Wild & Precious
"Your one wild and precious life”* is sacred. Protect it with everything you’ve got.
If one does not foster the circumstances that encourage honor and respect from others, then one is encouraging circumstances that will allow for diminishment, disparagement, disregard of oneself.
Old habits die hard. Allowing mistreatment to become a habit makes it more and more difficult to break that habitual behavior in another. It also becomes harder to break our own habit of expecting less.
Human beings are pliant. We can get used to anything. But that doesn’t mean we should.
Human beings are pliant. We can get used to anything. But that doesn’t mean we should. We must train others to treat us in the manner in which we wish to be treated. Otherwise they will become accustomed to treating us as they desire to do so. Which is usually by default: their set way of being, of doing, of acting in the world. It’s their unconscious manner. Their autonomic behavior toward others, which is a reflection of their attitude about themselves.
We can elevate our own status by establishing the type of treatment we deserve from others. The first way to do this is to treat ourselves well. We can’t honestly and fully honor another unless we know what it feels like to honor ourselves, to pamper ourselves, to cater to our own needs, to feel pampered, to feel taken care of, to feel dignified and respected.
In setting our own example, we are establishing the blueprint for how we wish to be treated. How we insist on being treated. For anything less than we deserve should be rejected. Anything that meets our standard should be accepted with gratitude, with grace.
Trading oneself for another — one’s standards for another’s — is a foolhardy endeavor. Suffering at the expense of others — letting them transgress your boundaries—is unhealthy. It should make you angry. Furious. And that ire is a sign your thresholds have been crossed.
If we don’t set our own standard, then the standard will be set by another. Usually the standard by which they treat themselves. And far too many treat themselves poorly. They don’t feel they deserve much so they don’t expect much and they don’t receive much.
So set your own standard. Raise the bar. Be the example for how others should be treating you AND for how others deserve to be treated themselves. No matter how high or low we set our expectations, they are usually met.
Your one life is “wild and precious.” Don’t allow yourself to be treated by another’s standards. When you do, it’s not their fault, it’s their default, which is just your own fault.
©TW Hawk 2017. All Rights Reserved.
*excerpt from "The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver