Ever felt like no matter how hard you try you just can’t do right by someone? Ever had that sinking feeling that who you are is not good enough for someone who is important to you? Ever felt like you keep giving someone your best self but for some odd reason in their eyes, you keep falling short? Isn’t that just the worst feeling ever?
Be it a parent, a lover, a friend, a crush or even a boss, sometimes in life we find ourselves in situations where we are desperate to please or gain the respect of someone who seemingly doesn’t recognize our value or worth. Despite our greatest efforts, we find ourselves feeling unappreciated by the person whose opinion means most to us.
So how do we handle the rejection of those who mean most to us? How do we heal from the secret pain caused by their careless words and naive behaviour? Is there a way we can share our feelings openly without any fear of damaging the relationship? Where do we even find the courage to confront the people whose respect we are afraid to lose? I found myself asking these questions this week after a fallout with someone whose view matters to me.
While we may act tough as though nothing fazes us, the truth is, we are affected by other people’s treatment of us and we care deeply about the approval and acceptance of those close to us. Don’t misunderstand me, we are a self-assured generation, we are intelligent, fierce and powerful. But still, something special happens inside of us when those we hold dear recognize our light and the uniqueness we bring to the world.
While it remains true that we are responsible for our own happiness, we cannot deny the fact that we are happier when we feel valued, respected and loved by the people we love.
So what do we do when we find ourselves tormented by feelings of inadequacy where our loved ones are concerned? How do we, as mature adults, deal with feeling unseen, unappreciated and frankly, taken for granted?
First things first
The beginning of good things in life starts with knowing our own worth. There is nothing okay about allowing people to treat us poorly— for any reason at all.
In us lie beauty, goodness and magic that we haven’t even fully tapped into yet. We must be protective of that.
So we must learn to speak up for ourselves— that is self-love. No matter how difficult it may be, we must have our say, even if our voices shake. This is paramount. We must recognize the things that make us uncomfortable and know that it’s perfectly acceptable to say, “I don’t like being treated like that.”
There is something very unhealthy and about being in relationships or friendships where we are so scared to express ourselves that we would rather be quiet than rock the boat with our truth.
We must learn to have difficult conversations with the people we care about and be honest about how we feel. It is not okay to keep putting up with behaviour that undermines our worth. If we have allowed someone to treat us poorly, today is the day to change that.
Here’s the best part— when we start respecting ourselves, others learn to respect us as well.
Communicate Honestly and Respectfully
One key ingredient when having a difficult or uncomfortable conversation is effective communication. We must be cautious not to accuse, but rather, state how we feel, what we don’t like and perhaps suggest what we’d like going forward.
Equally important is our delivery: Mind the tone. Speak slowly (otherwise we end up saying things we don’t mean). Avoid long speeches. Keep it simple and straight to the point.
Focus on Solution
It’s important that we focus on the way forward. We must be clear about the kind of treatment we expect. While it matters that we communicate how the person’s behaviour has hurt us, we must keep in mind that the most important thing is the solution to the situation. I think, we will do good not to dwell on how the person has offended us. A piece of advice I have found useful in such situations is that the person we are talking to must get the sense that we believe that they can do better and the relationship can survive from whatever setback.
When I mastered enough courage to have this difficult conversation, two great things happened. One, I felt really good about staying true to myself. Secondly, I got a wonderful response I didn’t expect! He said, “Thank you for teaching me how to love you better.”
Love and Light,
Tweet Me: @Nono_Cele
Email me: email@example.com