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The Golden Rule of Relationships: Understanding 'We Teach People How to Treat Us'

By Kshama Singhi

In the world of relationships, there's a simple but powerful rule: "We teach people how to treat us." This rule is like a key that can help us have better connections with others. 

I've always been an independent woman. Being married for nearly a decade taught me a big lesson: the importance of boundaries.

Growing up in an Indian culture, women were told they should sacrifice for their families and take responsibility to keep the family together. But no one explained how. We were left to figure it out ourselves, relying on what we saw in media and books. 

I made mistakes. There were times I wasn't treated well or made fun of by my ex-husband’s family. He would even said mean things about me behind my back, and I let it slide, thinking I was keeping the peace.

But was I really?

Small issues started piling up leading to growing resentment, and I felt less and less valued. Instead of standing up for myself, I accepted it as normal.

It was only after my marriage ended that I realised my mistake. I understood that by not standing up for my own needs and feelings, I had inadvertently taught him that it was acceptable to treat me poorly. I lacked boundaries and allowed myself to be treated like a doormat.

Here are some lessons I learned:

The Power of Saying No:

One big part of this rule is learning to say no when something doesn't feel right. When we say no to things that hurt us, we're teaching others to respect us.

Knowing Your Worth:

It's crucial to recognise our own value. In my marriage, I prioritised everyone else over myself—my ex-husband, my daughter, my in-laws. But now, I understand that I'm just as important as anyone else. If I'm not happy, I can't make anyone else happy either. When we believe in ourselves, we naturally expect others to treat us well. This belief helps us establish healthy boundaries in our relationships.

Talking Things Out:

Effective communication is essential. We should have open, honest conversations with others about our feelings and needs. Saying 'No' doesn't always lead to arguments; it's about expressing how we feel when someone does or says something and asking them not to do it again. This approach helps build relationships where everyone feels respected.

Having Healthy Standards:

We should have standards for how we're treated. This means not putting up with people who treat us badly and surrounding ourselves with people who make us feel good.

Remembering the golden rule of relationships—"We teach people how to treat us"—can significantly impact our lives. Understanding this rule empowers us and reminds us that we have control over our relationships. By using it wisely, we show that we value ourselves and make choices that lead to positive and respectful connections with others. Let's embrace this rule and use it to build stronger, happier relationships.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also find my free e-book on '7 Habits for Creating Healthy, Long-lasting Relationships' interesting.


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