On respect

At the moment, I look through my old mails and writings. After a conference on (self-)leadership in 2016 (NaLDS = National Leadership Development Seminar), each month for a year, I sent out a mail to all participants and the whole conference team. It is interesting to read it again for myself and I think there is still some validity to it.

The initial question, I addressed in this mail was how to distance yourself from others or to teach somebody to respect you? This was a question from one of the participants. I adjusted the text a bit, but only slightly.

I think there is not THE one and only answer to the question, because the reasons to asking this question can be manifold. That is why I want to address several related points.

The first question I had in mind was: why is there a need for it? As I don’t have any examples that illustrate the background of this question, I want to share a bit from my life. I was and partially still am a people pleaser. I always had in mind how I can help other people placing other peoples’ need in front of mine. Why did I do this? I did it, because I wanted to be liked, respectively loved. Mainly because I didn’t value myself enough and I thought that only if I help other people, and if I am always friendly, they will like me. That was also my strategy to find a girlfriend. However, I want to stress that there is nothing wrong about being friendly and nice and offering help! =) It is about our motivation behind our actions, and in this my underlying reason was rather selfish.

Being friendly and generous should come from a position of true love for others and not from getting something in return. The interesting thing is, that it also led to a discrepancy between what I do and what I want, which made me feel helpless. How can I be nice and be liked while avoiding conflict? It took me until I was about 25 that I found the courage to stand up for myself. This came from loving myself and also showing respect towards myself.

I used to have a rather strained relationship with my father and if you remember the fear session (to give some context, we had a session which was designed around figuring out our fears. Not I am afraid of heights or spiders, but rather investigating if we are afraid of losing freedom or afraid of authorities. If you are interested in it let me know and I will give more details), he resembles the fear of authority. But one day at a big birthday party he spoke with me in a tone that I couldn’t stand. Now, I felt these feelings again… I knew that standing up for myself right now will lead to a conflict. My body and my tongue were shaking when I spoke up and I told him to never speak to me like that again. My whole family could hear it and I was still shaking for an hour or so. But you know what? I felt great! And the best thing is that my relationship to my father improved a lot. I consider this one of the defining moments in my life, because I finally stood up for myself showing respect towards the person I am and in the end, it brought greater respect from others as well.

Another reason might be that you actually like to be in this situation. Do you remember Frau Leye’s session on the Drama Triangle (again for providing context, we had a therapist on site, who did a few sessions with us)? To give you a quick refresher, there were the roles offender, helper and victim. Maybe you get some benefit (subjectively perceived, of course) from being the helper or victim in certain situation. Again, this might be a good starting point to ask yourself: do I play this game and what benefit do I seek to get from my behavior?

To summarize, reflect about your reasons why you need to teach someone else to respect you. What got you into that position? And I will continue saying it, because I constantly see it and hear it all around me: Before others can love you, you need to love yourself first (this reminds what a person I was back then and how balanced I have been. It also reminds me, that life is constantly changing and challenging myself. This means that I should never grow comfortable and say I have figured it all out). There are methods to train it and you can always write me. I also think that you have dear friends who will help you with this, too. Just be gentle towards yourself! And because loving yourself goes hand in hand with understanding yourself I want to bring your focus to two wonderful short videos from the school of life:

Overcoming bad inner voices

Self-esteem

 

Have a wonderful day and take care!

Stephan

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