If I Were My Child

When it comes to my children (or my spouse, close friends, family members, or even my pets), I have some pretty strong ideas about how I want them to be treated, how they should treat and care for themselves, and how ultimately valuable, beautiful, and wonderful they are. I will get right up on my mother-tiger high-horse with exclamations of, “you don’t deserve to be treated like that,” “you should have better,” “you need to stand up for your rights,” and so on.

For better or worse, it seems to be more difficult to apply the same standards to myself.  When I have the sense that I’m being treated poorly, taken advantage of, etc. (even by myself), my first response is to assume that I somehow deserve it, or that it’s not really as big of a problem as I’m making it, or that I have unreasonable expectations.  What’s up with that? And then, I drive the people that I am very close to crazy by whining and complaining about how I’m being treated (or treating myself) instead of doing anything about it.

So, I’m working from a new strategy.  When I start to feel like I’m being disrespected or mistreated in a way that is not acceptable, I’m trying to sit down and really examine the situation from the perspective of a parent.  I ask myself, “If that was my child, what would I think about her being treated that way?  What would I tell her to do about it?

It’s a new project, so I’m going to have to let you know how it works.  Maybe it will be a dismal failure.  But, maybe it won’t.  Ultimately, I want those I love to be treated with kindness, dignity, and respect, even by me.  It’s not too much to want for myself.

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