Life is full of moments.
Some of my favorite are the ‘ah-ha’ ones where all of the sudden that piece of the puzzle that’s been missing finally clicks into place. I’ve had a few of them over the last couple of years.
1. The moment I realized that your relationships are WORTH fighting for.
Tim and I were, as much as I hate to admit this publicly, on the road to splitting up. We’d had some crucial conversations about our relationship and it really seemed like our journey was heading in that direction. Right around our ten year wedding anniversary, I had a light bulb moment. The amount of time that we’d chosen to be together was SO much longer than the amount of time we’d spent feeling like we were drifting apart – and those years are worth something. Worth fighting for. So, we’ve chosen to try to do that. To fight for our marriage – and, in a lot of ways, things have gotten SO much better as a result.
2. The moment I realized that life is more about how you handle situations than the situations themselves.
2017 was an interesting year, full of learning experiences. Within the span of less than a month, Charlotte had a nasty case of head lice, our house flooded, the dog died, and we were getting ready to leave to go out of the country. I realized during that timeframe (somewhere around the flood), that life is more about how you navigate through the storms than the storms themselves. Going through all of that in such a short amount of time truly changed me, for the better. I came through it a more calm, grounded individual. I learned a lot about who I am and how I handle crisis.
3. The moment I realized that I can’t expect anyone to treat me better than I’m willing to treat myself.
I’ve spent years de-valuing myself in life. So much so that I’ve become an expert at it, with more than three decades experience. So it should come as no surprise to me when other people follow suit, right? My most recent lightbulb moment was happened not too long ago. I realized, despite having heard it before, that I set the tone for how other people treat me by sending the message that I’m okay with it. Time and time again. It’s a lesson you will never learn until it finally clicks.
“You’re only a doormat if you lay down for it.”
Should other people be held accountable for the way they treat you? Yes. But, here’s the cold hard truth of the matter: The way that you carry yourself, the amount of self-respect you have for yourself, and how you value yourself is going to play a huge role in how other people respect and value you. I cannot expect anyone to value me more than I am willing to value myself.
I recently found myself in a situation where I had to defend my value. It wasn’t that the other person didn’t see my worth, it’s that I had sent the message over and over again that I was okay being undervalued. Why? Because, like I said, I’m an expert at it. I started to realize that I’ve spent years not valuing what I bring to the table in life, at work, out in the community, etc. Why?
I’m not even sure why, it’s probably something I need to dig a little deeper to figure out, but I’m finally starting to realize that I’m worth more than I’ve been giving myself credit for. And that’s a big step for me.
Just call me Stuart Smalley.