountered in my life. Do I deserve this? Am I worthy of this? Am I good enough? These thoughts can derail me. When depression gets a hold of these and pushes them my way, smothered in unhelpful thinking, I can get lost in self-doubt. “I can’t get no respect”

In the end, we teach people how we want to be treated.

This concept was lost on me. I hadn’t made the connection between how I view myself and how others view me. But this makes total sense. How do I see myself in a way that honors me? It is clear that if I am not doing this, how can I expect others to do this.

When I work with a job candidate, we talk about the interview. I remind my client’s that if they do not speak up and show their accomplishments and value, no one else will. It is the interviewer and my client in a room. No one else is there to say, “she did this or she did that.” So, if my client does not show their value, does not articulate their own worth, the interview ends without a job offer.

I can’t believe I teach this stuff all the time and I forget to apply it to my own life.

But if I am not feeling worthy, if I am not honoring myself, then it really isn’t forgetting. It is more like I am avoiding being clear about how I perceive myself. This vagueness is my way of sort of seeing myself in a positive light, but not actually taking a stand.

I am 100% sure of my self some of the time.

And I am 100% sure I do not place the same value on me, as I do on serving others.

This, as it turns out, is what others feed on. It is a well-known fact that even a small amount of blood in the water can be sensed by sharks’ miles away. And as soon as they smell it, they go into search and attack mode. It is a response to the blood in the water.

I am picturing myself in that same light. If I am not honoring myself, if I am not seeing my own value and treating myself with dignity and respect, I am modeling how I expect others to treat me. Some people will take the high road and not buy into abusing the relationship. But others, like sharks, will smell the blood and move in for the kill.

I doubt sharks think about how they react to blood in the water.

They just act, based on the stimuli. People, I would assume, often react to what you put out without consciously thinking, “I am going to take advantage of this person because they do not honor themselves.”

I realize now that however we are treated by others, we own a role in it.

As I think about how I am letting people treat me, I am damn sure I can do a better job. It starts with me being a better advocate for myself. Taking personal responsibility for my actions and owning them. Doing this is clearly one of the ways I can take better care of myself.

So, my goal in the next few weeks is to identify and set clear boundaries.

I will speak kindly to myself and take better care of myself.

I will teach people how to treat me.

What boundaries have you set? Are they working? Your thoughts and comments are appreciated.

This post first appeared on Depression Is Not My Boss, please read the originial post: here

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What am I teaching people about how to treat me?


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