The Simple Life

Teach Others How To Treat You

I had never thought of the truth of this statement till about 3 weeks ago. At this point in my life I am honest about where I am and how I feel and I want to know why that is so. In the process of life, I wondered why certain people have wonderful, blooming lives and others are sorely lacking in the same and I discovered it is all about how they respond to others and how others treat them. Let me explain.

I know of a young lady, the third child of her parents and as many other third born’s know life was never easy. Her birth order has made a great difference in her life because of the challenges around her. One of the greatest lessons she learnt early was how to be good to people and get what she need out of them through negotiation and kindness. Life taught her early to talk to people and to deal with things on her own. This helped her hone her ability to get out of any jam she found herself in. The skills she learnt as a child allowed her to be recognised for leadership and preferential treatment since her youth. She had great potential to achieve big things.

Over the years she has made great strides in life and stood with people and helped many sort out their issues. Irony is that in the midst of all this she grew and loved life and had a blast then one day it fell apart. Work, life and motherhood weighed down on her and life became harder than she ever thought it could. When she reached out for help and there was no one there. No one could understand her and even worse, no one believed her pain. No one ever expected her to need support and strengthening. No one knew how to talk to her in pain. The day the struggle hit she held her head high and walked on but after a couple of months of that it came crumbling down on day and she could no longer walk tall but no one noticed. She disappeared from the social groups and no one questioned. When she realised no one was coming she reached out but no one knew what to say….isn’t it ironic? Her past strength became her downfall.

I have spent many days talking and thinking about her and as I have done this, I realise that we albeit unknowingly, teach people how to treat us. If we are super capable and strong, they learn to let us do everything. If we are needy, others learn to avoid us. The world adjusts to the cues we send out and makes the appropriate responses to our behaviour. I had a hard time dealing with this for a while but recently I understood that relationships need to be conditional. God loves all but we must choose to believe to allow him the opportunity to change our lives and those around us. It got me thinking about how I have taught people to treat me. Do those around me know:

  • What is important to me?
  • That I need to be sought after just as I seek them out?
  • What is my love language? What makes me feel loved?
  • That friendship is a two-way street?

I am learning to tell those who matter what it takes to be good friend and I believe this is changing my life one day at a time. I need to let people know that I am a good friend but I also need to be sought out and reminded that others think of me. I need to re-educate my social circle about my needs. How about you? Do you need to teach those around you how to treat you?

The Simple Life

Managing this life

Life…despite all the challenges and the highpoints, I love life and am glad to be here and have the opportunity to make a difference. As a big part of my life, I love to journal and have done so for many years and it has changed my life. Whether I am feeling out of sorts with myself or have had a really exciting day, I pick up my journal and off I go one key stroke at a time to fill page after page. It is like talking to a close friend except this friend doesn’t really answer back. Well, that is may not be entirely true. You see, when I write and interact with the questions at hand, my mind begins to develop options and solutions for the problems. Stange huh? The most interesting part of it for me is that at the end of it all, I am fresher and freer and can now make clear headway. Hey don’t write me off yet! I have not lost it. I just found a way to deal with the challenges in life. Have you ever journaled? Have you ever felt that rush? It is surreal.

I sat with a friend recently and as we talked, I had so much to say about where I was at in life because I understood myself. This has been a season fraught with challenges and uncertainy so what a relief when in the midst of it all I could answer really hard questions about me and where I am at. The scary bit is that so often I get to the place where I know what I need to do but it is so radical that I cannot begin to do it. Then fear sets in and I don’t do anything. It is sometimes laughable and others heart rending.

For instance, several years ago I was reading past entries in my journal and I reached a major turning point. I was reading a portion from five years before and I realised that there was an issue I had been upset about then and had once again complained about in my journal just that week. How could it be that five years later I was still complaining about the same thing in the same tone? Did that mean I had not grown or moved on or was I stuck? It took me aback to realise that it was possible that I was stuck in one place. This let me to a drastic decision to solve the issue at hand immediately.

Every so often I find something that I have not moved on from and I get the energy and sense of urgency to deal with it. I like the sense of assessment my journal gives me. It allows me to look back to the things I am going through and find peace and rest in the midst of it all. Additionally it allows me to see areas of repeat failings that need outside assitance to overcome. I have found my place of stability and sanity.

Even as I say this I realise that not all of us ar able to journal and find the kind of refreshment I find in my journalling. One of my friends put it well when she said the reason she wouldn’t journal is because she doesn’t want to be reminded where she failed. I understand her yet know that I need to be able to look at all options and make sure I am on the right track. I know journalling is not a global solution rather it is for a select few. So it begs the question: how do you deal with the internal questions and struggles? How do you find the answers to the things that bother you?