This week I had a conversation with a member of my online community, Angela, who was struggling with her boss. It turns out he has a bad habit of criticizing her in front of co-workers and often loses his temper, stomping around the office and slamming things on his desk.
Angela wanted to know how to better handle the situation so she didn’t dread going to work every day.
As I listened to her describe how this man behaved, I thought to myself, “Never in a million years would I tolerate that kind of behavior.”
But that wasn’t always the case.
In the past, before I learned to take good care of myself, I often tolerated people lying, yelling, or belittling me in front of others. Oftentimes I put up with the craziness because I was dumbfounded at how an adult could behave so outrageously. Their audacity would stun me into silence and leave me confused about what to do.
Today I rarely, if ever, find myself in the company of people who behave this way. That’s one of the great benefits of practicing extreme self-care – when you raise your standards, your energy follows – the energy that draws experiences and people to you.
While on the outside it looked like Angela’s problem was with her boss, I actually saw the situation differently. Angela had lost her dignity and needed help finding it again.
Dignity is an interesting word. The dictionary defines it as the state or quality of being worthy of honor and respect; someone who carries herself well. Dignity is one’s ability to stand tall in the truth of who she is. It’s not about pride or ego, it’s a natural state of being one possesses, when she respects and values herself.
As you take the risk to set boundaries, to speak up for what you need, and to invest the time and energy necessary to build a healthy, solid relationship with yourself, you’ll naturally start to raise your self-esteem. And, as you do, you’ll begin to hold yourself in a way that commands respect. Not only that, your restored dignity will radiate out into the world, letting others know what they can and can’t get away with in your company.
While I would have loved to give Angela a simple answer to her dilemma at work, the truth is there’s no quick fix. We all develop patterns and behaviors throughout our lives that need to be lovingly explored and unraveled. The best step Angela could take was to get into therapy. In my experience, we must go back in time to discover where our dignity was lost in order to find it again. And this personal adventure takes time and guidance.
Many years ago, one of my treasured mentors, Marion Woodman, said that when she struggled with self-care, she would remind herself that she was “every inch a Queen.”
I have that quote posted in my office and I turn to it when I need a reminder to reclaim my dignity. Because when you remember your royal nature, you no longer tolerate inappropriate behavior. Instead, you expect and accept treatment fit for a Queen – a healthy, loving and gracious Queen.
I referred Angela to the Psychology Today website to find a therapist near her. I’ve found this international resource to be so helpful and supportive. If you need to reclaim your dignity, you may want to check it out. You can find it here.
PS – Our October “Self Care by the Sea” retreat is now open for registration and it’s already half full. You can learn more about this special weekend experience, here.
PPS – I’ll be on Facebook Live this week on Wednesday, July 10th at 6pm EST/3pm PST. You can view past shows on my YouTube channel at CherylRichardsonTV here.
Need a little Divine Direction? Use the “Touch of Grace” button on our homepage here.