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You can’t have high standards with some people and allow others to disrespect you

Photo by Douglas Sanchez on Unsplash

You can’t have high standards with some people and allow others to disrespect you. 

Intellectually, this principle may sound obvious. For me at least, it was…until the time came for me to put it into practice.  What was even more surprising for me, is how this principle was going to lead me to a question that had seemingly nothing to do with it: 

For so many years, I had been asking myself and others:

How can I trust men? 

And this is when I’ve started to choose instead of enduring people whom I surrounded myself with, that I received the answer that I had been waiting for so long: 

“To trust a man, you first need to trust yourself”

I’ve come to realize that trusting myself is deeply linked to my integrity;

To my ability to say NO, even (and especially) when everybody expects me to say yes.

When you decide to raise your relationships standards, whatever “high standards” means for you, you train your body to feel a certain way and this new “way of feeling” will become your barometer for your relationships, not only with men, but with everyone.

And you will be tested for each person that you let in your life. Some people will adjust to your new standards. But others will expect you to continue to play the role they had created for you. 

This is disrespect. 

In this case, you’ll have to choose between staying and leaving.

You’ll feel as if you were in a prison: a part of yourself will want you to get out of there, while another will negotiate, intellectualize in order to make you stay.

When you decide to stay, you choose denial and you betray yourself. 

You train yourself to act against your own protective instinct and you become addicted to emotional abuse. 

Sometimes, we think that all we have to do is to put in place strong boundaries, and everything will be fine. Yes, this strategy can work and is even necessary when you have a plan to leave a situation, for example your job, and you need time to get out of it. But it can only be temporary. You won’t be able to function like this indefinitely because it will deplete you from your energy. Most importantly, you’ll have to pretend, and when you pretend, you sacrifice your integrity. 

And how can you trust yourself, if you don’t act with integrity?

You can’t want to be treated a certain way and accept to be treated another way, even if it is only by one person. No matter who this person is – your friend from childhood, your sister, your mother, your aunt, your boss or the waitress at your coffee shop – by refusing to leave, you screw up your barometer. Energetically, you send the signal that you are not worthy to be treated the way you want to, and you find yourself tolerating more disrespectful people in your life.

Why is it so hard to leave some relationships? 

I’ve known so many women…family, friends, colleagues, who had a career and were financially secure, but who stayed …

…in family or romantic abusive relationships

…or simply relationships that they didn’t really want.

And every time I asked them why they stayed in these relationships, I’ve had systematically the exact same answer:

“Because I have no choice”.

But nobody gives us choice. Having choice is a decision-making process that we create within ourselves. 

I’ve come to realize that telling ourselves that we have no choice is a way we use to protect ourselves against one of our deepest fear; the fear of being alone. And usually, not so far from this fear, there is the visceral fear of death.

But when we have the courage to look at these fears in the eyes, here is what happens: 

We realize that : 

All these fears are actually nothing more than smoke and mirrors!

All this time, the prison was actually in our own mind. 

We discover that our overwhelming feeling of panic has actually nothing to do with our potential “physical loneliness”. Rather, this is a psychological loneliness that we endure when we feel disrespected. 

The reason we stay in a disrespectful relationship is that we hope that one day, the person will finally love us enough to make us feel less lonely. But we are not aware that the feeling created by this very same relationship is actually at the root of our pain. And that the only way to get rid of it is to leave the relationship. 

When we decide to stand by our values, no matter what would be required from us to honour them…

When we are ready to lose everything in order to stay in our integrity,

This is when we experience true freedom.

When we reach this point, nothing can stop us anymore. 

We become more relaxed. 

We don’t feel the need to be on the defensive or to have others explain themselves to us. 

We understand that every relationship is a risk and that the sense of stability and security starts within ourselves,

The stakes are not as high as they used to be,

We’re no longer afraid to make mistakes, to be trapped in a relationship or to misjudge someone, because we and every cell of our body know that we’ll stand for ourselves, no matter what.

We give ourselves the permission to be more open to others,

To become more receptive,

More approachable,

More playful,

More joyful…

…and life becomes suddenly way easier. 

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