Some call it being patient with others. Others recognize it as putting their needs on the back burner because someone else deserves the attention. There are people who may even refer to it as recognizing the difficulties that someone faces and understanding that we all need a pass sometimes, and yes, we do. But no matter how you choose to define it, we are responsible for the ways others treat us on an ongoing basis. We give others direction on how to behave by what we allow and boundaries we uphold or fail to create. As much as we like to dole out blame for the wrong people place upon us, we are just as responsible for the actions and attitudes we choose to ignore. Here are five common ways we dishonor ourselves daily.
Allowing Hurtful and Offense Language
Tempers get the best of us at times and we often lash out at those closest to us because we know they'll "understand" or let us get away with it. When we feel we've been wronged we, consciously or subconsciously, project those same actions onto others (for so many reasons I won't name here). This may come in the form of yelling, belittling, cursing, name calling, and being plain old nasty. What's the phrase? "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." We dishonor ourselves each time we allow someone to degrade us with their words or disable us with their tone of voice. It's important that we seek to understand the behavior but not excuse it. No amount of childhood trauma or difficult circumstances allow the audacity of disrespect. I mean that for both us and our offenders. Food for thought: often, the way we learn to talk to ourselves is the way we permit others to address us. Set clear boundaries on language, voice potential consequences, and follow through with accountability.
Reacting From Frustration Instead of Character
We've all been there: there are some people who can really get under our skin to the point where we want to give them every curse word in the book. I know how I can be, say the wrong thing to me and I'm liable to say the first disrespectful thing that comes to mind. And what's my excuse? They make me like this! Or even, I had to let them know so they wouldn't try me again! Because in my head, and some of ya'll, you have to give respect to get it and I'll be damned if you think you can try me. But the truth of the matter is, people will try you and they do get the best of you when you respond in ways that dishonor your character and your integrity. The ability to respond in a way that gets your point across yet honors your crown is one that takes work. Food for thought: we are not completely responsible for the actions of others but we are responsible for our responses. Recognizing who you are and your values will always be more fulfilling in the long term than the immediate gratification of acting out inappropriately.
Prioritizing Needs of Others Before Our Own
Good people are always so afraid of being labeled as selfish. Because "good" and "selfish" can't possibly be correlated. The definition of selfish is [to be] concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself; excessively is key. While it is honorable to be giving and selfless to others it's just as honorable to be awarding and loving to ourselves. We have the right to come first in our lives. The best way I've heard it explained is the cup philosophy. We all have a cup. Individually, we pour from our cup into others cups. The issue arises when we continue to pour without ever having our cup refilled. Who's responsibility is it to fill our cups? It is our own. How do we fill our cups? By doing what's necessary to take care of ourselves. This often means setting boundaries and adhering to them. Food for thought: It's okay to say not today, not this week, or simply no. Hear me correctly: I'm not saying it's wrong to prioritize the needs of others before our own, because sometimes it's necessary in our duty to show up properly in other's lives. It's when we consistently do it at the expense to our mental, physical, and spiritual health that it becomes problematic. You're important too.
Refusing To Do Our Work
We are taught how to function in this world the moment we are given breath. Our teachers are our lineage, neighbors, childhood best friends, caretakers, and even strangers on the street. As children we learn by watching, assessing, and making the often subconscious decision to copy, disengage, or challenge. The reasons why we do what we do and allow what we allow are often so deep within our psyche that it can take careful questioning and reflection to bring to our awareness. But we know what they say: when you know better, you do better. We have work to do; work to understand our traumas and form healthier coping mechanisms, to discover our triggers and ways to overwhelm them, and to unpack our thought patterns and make the changes necessary for a healthier outlook. We were put on this earth to be great and to serve. When we choose not to do the work we choose to remain complacent in our damage and not live up to our fullest potential, to not do better than our ancestors, and to not make life more rewarding for those coming behind us. By not doing the work we limit the possibilities that this life has to offer us: the opportunity to give the gift of kindness, to show someone something different, or to eliminate generational disturbances. Food for thought: we often think the world owes us so much but what about what we owe ourselves? If you left this world tomorrow would you have given it your best shot?
I by no means want to make it seem as if honoring yourself is easy peasy because it's not in the beginning. But as with anything, the more you make yourself aware and actively do the work the more natural it will become. We hail from kings and queens and more importantly from a sovereign God. Because of this, it is our duty to hold great esteem and a high level of respect. Living a life that is complete is one of the greatest blessings that can be bestowed upon us. We come into this life as one soul, later connected to those of others. We will leave this life as one soul though connected to those of others. The more responsibility we take for our lives the more fulfilling we will be as we walk this road called life. We owe ourselves a great deal and we cannot expect others to give to us what we refuse to give to ourselves.