This concept is one I learned from my husband, which he learned the hard way through work and his own life experiences. I always lived by the motto of , “Treat people how you would like to be treated”, and I took it to heart in every situation. In everyday casual situations with people we do not know, this is still the best policy to me. But when it comes to those that know us the best, yet are not treating us the best, it is easy to point a finger at them instead of looking at our own behaviors. The way other people treat us has a lot to do with how we allow them to treat us, good and bad.
If we feel we are being disrespected by a friends or loved one, we might immediately get angered that this person is not treating us in the manner in which we deserve to be treated. Instead, look at the span of your relationship with this particular person; think about the times you have been upset and felt disrespected by them and then see how you acted prior to becoming upset or hurt by them.
Here’s a real life example:
I hear a lot of women complain about how dependent their husband’s are of them to do all the household work. Their husbands do not lift a finger to help them clean, cook, change diapers and expect to be waited on by their wives.
My first question is always, ” How did you treat him in the beginning of the relationship?” Most women I asked answered that they have always taken good care of their husbands. They have always done all the cooking and cleaning without complaint.
I would say to them, ” Let’s say you’ve been married for 20 years and your husband has always, since before you were even married, taken out the trash. Then one day, 20 years later, he tells you that you are lazy for not helping or even offering to take out the trash for him, even on days when you know that he is tired from work you still expect that of him. In fact, you get angry when he doesn’t automatically take the trash out. In this scenario, he has programmed you into assuming that since he has always taken out the trash that he would always take out the trash and you are confised as to why, all of a sudden he expects you to help him. Now think about things from his perspective, if you have always done the household work and now are complaining about having to do it all, you are confusing him because you have unconsciously trained him into thinking you will take care of these things to the point that it has become part of the flow of your relationship.
A better way to change this situation would be to gently ease your spouse into helping you around the house. You have to re-teach them how to treat you. It will take a while to break this habit you have unknowingly created, but in time they will come around. In time, not in an instant and probably not entirely if you’ve been married a long time.
If you are an adult but feel your parents still treat you like a child and that you are not responsible. Perhaps you are still acting in the same way as you did as a child; complaining and yelling that you want respect from your parents. Think about it, they have been treating you like a child since you were actually a child and then one day you say to them, “treat me like an adult” and they have trouble doing that because of habit. Now, in order to gain their respect and have them treat you like an adult you must teach them how to treat you. You can tell them repeatedly to treat you a certain way, but until you act differently they will never learn to actually do so. Eventually, over time, they will begin to see you as a more mature person because you will be acting more maturely. I know this from experience because I am always one to jump on the defense with my parents if I felt disrespected as an adult. Yet, by doing so, I was acting similar to how I would act as my former teenage self, and we would fall into the same aggravating arguments with my parents. That was until one day my husband told me that they still treat me like a child because in a way, by arguing back, I am still acting like a child. and that my parents are not as much to blame as I was. At first, this upset me until I decided to take his advice and change my way of acting around them I no longer talked about my maturity, I merely showed it, and now we have a mutual respect for each other’s opinions and differences.
I am sure everyone has a situation whether at work, home or with friends that this technique will make significant improvements on and all it takes is time by you showing how you would like to be treated rather than just talking about how you would like to be treated. You gotta walk the walk instead of just talking the talk. =0)