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There’s a sense in which people can treat us any way they want. We cannot control the choices they make. But we can determine what we receive and allow for ourselves. And often people continue to treat us in certain ways only because we’ve allowed it to continue. 

For instance, someone might treat us like we’re ignorant, incompetent, or immature in our approach to life. But, in reality, this is merely their opinion of us. And their opinions do not make it true. In fact, it’s often saying more about them and their story than us. 

In any case, we can’t stop them from having their opinions. But we have the responsibility to discern the truth. And if they’re naming something true then we can freely adjust ourselves accordingly. But if it’s not true, we don’t have to live as if it is, or become defensive in trying to deny it. We simply have to hold on to what is true and show up grounded in this truth. 

As such, people may try to treat us in certain ways according to their own biases, but they quickly bump into the reality of our true self. And in many cases, this will cause them to adjust their perception of us. When we’re no longer acting ignorant, incompetent, immature, or the like, then they’re less likely to treat us this way. But it becomes their problem and not ours even if their opinions don’t change. 

While, of course, we still have a relational cost to pay if they maintain a faulty perception of us, this still doesn’t change the core truth of who we are. And the greater harm is when we forget this truth ourselves. 

In the end, don’t allow the opinions of others to be the ultimate verdict on who you are and how you show up. Remember and live in the fullness of your true self regardless of how others might be tempted to treat you. 

Photo by Cyril Caiazzo on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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