Authentic Responsibility #14: I am responsible to require courtesy and respect toward me.
For three years, I worked in a hostile office environment with two insecure superiors who did not like each other. In addition, they spent many days belittling everyone in the office to make themselves feel better. One of my superiors especially loved calling out mistakes in front of other people in the office to make herself look and feel smarter. After three long years of being belittled, I decided that enough was enough. She called me out over something small in front of office visitors, and I took my stand. I told her that she was being rude and disrespectful and that when I made a mistake, she could quietly point it out to me instead of being so rude and condescending. This simple move made my last few weeks in the position more manageable, and I received better treatment from this coworker as a result.
President Obama may not know how to spell it, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t require it for yourself! Mark 12:31 says, “You should love your neighbor as yourself.” Loving yourself—requiring respect for yourself—is an important commandment from the Lord that we should follow. So here are the ABCs of requiring courtesy and respect for yourself:
- Ask from the start. The moment someone disrespects you (or shortly after), you should deal with it to avoid any future problems. My coworker had treated me like this since day one, and because she treated everyone this way, I allowed it. This was my fault, and I was very frustrated for three years in my job because of it. I let my coworker believe that her behavior was acceptable! However, had I addressed it from the beginning, it may have led to a more peaceful working environment and a better relationship with this coworker. When you require respect from the beginning, you can build a base on which relationships thrive.
- Be strong and courageous. It can be hard to tell someone that you don’t like the way they treat you. However, the Lord is with us wherever we go (Joshua 1:9)—even into difficult conversations with people about how they behave toward us. Although I addressed my coworker’s behavior late, I still received the strength I needed to speak firmly and boldly to her about her actions. You can have that same power behind you through prayer and a close relationship with Christ. The Bible says that His grace is enough for us and that His power is perfected in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). So boldly go into His presence and then have that hard conversation about getting the respect and courtesy you deserve.
- Care for others like you want them to care for you. Mark 12:31 is an instruction about how we are to be treated as well as how we are to treat others. My coworker expected nothing but respect from me; however, when I called her out on her behavior, she left the office crying. She wanted to be able to disrespect me but be respected herself. We must remember that to get the respect and love we deserve, we have to treat others with that same respect and love. It may not come back to us through them, but it will return to us! Practice what you preach: begin to show more love and honor in your relationships (but with proper boundaries).
All relationships are a two-way street, but with proper boundaries, you can be authentically responsible and require the respect and courtesy that you deserve!
How do you require respect and courtesy toward yourself?