Want Respect? Respect Yourself First.

I talk to a lot of clients that are unhappy with the friends and partners they attract.  They feel the people around them often want to take advantage in some way.  It can be emotionally, physically, financially…it doesn’t matter how.  No matter how much they do for their friends, they don’t get treated well in return.

Unfortunately there are people that don’t believe in returning kindness with kindness.  They actually want to take advantage of people.  Sometimes consciously and sometimes it is just a learned behavior or pattern.  But either way, those people are usually good at finding people that they can take advantage of.  And when you work so hard to please others that you stop respecting our own beliefs and boundaries, then others do, too. When you don’t expect others to respect your boundaries, you will attract people that want to capitalize on that. Exactly the kind of people that you don’t want to attract.

The flaw is believing that the only reason people will like you is because of what you can do for them. In order to try to do that you become overly-accommodating. And doing that can have the opposite effect of what you want.  Because there are people who respect and seek out people that respect themselves.  They want friends who know their own boundaries and expect others to honor those boundaries.  They want friends that have opinions and beliefs and can be okay disagreeing.  In other words, they want to have a relationship built on respect.

So by making an effort to be liked by everyone, by not setting and maintaining personal boundaries you actually make yourself unattractive to some people.  In fact, it may be the people you most want to attract…the people who want to respect you but don’t because you don’t respect yourself.  Kindness should be returned with kindness.  But it only happens in a relationship with respect and care.

So don’t fall into the trap of trying to get everyone to like you by giving up who you are.  It doesn’t work. You’ll attract exactly the people you don’t want to attract. Start looking at it differently.  Try attracting people that treat you the way you want by treating yourself that way first.  If you treat yourself that way the people you want around you will find you.

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About awentherapy

I am Jay Blevins, LMFT (www.awentherapy.com). I am a licensed systems therapist with a private practice in Madison, WI. While I work with individuals and partners around a wide variety of issues, my primary focus in on alternative relationship structures, alternative sex and sexuality, and power dynamics. I am a contributor to various relationship and sexuality blogs and publications and have been a frequent presenter at alternative lifestyle events and psychotherapy conferences.
This entry was posted in Authentic Self, Awen Therapy, Change, Compromise, Identity, Nice, Patterns, Relationships, Respect, Therapy and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Want Respect? Respect Yourself First.

  1. This is so, so true & very well put, here. Thanks… it was a nice reminder for me.

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