When people treat us unfairly, we often feel like they are treating us as less than human or as a less important than other people. This kind of treatment can cause us to doubt our worth and value as a person.
We cannot control people’s behavior when they treat us unfairly, but we can learn how to respond to unfair treatment in a way that extends compassion to ourselves and strengthens our heart against the pain this kind of treatment can bring.
Here are four things you can do when people treat you unfairly:
First, recognize that you are only required to do your best. People often have unrealistic expectations for us, and when we fail to live up to these expectations, they subject us to anger, shaming, and manipulation.
It is important for us to realize that we are not required to meet every or even any expectations that people have for us. Our purpose in life is not to be what other people think we should be. Our purpose is to be ourselves in the most loving way possible. We do this when we try to be our best selves and treat ourselves and one another with dignity.
We treat ourselves with dignity when we do our best and allow ourselves to be human. Trying our best means that we look at a situation, we try to figure out what a good and moral response to that situation is, and we act in that good and moral way as best as we know how to do.
We do not require perfection of ourselves or others, and we forgive ourselves and others for normal, human mistakes that we all make.
The next time you feel like someone is treating you unfairly because they have unrealistic expectations for you, here is something you can say to yourself: I am not required to meet other people’s expectations, and other people are not required to meet my expectations. We are only required to do our best as far as we understand it.
Second, recognize that you always deserve to be treated with basic respect and dignity, and it is okay for you to stick up for yourself.
Every human being is valuable as an end in themselves. Every human being has the ability to make wise, moral, and compassionate choices and to develop goals, dreams, and plans for making the world a better place. This ability is present in the Wise Self that everyone possesses. (You can read more about the Wise Self here.)
Everyone has the ability to develop this self and to be responsible and independent in a moral way. This is our calling as human beings.
We treat people with dignity and respect when we encourage and support them in their moral projects and treat them with kindness and compassion. We honor people when we recognize that they have a right to live their own life, make their own decisions, to make mistakes, and to try to carry out their life purpose as best as they know how to do so.
People treat us unfairly when they treat us as though our purpose is merely to carry out their goals and plans. We always have a right to stand up to this behavior. We may do this by walking away from the person or by saying, “You may not treat me that way” and then pointing out the bad behavior.
The next time someone ignores your responsibility to direct your own life and tries to manipulate, or push their agenda on you, here is something you can say to yourself: Everyone deserves to be treated with basic respect and dignity. I will treat people with respect and dignity, and I have the right to stand up to people who treat me badly by telling them to stop or by walking away.
Third, realize that you have the right to stop giving real estate in your life to people who mistreat it.
We all have life real estate. Our life real estate is our time and our emotional investment. It is important to realize that we do not have to continue to give our life real estate to people who mistreat it.
If people treat us unfairly, we may try to help them see how they are treating us. However, sometimes even when we explain this to people, they continue to misuse the real estate we have given them because of their own poor life values or their mistaken thinking.
No one automatically deserves real estate in your life. In fact, the real estate of your life is precious because it directly affects how you develop and grow as a person. If someone is mistreating the real estate you have given them, it is time give that real estate to someone else who will treat it well.
Here is something you can say to yourself the next time you feel like someone is mistreating the real estate you have given them: I only give the real estate of my life to people who treat it well and help me grow as a person. I also treat well the real estate that other people give me. If people mistreat the real estate I give them, I will give it to someone else.
Fourth, realize that while there are some people who will treat you unfairly, there are all sorts of people ready to treat you with respect, love, and kindness.
One of the painful parts of life is that there are people whom we love and care about a great deal who, for one reason or another, treat us unfairly. Often, we spend a lot of time and energy trying to get them to treat us how we want to be treated.
Although it is painful when people you care about treat you unfairly, there are all sorts of people in the world who want to treat you with kindness, compassion, and love. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to minimize time around people who treat you unfairly and to seek out the kind of people who will treat you with kindness, compassion, and love. These are the relationships that are going to help you flourish.
The best way to find people who will treat you with kindness, compassion and love is first to treat yourself with kindness, compassion, and love. You can do this by following steps one through three above. When you treat yourself in this manner, you are going to build up a positive emotional storehouse that will naturally start overflowing into the world. This is overflow is kind of like a light that other people who practice kindness, compassion, and love can see, and you will find each other.
Mindsets like kindness, compassion, and love are joining mindsets. People with these mindsets love to join with like-minded people because kindness, compassion, and love are social mindsets that are practiced with and towards other people. So if you begin developing these mindsets, you will soon find yourself surrounded with people who have these mindsets and who treat you lovingly. That is a great place to be in.
The next time you feel like people are treating you unfairly, here is something you can say to yourself: I treat myself with kindness, compassion, and love, and this draws more loving people into my life on a daily basis.
Friend, I am really sorry if people have been treating you unfairly. No one ever deserves to be treated that way. You can’t control how people treat you, but you can control how you respond and the time and space in life you give such people. You deserve love, and love is looking for you.
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