What if I do and say all the “right” things, but people still treat me like garbage. Chances are that if you are reading my blog, you are tired of staying quiet while you endure mistreatment from others. Whether it’s in the form of a passive-aggressive remark, invasive question, or an obvious insult, it’s fair to say that you want it to stop.

There are a million self-help gurus out there who will try to sell you on the ONE surefire way to “shut down haters” or the ULTIMATE guide to deal with energy vampires and the like. I am here to tell you that I am not one of them.

I don’t believe in quick fixes. Maybe this is not what you wanted to hear and I am ok with that. There are plenty of coaches and gurus who you can follow instead.

So how do I deal with being mistreated by “toxic” people??

Simple. I stop worrying about being mistreated by “toxic” people.

You see, I don’t measure my success based on other people’s reactions to me. I also don’t measure my worth by what other people say to and about me. Therefore when people mistreat me, I don’t think to myself “Gosh, I guess assertiveness is useless”. Instead, I think “That person is hurting. They are not feeling in control of their lives so they are attempting to exert control over me. Worse yet, they probably aren’t even aware that this is what they are doing”

Realizing this, I then think “How can I be compassionate towards their situation, while respecting my own dignity?” There is no guarantee that when I shift my focus in this way that the other person will change; however, there is a guarantee that I will act in alignment with my own values which will always be a win to me. This is where my sense of confidence in myself comes from. It comes from the knowledge that no matter what other people do or don’t do, I have value.

This realization gave me so much freedom in my life. I stopped relying on scripts, lines, or social manipulation techniques to convince others of the fact they should respect me. Nor did I give in to a feeling of helplessness and defeat. No, the freedom that I have is the freedom to be in the moment-not stewing about the past or dreading the future.

It took me a while to develop this unattached and unaffected mindset but when I did, my whole life changed.

I stopped kicking myself for saying “the wrong thing” or replaying conversations that took place in the past over and over again. Finally, I could have a full night’s rest now that I no longer had to waste time plotting the perfect come back to real or perceived slights.

Often people think that assertiveness only works when the other person’s behaviour changes. This is far from the point. Sure, in many cases when we show up differently, other people may react differently to us. The truth is that being assertive is less to do with changing other people’s behaviour and more about aligning our own actions with our values. That’s where real confidence comes from-not some script, method, or line.

When you start to act from the assumption that you have value as a person and that that this value does not change depending on how others treat you, you will start to notice that your decisions will be different. Being assertive will come as second nature. All those people who used to mistreat you, well, they probably won’t cross your path so often anymore. You will make different choices about how and with whom you spend your time. You may choose different friends, maybe even a different workplace, or different partners but for sure different thoughts. You will no longer be quite so attached to what others do to you or say about you and you will have a greater feeling of control over your life.

When let go of the need to control your environment (which we never really can if 2020 has taught us anything) we get this grounded firmness that cannot be store-bought and which radiates out to any would-be detractors that you are NOT easy prey.

Will you still have the occasional bad day? Sure. Will people still test you? That’s an inevitability. However, when they do, you will have the vision to see that their treatment of you is really more a reflection of them than of your value and you’ll stop trying to control them.

Assertiveness is not about controlling others, it’s about taking responsibility for yourself.

If this sounds like something you are ready to do but don’t know where to start, feel free to request a free consultation call to see how working with me may be useful to you on your journey to assertiveness and self-confidence.

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