“A man who stands for nothing, will fall for anything”
I’ve always been a superfan of this quote because it pretty much explains my entire personality and belief system. I don’t remember my parents specifically saying these words to me when I was a child, but their actions and teachings wholeheartedly supported the above statement. It’s a great quote, and one of my all time favorite. For those who have never heard it, let me briefly explain my interpretation.
Who I am, is a combination of my heritage, my family, my culture, my education and my personal life experiences. I believe what I believe because of who I AM, and more importantly, who I am NOT. Let’s say you’re not a religious person, but you strongly believe in right v. wrong, justice for all and an equal opportunity life. Then you stand for something. You stand for what’s right, universally. Religion is but one source of belief, and many people believe many things, but in the end, there is a right vs. wrong that our country and many parts of the world built their civilizations upon.
What do you believe in? Ask yourself this. Then, using that belief or set of beliefs, what would you do if someone asked you to believe the opposite? If you’re like me, you’d balk and get the hell outta there, leaving this crazy person in your rearview mirror. What I mean is, you’re not falling for it! You refuse. It’s who you ARE; no one can really challenge that.
So where am I going with this? I’ll get there soon.
I take this quote, and apply it to less complex areas of my life, pointedly to relationships. I’m no political protestor, or vegetarian PETA enthusiast. I’m a simple gal, enjoying life as I know it, and trying to learn something in the process. But I’m a strong believer in who I am and who I want to be. I’m generally open-minded and love to surround myself with different types of people; quiet, reserved personalities, crazy and boisterous extroverts, deep thinkers, artistic eclectics, and normalish individualistic explorers like myself. I love it all. The unknown doesn’t offend me. I readily accept that everyone believes in different things, and one belief does not necessarily trump the other.
But for me and my beliefs, there are certain qualities, characteristics, and traits that I try to avoid being in my personal, private life.
I can’t and won’t try to control what people do around me. Each person has a responsibility to live their life in how they see fit, and so be it. However, I can choose what to put up with in my personal relationships and interactions.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T (find out what it means to me…….lol)
This is it. You don’t have to like me, or be my friend. We don’t have to trust each other or share secrets. You don’t have to believe me in my abilities or praise my achievements. You don’t have to really do or say or be any kind of way towards me. And sure, you don’t have to respect who I AM, but please, just be respectful as a human being. That’s the simplest sign of good character and integrity in a person.
Yes, respect should be earned. You have to give to get. I totally agree. Which is why I try to think before I speak, so I won’t spew words like venom. I attempt to consider the consequences before most of my actions, and when I DO fail at all of these things, I pick myself back up and strive to be better next time. I’ve definitely failed; I’m human, a natural f*ck-up. You can ask anyone who has truly had a verbal fight with me; I’ve definitely said mean things. You can ask friends who are now enemies; I have a very icy side, but I’m a work in progress, just like you.
What I’m saying is, at the very least, I give respect in order to get it. I refuse to be mistreated by the people who I care about most. The first time someone mistreats you is unforgettable. It’s surprising, unexpected and hurtful for quite some time. They’ll apologize, and then 1 of 2 things will happen: either they’ll work hard on NOT doing it again and succeed (mostly, for we are human) or they’ll continuously repeat the mistreatment, with time intervals in between just long enough to convince you that they’ve changed. Each subsequent mistreatment will once again catch you by surprise and hurt you, only instead of that piercing hurt you felt the first time, this hurt will be more subtle. Then, over time, it hurts less and less as you adjust. This happens for many reasons, all too complicated for me to delve into. In this case though, I’m only referring to the relationships you yourself CAN control.
It may sound preachy, it may sound holier-than-thou, or to others it may even sound unrealistic, but it’s a truth straight from my heart; a truth learned directly from my past mistakes and experiences. So regardless of what this may SOUND like, I’m only saying this in the hope that someone will realize that they deserve better.
Just read this aloud:
The first day you let someone mistreat you, you’ve begun to settle for less. Love yourself enough to refuse nothing less than what you desire.
We all make mistakes; forgiveness is key. I’m not suggesting you cut off every person who makes a mistake and hurts you. Sometimes, we purposely hurt each other. But being mistreated goes beyond making a mistake.
If someone does or says something that affects you to your core, pay attention. Forgive them, allow them a chance to earn back your trust and faith. But if they continue to do so, cut your losses.
For women: If a man calls you out of your name, and that’s something you absolutely do NOT believe in or can’t live with, walk away.
For men: If a woman puts her hands on you during an argument and you are strongly against violence, run in the opposite direction.
It’s hard to find real love, it’s hard to find real friends, and even harder to put your trust in another person. I realize just how hard it is to walk away, to move on from that bond. Sometimes it’s easier to stay, even when you are content, but not happy. But don’t disregard your dealbreakers for someone else. I see too many women allow the person they love to treat them a certain way, a way that they do not prefer. This goes for men as well.
It’s not easy. I’ve cut off decade-long friendships because I could no longer tolerate “bad” friends. When a relationship begins to affect you negatively over a long period of time, why put up with it? Because you’ve known this person x amount of years and are used to it? Used to being hurt and treated second-class? Used to feeling bad about yourself after interacting with this person? Used to being used? C’mon now…
If I didn’t give it, it wouldn’t mean as much to me. But I do. It’s what I believe in. Disrespect is a dealbreaker. I CAN’T DO IT!
Don’t settle out of love. Know this:
1 Corinthians 13:4–8
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.