I used to feel hurt when people invalidated my feelings, crossed my boundaries, and treated me like I didn’t matter. I’ve learned to reframe my experiences and not take things personally anymore. It’s their problem—not mine!
A Hard Truth
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: People’s actions are a reflection of the person they are. They are projecting their behavior onto us.
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.
Reframing “Disrespect” for Clarity
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.”
It All Comes Back to Boundaries
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.
Debbie Jacobs is an advocate, writer, and healing specialist living in Alexandria, Virginia. She lived most of her adult life with a diagnosis of depression and anxiety, and then was diagnosed with bipolar. She speaks out on how self-improvement is life improvement and believes we all can live happy lives by making positive changes to ourselves. Her influences are Louise Hay, Napoleon Hill, Les Brown, and Tony Robbins. She does positivity life coaching and is in the process of writing her first book on her healing process of accomplishing positive thinking, positive effective coping skills, and healthy self-esteem—what she calls “freedom and happiness.” She shares her work to motivate, inspire, and help others make positive changes to themselves for their freedom and happiness, too.
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