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  • SuePattonThoele

Teaching Others How to Treat You



At first, the concept of me teaching others how to treat me was both challenging and liberating. Challenging because, one, I was comfortable blaming others whom I felt treated me badly, and two, I didn’t have a clue how to teach someone to treat me well. Growing up, I was taught how to treat others, but, as I recall, the subject of teaching them how to treat me wasn’t mentioned. Thankfully, things are very different now. Kids are taught how to respect and honor others and are also shown how to insist on being treated well.

I felt liberated by the idea because it gave me the power of choice, inspired me to become more aware of what I wanted and needed, and pushed me to stand up for myself. Accepting I was in charge forced me to set limits and boundaries with family and friends and—the biggest stretch—have tough, honest conversations about behaviors that were unacceptable to me.


First and foremost, to teach others how to treat you well, you need to know you deserve to be treated well and actually do it for yourself. In other words, you need to “Do unto self as you would have others do unto you” before you are a convincing teacher. I know... the heart of the matter always seems to be self-love and self-compassion, doesn’t it? Teaching others how to treat you as you deserve to be treated can enliven and enrich many relationships. However, no matter how solidly you value yourself or how cleverly and compassionately you teach others, some people won’t give a fig, others won’t want to make changes, and others won’t be able to provide what you request. It’s still important to ask, but just because you know how to teach doesn’t mean you will always get the results you want. When teaching doesn’t work, you have other options. Do you want to continue the relationship, adapt to the parameters, or let it go?


There are nonnegotiables. For me to stay in any kind of relationship, respect and physical safety are requirements. You, undoubtedly, have nonnegotiables of your own.


Please know I’m not talking about domestic violence here. If you are in that situation, be a good friend to yourself and get help and find a safe place now.


During your day...


  • Verbally assure yourself you deserve to be treated well.

  • If you tend to be hard on yourself, notice when you’re doing so and turn the dial to a gentler setting.

  • Treat yourself as you wish others treated you.

You teach people how to treat you by what you

allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce.

—Tony Gaskins

Excerpted from The Woman's Book of Strength by Sue Patton Thoele. Available on Mango and Amazon.

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