Ever heard the phrase, “You teach people how to treat you.”?
I hadn’t heard it until about a year ago when I began the process of learning to love myself and falling in love with myself. It took me a while to embrace this concept because I would always just accept how people treated me no matter what because I was fearful of being on my own or alone. This was in both relationships and friendships.
When I made the decision to change how I lived my life, one of my biggest self-projects was removing people who felt that they could pop in and out of my life as they pleased or treat me any kind of way. (Now this mostly pertains to guys that I dated or had some type of history with, but some friends as well.) I also needed to remove or re-train friend/relationships with those who felt like they could hit me up at the last minute to do something. I never liked feeling like an afterthought, though I tolerated it and usually obliged, it made feel like I wasn’t worth reaching out to early. Or I gave off the vibe that I didn’t have a life and would literally jump at the chance to hang out.
Once I finally, finally got tired of feeling this way, I started laying down these personal laws and making sure that I followed them and making sure that those who tried to break my personal laws either understand that I know how I deserve to be treated and won’t stand for anything less or that they can kick rocks.
I hadn’t really thought much about this because for the most part I have really stuck to these personal laws. Now, quickly, let me explain, I’m not against spontaneity or random unplanned hangouts. I’m against people who try to jerk me around and don’t value my time or friendship enough to be consistent in our friendship or relationship.
The event that transpired that made me feel compelled to write about this issue is this:
Literally, two nights ago, a guy that I’d dated back in like 2009 for around 7 months and haven’t seen since the summer of 2010 and who I’ve had all of 6 conversations with since then texted me out of the blue asking how I was doing. Fine, cool, whatever. It was late, so I responded the next day and told him that I was doing awesome and asked how he was doing. He responded like 8 hours later and proceeds to tell me that he now has a new baby and that he didn’t mean “to drop a bomb on me”. I was a little shocked, but of course told him congratulations and that I was happy for him which is the absolute truth. I’ve moved on. We spent the better part of the text conversation catching up. Fine, cool, whatever. And THEN he drops a line that he’s said in some form at the end of every conversation we’ve had since I last saw him 3 years ago, “we should hang out.”
Now, I’m literally one of the chillest people you will ever meet. I seriously only have one ex that I’m not cool with, I’ve been able to maintain a casual friendship with pretty much all of my exes and am always down to hang out and catch up with them. But this guy finally rubbed me the wrong way with that statement because he’d always say this and I’d always agree to it and then 8 months would go by and surprise surprise I’d get a random “how are you doing?” text.
So, was I surprised when I got this text the other day? No. Was I surprised when he brought up the possibility of us hanging out? No. Did I respond with my usual and excited, “For sure, let’s do it, just let me know.”? HELL NO! It has been 3 years, we didn’t end on bad terms by any means and if you couldn’t manage to hang out with me as a single indvidual, do I look foolish enough to believe that now that you have a baby that it will actually happen? Come on dude. Get real!
I finally worked up the courage to tell him, someone who I always had a soft spot for, not to bother saying that because it’s usually followed by 8 months of not speaking and frankly I don’t need anyone in my life who can’t be bothered to keep his/her word. And that we don’t have to hang out and that I genuinely appreciated him checking up on me. I didn’t say it in a mean way, I said it in a firm way that I’m sure he understood seeing as it has been an entire 24 hours and he hasn’t responded and probably never will and I’m comfortable with the idea of never talking to him again.
Not because I’m angry or upset, but because I’ve made peace with myself not NEEDING anyone. I care about him as a person and as someone I considered a good friend many years ago, but I also care about my own feelings and not being jerked around by someone who knows firsthand just how caring of a person that I am.
I laid down my personal law even when it was hard and I wanted to do the opposite. And it felt good.
I also embrace the concept that the best way to hold onto anything or anyone is to let go. And just like that, I let it go and in turn got the closure that I won’t pretend I didn’t want.
And guess what, my life didn’t end. The world didn’t stop turning. I’m still happy.
That’s the awesome thing about identifying and laying down your personal law(s) is putting them into action and attracting people into your life who appreciate and value your time and also re-affirming how much you love and respect your own self.
I won’t lie, sometimes it’s hard and I’ve broken some of my personal laws, it is what it is, I’m human, but I’m also getting better and the quality of people that I have in my life right now is better than it has ever been.
When you’re scared of being alone you will accept anybody and being treated any kind of way. When you embrace being alone or having only a few people in your life, quantity becomes one of the most trivial aspects of your life.
I am a good person and people who have treated me poorly always come back because they know I’m a good person. I am a forgiving person and am open to trying to re-establish old friendships, but only if my personal laws are respected and followed, if the person screws up then that’s it for good.
Get comfortable with letting go, that’s the first step to attracting the people who are actually good for you.
Love yourself enough to lay down your personal laws and love yourself enough to stick them and then BOOM, 91% of sadness derived from how people treat you suddenly disappears!
PS: Only those people who are good to me consistently get my spontaneity!