- Karen Salmansohn
“In sport, a bye is the preferential status of a player or team that is automatically advanced to the next round of a tournament, without having to play an opponent in an early round.” -Wikipedia
Many people will give a “bye” when a person makes a mistake or misses a commitment--the first time. Hopefully there is a conversation in which the person says they are sorry, shows empathy, and that’s the end of it. No harm, no foul, no resentments.
Are there people in your life who have a habit of treating you poorly and then these two things happen:
1. You let it go without addressing it (because it’s uncomfortable, you don’t know how, you’re conflict averse, or you were taught not to be ‘rude’, you don’t want to ‘lose’ the friendship or relationship, because you love him/her, etc.)?
2. The person continues to let you down?
It’s an ugly cycle.
When I was in therapy in my early 20s, my therapist said to me: “If you don’t tell people their behavior is not okay with you, you’re telling them it’s okay and they can continue the poor behavior.”
Wow! That was a life changer for me. It still took a while, though. I had to work on my self-worth before I changed the cycle.
Boundaries are one of the most important structures in any relationship. What behaviors are okay with you, and which are not? Make a list. This will likely be different from person to person, based on your family of origin (FOO). Which begs the question: what behaviors are so familiar to you from your FOO that even if they are dysfunctional, they feel ‘normal’? Make a list.
Do you run into certain relationship dynamics over and over that in the end don’t work out for you? It may look different at the beginning of a new relationship, but unfortunately devolves into the same old, same old. If you don’t have self-worth, self-esteem, and boundaries, you will repeat the pattern in the next relationship, and the one after that . . .
Self-worth, self-esteem and boundaries are tied together. If you want your life and relationships to be different and healthy, it’s up to you to work on it. If you’re like most people, your early attempts might be messy, and it’s possible the other person may feel hurt by your words. Don’t be discouraged. Keep working on it. Go back to the person you hurt and make amends. Let him/her know you’re working on setting boundaries, and your attempt with him/her didn’t go well. Make sure the other person feels heard by you about that interaction before you try once again to set boundaries.
You are worthy and deserve healthy relationships. Yet that doesn’t come for free. You have to do the work. No more discounts!