When I was younger, I would tell myself a list of things I would never accept or allow. Through life’s experiences though, I found myself accepting all of the things I once said I never would. Age has matured me and times have changed. This is why you should never accept less than you deserve.
You Teach People How To Treat You
It’s an age-old saying, but one that rings true to me now. When you allow certain behaviours, it teaches people that they can treat you poorly without consequence. If you have clear boundaries to set on how you want to be treated, set them early and maintain them.
If you want people to respect your boundaries, stick to them. Easier said than done, but it will save a lifetime of issues and disappointment if you maintain your stance early on.
Life Can Alter Your Tolerance
While you set boundaries and say you would never accept less than you deserve, life can get in the way.
After moving in with my partner of almost a year, my mother suddenly passed away. This caused a lot of issues in my relationship. The relationship was turbulent, to say the least, and emotional and physical abuse ensued.
The younger me always said I would never ever tolerate any form of domestic violence, yet in the depths of despair over losing my mother, I found myself tolerating it and blaming myself for it occurring.
Fast forward several years and I now know that it wasn’t my fault nor was it ever my fault. I also now know that I made a huge mistake tolerating it, one that took a toll on me mentally, emotionally and physically.
Accepting less than we deserve can have consequences far beyond the consequences that occur at that moment. Once a person has a gauge on what you will accept, it is extremely difficult to then change that stance and refuse to accept it any longer.
The self-loathing and shame that comes with accepting something so appalling can remain with you for a lifetime.
Never Let Anyone Tell You Your Beliefs Are Wrong
I always said that I would never tolerate smoking, this was always a deal-breaker for me. However, when I found myself in a relationship with a “reformed smoker” I realised just how difficult it can be to walk away.
10 years down the track, my now husband is still smoking. Partly, I see this as my fault. I compromised by allowing him to smoke on special occasions, thinking this was the right thing to do. What it ultimately did was allow the boundaries to be pushed further and further, until smoking at home almost daily became the norm.
It is something my husband and I have never agreed upon. He doesn’t see smoking as a big deal and doesn’t understand the impact it has on me.
You see, my mother developed Oesophageal cancer when I was 14. She almost died from it, however through sheer strength, determination and advances in medical treatment, she survived.
She was used as a case study in lectures due to her “miraculous survival.” Her cancer was caused by an underlying issue with her Oesophagus but exacerbated by her smoking in her early years and my fathers heavy smoking.
While my mother survived her cancer, the treatment caused immense damage to her lungs and heart. She developed pneumonia at 55 years of age and died from a massive heart attack as a result of the pneumonia. With only one functioning lung and a weak heart, she just couldn’t survive it.
My father, a very heavy smoker his entire life, developed stomach cancer, also when I was in my teens. He survived that only to develop lung cancer a few years later, which ultimately claimed his life at 49 years of age.
My disgust with smoking steams from these life events. Life events that shape your belief system. A belief system I should’ve stuck to, but didn’t.
As a result, I am in an ever-losing battle with my husband over his smoking. A battle I fear is too far gone to win.
The Consequences Of Lowering Your Standards
Ultimately, I allowed far more than I ever thought I would. Now, 10 years into my marriage, 10 years more life experience behind me, I’ve had enough. I have drawn a line in the sand and said no more.
But, after 10 years of tolerance, drawing a line and saying you will no longer accept poor behaviour is difficult.
Firstly, the other person doesn’t believe you. And why would they? After all this time, you will just cave and again tolerate the behaviour, as you always have. Asking someone to now believe that you won’t tolerate certain behaviours is difficult for them to comprehend.
Secondly, changing behaviour that is so ingrained can be very difficult and perhaps, somewhat impossible. The temptation to continue the behaviour, believing that the years of tolerance will continue can undermine any chance of change.
The Decision – Stay Or Leave?
Ultimately, if the other person will not respect your boundaries and stay within them, then you have two choices. Compromise again and tolerate the behaviours or leave.
For me, I have drawn a firm line in the sand. I will never again accept less than I deserve. If only I had set these boundaries early and stuck to them, things might be different.
Do you have a similar story to tell? Share your stories with me, I’d love to hear them!
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