6 Steps To Getting The Respect You Deserve In Your Relationship

forehead kiss

Take your place at the table and create a more balanced relationship.

There is nothing like the gaunt and vacant look of a person who is emotionally starved. One partner feasts at the banquet table and the other pounces on any random crumb dropped to the floor. The fervor and excitement for the occasional emotional table scrap is an all too common sight in today's women. Crumb seeking does not discriminate and is seen in woman ranging from teenagers to senior citizens, welfare recipients to the town's elite, and even stay-at-home moms to full-time career women. What is it that makes women think they are not worthy of their own seat at the table?

Low self-esteem can cause women to invest a disproportionate amount of time, energy, and resources into maintaining their relationships. If the investments between partners are consistently unequal then it may be time to redistribute the efforts. You should be regularly evaluating your own behaviors to make sure you are not always providing the brunt of the relationship energy. However, it can be difficult to demand more from your partner. The underlying fear is that he will conclude what you have long feared, that you are not worth the effort. Staying quiet and in the background can be much more comfortable than facing a possible confrontation and subsequent rejection.

Some questions to ask yourself about your relationship behavior: Do you ever find yourself apologizing when you have done nothing wrong? Do you try to minimize actions that have been hurtful to you? Do you walk on eggshells at home to avoid upsetting your partner? Do you live in fear of being alone? All of these questions represent internal battles. I am sure there are many situations where a female is in physical danger if she does not sacrifice herself for peace; however, I am pretty sure most of us become martyrs over unjustified fears. What would happen if the next time you feel that you should "take one for the relationship," you would instead clearly express your needs?

You are the one who dictates how you are treated. If he is a bad guy, then you don't want him. The sooner you find out, the better. I have heard more than a few men in couples counseling genuinely begging his wife or girlfriend to have an opinion, give suggestions, or tell him what she wants. If you consistently show in both word and deed that you do not matter, then you can't blame him for not being sensitive to your needs. You may be surprised that when you take your place at the table and create a more balanced relationship, he might be delighted that he no longer has to dine alone.

Here's how we can take care of ourselves in order to eat at the relationship table:

  1. Take a Mental Inventory: Mental inventories can be exhausting. The last place I want to look when I am feeling insecure is in the swampland of my soul. It is a scary place. Put on your galoshes and wade through the muck. This is the time to consider your motives for your attitudes and behaviors. Even if we do not understand it consciously, our mind is continuously trying to protect us from hurt and danger. 
  2. Know That You are Worthy: Even if you are not perfect, you are worthy. If you believe that past behaviors make you unlovable then it is time to stop, take a deep cleansing breath, and realize that this moment is all that matters. In this moment, you can express gratitude and be your best self. There is no gain in dwelling in the past because you cannot change it. Decide right now, in this moment, that you are worthy.
  3. Take Care of Yourself: Stop putting everyone's needs ahead of your own. Do not mistake self-care for selfishness. To truly be your best self for others, you must renew your body, mind, and spirit on a regular basis. Attending solely to the needs of others can only last so long before you crash. Set aside time everyday to do something that you love.
  4. Support Other Women: Chances are that other women are having similar insecurities as you. Why not support each other? Let someone know every day that they matter. I have heard that women can be vicious to other women, but that has not been my experience. I look around and see ferociously supportive females everywhere. Do not be jealous if another woman finds her place in the world and exudes confidence. Lift her up, acknowledge her success, and most importantly, use her success as a model.
  5. Pursue Your Own Dreams and Goals: I want you to try to think of everyone you have ever met. How many of those people have actually made an effort to make you feel that you are not worthy of your own pursuits?  Probably less than 1% has purposely tried to hold you down. The most insidious enemy lies within. If you pursue your dreams and goals with passion, you may end up helping more people than you could have ever dreamed possible.
  6. Look around: I want you to stop what you are doing, get out of the chains of your own anxieties, raise your head up, and notice the possibilities. Everywhere around you are ingredients to create a charged life. Your life might be propelled to a new level with the next person you meet, book you read, or event you attend. There are opportunities everywhere; choose to see the possibility.

To learn more about the internal battles, check out 5 Mental Battles Of The Midlife Divorce.