Only I can teach others how they can and cannot treat me.
Interesting statement, isn’t it? But when it sinks in, it makes a good deal of sense.
Like many other women, I have stories of mean girl dealings. The only season that left a major mark on my growing up was in 7th grade. The whole year there was this girl who, if I’m being honest, was ruthless. Purely for her own satisfaction, because I (much like I am now) am far from confrontational or dramatic. Thankfully, my mom and I had a close relationship and when I told her about these happenings, she gave me advice I will never forget: in situations like that, the bully wants the satisfaction of knowing they get under your skin, offend you, hurt you, tear you down, shake you… if you don’t give them that, don’t show them that, they’ll stop (or at least be shocked, and later get bored).
As I’ve grown older and matured relationally, that advice is still relevant, but now has an added element: I can’t control someone else’s behavior, but I can control how I respond. I can also determine how those behaviors will impact or not impact my life. I teach them how they can and cannot treat me based on what I allow them to do, and often that comes from what I believe about myself.
I have the freedom to choose.
I have the Holy Spirit inside me to guide me in speech and action.
I have the wisdom to define myself by who God has made me to be – not by the things people say, think, or believe about me. Someone once told me that I owe it to myself to take care of myself as much as God loves me.