We train people how to treat us.
There is a “revelation” going on right now called “The Conversation” being led by celebrity Ashley Judd - but this conversation is OUR conversation. It’s the conversation our CULTure needs to transform. We live in a CULTURE of abuse. and frankly we get what we tolerate. But first we each as individuals need to discern and understand that in fact this is a cycle that needs to be broken, and like all abusive situations first we must start by calling it what it is, and then we need to look at its origins in order to create conversations that can change it.
So where does this conversation originate?
It begins inside ourselves and usually at a young age.
You know, those deep places where we actually hide out – recalling memories that somehow enforced the belief that we were actually inferior, invisible, or unworthy.
As women, we are just one aspect of the human race that experiences daily what it feels like to be exploited, misunderstood, judged, silenced, subjugated, threatened, or made invisible but it’s an epidemic that perpetuates because we have not truly done “the work” of self discovery in order to find the power within ourselves to make a difference.
So much attention is given to being physically fit, looking good, hair, nails,body shape, physical assets and all the rest – but what about out insides? Have we paid as much homage or attention to the junk we feed our minds? or the thoughts or actions we participate in that crush our spirit? Make us dis-eased?
“You are what you eat” – that phrase is equally as powerful when it comes to our thoughts “we are what we THINK” and if thinking is skewed than it’s time to get back to basics for the spiritual equivalent of the holistic food pyramid.
It starts with first admitting to oneself that we are addicted to the thoughts that make us sick. Our culture has fed us a steady diet of CRAP about what we “should” look like, what we should weigh, how we should behave, and what we should pay attention to.
Collectively we are depleted of any real
nutritional spiritual value, and so – we are weak and vulnerable to the attacks that continue to barrage us. The task to “change” seems overwhelming? How can we really make a difference in a culture that is committed to an abusive conversation about women when we don’t feel strong and “fit” enough to stand strong and say in a resounding voice “NO.”
We all have examples of where we give up our power or our voice and I can look to my childhood, my role as a
wife ex-wife, my role as daughter, mother, girlfriend, partner, co-worker, and see where I made the CHOICE to be silenced, put in my place, abused, ignored. I make it so because I tolerate it. I make it so – because it’s easier than fighting back or standing my ground.
“Don’t stir up the Mud” as my father would say (Thanks Dad- I love you but stirring mud can mean flowers might bloom)
If you can start to look at these places in your life where you can see the origin’s and then follow the breadcrumbs throughout your life you’ll start to see that cumulatively there’s actually a massive supermarket full of baked goods where you’ve sold your voice and little pieces of your soul at a great price. It’s time to follow the crumbs backwards and collect those pieces of yourself in order to become whole again.
Here are some of my personal examples:
1) I grew up in a family where it was ok to be picked on. My Dad (god bless him) was quite a humorist but it had a biting quality. If I should cry, he’d say: “don’t be a bad sport” – although some of his “jokes” were hurtful to me and deeply upsetting I learned to “toughen up.” My stiff upper lip and “un-phased” air helped me build the facade – something some people call “cool” – and so I learned to not react, not cry, and later… not feel. Now, I was a kid right? so I could not have known how to help myself or stand my ground or express myself in a way that would stop the teasing at home (if that’s what you want to call it) so i went through life for quite a while having learned the fine art of being cool and un-phased if people around me should act out or be hurtful toward me. As an adult though.. I had to recognize that I was not a child any longer. One day I had to take a stand to resurrect myself and make the distinction that I am not “powerless” anymore. That my voice works (well lookie there!) and I can say:
“No, no thank you, nope. nada. not gonna do it. nay.”
I said “no” starting with the abuse I was experiencing as an adult in my home life, and then in my work life, and then I went back to it’s origin’s and realized that my whole life I’ve given away my voice starting with when I was FIVE!
But I’m not five anymore I’m forty one and I’ve got kids to raise and a full life to live, and differences to make. I have a voice to contribute toward worthy transformations in our world and so do you.
You’d be surprised what starts to happen when you say “no” to people who treat you badly.
Chances are if they are someone worth keeping around then they won’t try it again.
You can actually train them to treat you how you’d like to be treated.
You can start anywhere, but some places I’ve started to take back my value is inside my family as a parent, as a mother:
My children are always trying to push the boundaries… that’s what children do, it’s their job, so I don’t take it personally (most of the time) They use me as their guide for how to behave in the world. Where the buck stops (my tolerance) is usually the place they call the limit. Usually when they misbehave I have to make a decision in that moment whether I am going to parent them ( re-direct, have a talk, discipline if necessary) or “let it go”. In that moment if I “opt out” or cop out, I have sent a message that it’s ok to do it again, and likely they will also want to push further to see just how much I will give. If I nip it in the bud, and don’t tolerate the behavior… i have to focus on it as an issue less and less or not at all over time.
Here is an example at work:
I’ve worked with many people in my life. Many who’ve been very talented and very collaborative. I’ve also worked with quite a few who have created lots of un-necessary guess-work and who say they are one thing, but really are another. This is the trickiest of instances in which to find your footing because although you might find your voice and question them on it- they will look you right in the face and say it isn’t true. In this case the behavior will likely continue as does the growing feeling inside of you that something is not quite right. In this case we have a tendency to question ourselves over and over again- and in doing so – it makes us feel a little crazy. If this is the case then you are in fact dealing with a crazy-maker (hint: that’s why they coined the phrase) In this case be quiet and LISTEN to your insides. If your gut is telling you that it smells like crap than it usually is. As women we have to RE-discover this inner place inside that I call the crap detector.
You have to decide in that moment if your career is dependent on this person or not and if it is- you may want to rethink that. The easiest way to give your power away is to think you don’t have any. You have the power to stay or go- and trust me when i tell you that it’s these people who are the most dangerous of all. If you tolerate it now, pretty soon you’ll lose your ability to know the difference.
Case and point: look where we are today with the media. We have consumed so much garbage we believe it!
Sometimes we get what we tolerate, and sometimes we become what we tolerate.
I have a friend who is late all the time. I don’t think people who are “late” actually realize what they put other people through. I’m not talking about 5 minutes late- I’m talking about chronically late ( I know you know these people) and they repeatedly “show up” when it’s convenient for them. Some of the nicest people i know are chronically late – so what IS that? Well, first of all – by the third time it happens – consider yourself TRAINED.
- They’ve trained you to expect them to be late so you start to accommodate them by giving them *special* permission. Have you ever had a friend that you actually have to lie to and tell them dinner starts an hour earlier just so that they will arrive on time? – yeah… you get it.
- They’ve trained their whole community in many cases to relate to them a certain way- either as someone whose life is just so busy and hectic we should just “understand” or that their lives and time are literally more important that ours… ( ahem, – really?)
- Then I love that chronic friend who is late all the time and so when she has me over to her house she trains ME to be late because I KNOW she’s not going to be ready when she says she will be so instead of getting there and hour early, I am now actually altering MY principle’s! Maddening!
In this case I recommend looking at your friend the second or third time she or he is late and addressing it. Let them know that you are wide open to understanding that “shit happens” but that you want to express your own need’s as it relates to time. Asking someone to honor your time is a very valid request.
Asking someone to honor your FEELINGS is a very valid request.
Asking someone to HONOR YOU is MANDATORY.
It’s time to re-train people how to treat us. Before we can do that we must each shift our gaze into the mirror of greatness and make a CHOICE to see ourselves. From this place , changing and transforming the conversation is entirely possible.
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