Did you know that no one can disrespect you?
That’s right! No one can disrespect us. When we feel disrespected, what is actually happening is that we take their words or actions personally and we choose to feel disrespected. We assign to our response feelings like invalidation or disrespect. In actuality, we are not. I will tell you why.
You’ve probably heard it before, but it is absolutely true: P
Learning to not take things personally is so important to our mental well-being and happiness. And when we think people are being disrespectful, invalidating, or rejecting, that is when we are taking their behaviors personally and we make their behaviors about us. Their behaviors are not about us. It may feel like people are acting a certain way because of us, but the way people act is always because of them.
When we feel disrespected, this is our cue to start reframing the situation for clarity and perspective. Instead of taking things personally and feeling bad about ourselves, we need to change our thinking to find perspective, objectivity, and clarity.
I used to feel disrespected all the time, like I didn’t matter, and people put me last or trampled my boundaries. We can feel very low cultivate a lot of negative thinking about ourselves when we have this perspective. This is not good for perpetuating a solid sense of self, healthy self-esteem, or positive self-image.
We need to protect ourselves from the
emotional hurt and invalidation. What I have found is that when I am able to
not take hurtful actions personally and instead reframe the experience, it
helps me cope with the ways people can be unaware or hurtful.
Not having the situation be about me makes it easier to maintain perspective, distance, and detachment. How do you do this? Instead of claiming disrespect, detach from that idea and reframe the situation in terms of how the disrespectful person was behaving. Your thought process is no longer, “They were disrespectful to me, which hurt my feelings!” Instead, it’s, “They were being rude,” “They were acting like a jerk,” “They were being insensitive,” or even “They were being disrespectful” (and here’s the important part) “…but that is a poor reflection of them and not hurtful to me.” Again, the key here is, “that is not hurtful to me.”
The most important dynamic in human behavior and healthy relationships is creating and maintaining boundaries, in my opinion. Boundaries allow clarity, perspective, and detachment because they keep us in a safe space and separated from what crosses our boundaries and creates hurt or anger.