Patience is a virtue.
But what about when we can’t decipher if it’s, in fact, patience or instead, being taken advantage of?
What if our patience is really codependence? Fear? Low self-esteem??
What if we just aren’t able to set healthy boundaries and we’re allowing poor treatment?
What if our exhaustion, frustration, and building anger have nothing to do with patience and everything to do with enabling?
I used to wonder this myself?
In my case, it didn’t help that some of my friends would question me straight out: “What are you doing?? Why do you allow this??”
“This” could mean any number of things from accepting harsh words, inappropriate, neglectful or hurtful behavior, excessive requests and demands, to not asking for my needs to be met.
Or maybe it did affect me.
Maybe I’d just gotten so used to bad treatment that my standards were too low; that some attention was better than none at all.
I began asking myself: “How did I let things get so far out of balance? Am I too porous in my boundaries? Do I tolerate too much?
It didn’t help that growing up my grandmother taught me: “That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also…”
I took that to believe if you slap me, I should let you slap me again just on the other side. If you steal my coat, I should also give you my shoes.
Under closer inspection, I discovered this passage from the Bible really means that once you’ve seen someone’s true colors, believe it. It is not about being passive, helpless, and meek. It is not about allowing abuse, neglect, or continued betrayals. It also doesn’t mean you need to fix and rescue those who slap you around.
It means to surrender to what is because “it is what it is”.
Step out of denial and see the truth.
In other words: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Wisdom showed me that I had been disabling people by enabling them. I had also been disabling myself! I taught people how to treat me by not speaking up . . . by not saying anything (or at least, not the truth) . . . and by actually inviting them back over after they’d hurt me and apologized for the 100th time.
I was not only contributing to their poor behavior, I was encouraging it.
Truth be told, maybe I was avoiding things. Sticking my head in the sand, hoping it would get better. Hoping they would get better if I just “loved” them enough.
Or maybe, I was hoping they would see how loveable I was by me tolerating their drama and dysfunction.
Rarely did my style work. Not for the long-term.
My life was an emotional rollercoaster.
Here’s the bottom line:
Being a martyr isn’t enlightened.
Being a victim isn’t empowered.
Being a pushover isn’t pretty.
Being passive-aggressive is even uglier.
I had to learn that when I was being bullied or manipulated to turn the other cheek . . . and keep on walking.
I didn’t need vengeance. I needed self-love, dignity, and self-respect.
The minute we begin to feel angry, resentful, letdown and/or exhausted, we need to take a time out for self-inventory.
We need to reflect on what we were taught about “healthy relationships” versus “porous and rigid boundaries”. (I’ve already written a blog about this that I highly encourage you to visit: http://www.crystalandrus.com/healthy-boundaries-create-healthy-relationships/)
In the meantime, only you can decide if your “Well of Tolerance” is actually a “Well of Peace” or a “Well of Passivity”. You’ll know by how you feel. Passivity is exhausting. Peace is invigorating.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s blog. I’ll be sure to respond!
Plus, don’t forget if you’re looking for a way out of your own helpless or seemingly hopeless situation, my one-day Simply…Woman Retreat or 12-Week TeleCourse may be exactly what you need. (It all begins January 29th, 2014.)
P.S. If you haven’t yet received my empowering 7 daily mp3s to help you ‘crystalize your dreams’, I’d love to share them with you. Head back up to the top right of this page to sign up!