Many years ago, I spent a number of years in a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship. I won’t get into the details but suffice it to say it was not the best time in my life. I was (and am) a smart educated woman. I knew I was being mistreated and yet, it took a long time to get out of that situation. It was familiar, and in an odd way, comfortable (as many familiar things are), so I continued to allow it. And then I remember seeing a quote (or someone sent it to me). It may be one you’ve seen before: What you allow is what will continue. I do not know who said it, but it hit a nerve. I realized I was allowing this mistreatment in my life and because of that, it continued. In fact, had I not ended the relationship, I’m sure it would’ve continued for countless more years.
This quote reflects back to two key facts about our life experiences:
First, we are in control of much of what we experience in life.
Second, we teach other people how to treat us.
Although we are not in control of everything that happens in life, we are in control of a lot: how we react and respond to each day’s events, the people we choose to spend time with, and what we allow into our environment (to name a few). A few weeks back I wrote a blog about detoxing negative people from your life. (You can read it here). One of the main points was paying attention to those people we allow access to our lives and how they make us feel. Mistreatment in any form (verbal or emotional abuse, physical abuse, bullying, someone being rude) is unacceptable. We cannot control how people treat us (that’s on them), but we can choose whether or not we allow them access to us and whether we accept that type of behavior directed at us. THAT is definitely in our control.
I think it was Oprah who said, “you teach other people how to treat you.” So, if you allow negativity in your space and people to behave poorly toward you, essentially, you’re saying it’s okay for that person (or people) to do so – it’s what you’re teaching them. Also, how do you treat yourself? Are you kind and compassionate? Do you treat yourself with love and respect? Or are you critical and berate yourself? What do you say when you look in the mirror? What do you tell yourself when you make a mistake? All that you do to yourself sends messages out to the universe and to the people who are closest to you. If you’re your own worst critic and don’t act kindly toward yourself, some people who witness that might assume it’s okay to treat you as poorly as you treat yourself. And what makes that worse is if you’re that unkind to yourself, it may not even register when others act the same to you! It’s familiar, and you’re acclimated to it; hence, it continues.
It is as simple as the quote says: What you allow is what will continue. It may not be easy, but the concept is simple. You choose what you allow into your life, and therefore you decide what continues.
So, let me ask you: what are you allowing? And, is it what you want to continue?