You Teach People How to Treat You - Christine Kane

I was in Web Guy’s office a few weeks ago. He was having a moment of overwhelm about his client list. He talked about how some of his clients call on the weekends and late at night, and how many people don’t honor his schedule. He was frustrated and exhausted.

I allow people their moments of frustration in situations like this. So I listened. But seeing as how I also like to offer a more empowered perspective, I told him about a great thing I learned many years ago. It’s a fundamental truth that has served me (and those with whom I work and play) immensely. It is this:

You teach people how to treat you.

As soon as I said this, his eyes lit up. He couldn’t believe how simple it was. And the more we talked, the more excited he got. (I refrained from calling him “grasshopper.”)

The first time I ever heard this concept was when I saw Oprah in Raleigh, NC years ago. She presented this idea. Then she partnered it with another truth. She said (in that “Sistah!” way that she does when she’s being funny) “…and giiiiirl, when someone shows you who they are… bee-LEEVE them the FIRST TIME!” (She repeated this one a lot. She was talking about abusive relationships.)

So, what does it mean?

You teach people how to treat you means that it all comes back to you. It’s up to you to allow or not allow certain treatment. It also means that you have to first get clear about how you want to be treated. It means that you have to take responsibility enough to write your own owner’s manual. And you are accountable for living by your owner’s manual. For some of us, it may be the very first time we ever even gave this any thought.

(Remember that accountability and responsibility have nothing to do with blame. They are an entirely different energy and intent than blame. Blame seeks to shame and belittle. Responsibility seeks to un-victim you.)

There are lots of levels to this. For instance, when I began working with this idea, I spent time writing down basic guidelines, like, “I do not allow people to yell at me. I do not allow verbal abuse.” These days, I don’t need these kinds of guidelines because I’ve simply absorbed my own owner’s manual, and I don’t have to think about it. I’m very clear about who I am in almost every situation in my life. That has come from practicing this stuff and messing up a few times too! (And to add a little Law of Attraction note to the end of it — now, I no longer even attract some of these issues that used to be everywhere in my world!)

Bottom line: You teach people how to treat you means that you’re clear. And that you honor that clarity.

Teach People How to Treat You: The Four Steps

1 – Start by Knowing What You Want (and What You Don’t Want)

This a great writing exercise. Write what you want. Pick an area of your life where you feel like you’re not being treated well. Write down how you’d like to be treated. If you can’t think of what you want, then write about what you don’t want.

I typically don’t recommend focusing on what you don’t want. However, sometimes what you don’t want is a great starting point to clarity. For instance, when I first began to apply this work to my performance dates, I knew that I no longer wanted to stay in rooms or hotels that scared me. (You’d be amazed at how often promoters put musicians in the worst dives imaginable. I was teaching promoters how to treat me.) Several times, I had to ask the promoter of a show to move my hotel. Eventually, I made my contract rider very clear about what I wanted in a hotel room.

Depending on your situation, you’ll have some obvious beginning points. If you’ve been in abusive relationships, then start with “I do not allow people to abuse me.” If you’re tired of people wasting your time by calling you up to relate the latest office drama, you might write, “I don’t allow people to gossip in my presence.” For some of my readers, these ideas will be no-brainers. But you might be surprised at how many of us allow these kinds of interactions to occur in our lives.

If you’re like Web Guy and you’re learning to teach clients how to treat you, then start by writing a “Client Guide.” Write down exactly how you want your clients to deal with you. Then write some Company Guidelines to give to new clients before they pay you anything. Get clear at the start. As I wrote in Business Advice for Artists and Sensitive People, so many of us just hire people or take clients without any clarity. We just hope that the “connection” stays in tact.

2 – Learn from your Current Situation

Ask yourself how you’ve allowed certain behavior from others in your life. Take one situation where you’re tempted to see yourself as a victim, or where you feel mistreated. Ask yourself how you allowed this to happen. You’ll be amazed at how often you may have ignored your own needs or desires.

Often, this process lets you know where you get triggered or hooked. For instance, you might find yourself saying, “Well, he makes me feel guilty if I don’t do it his way!” Bingo. There’s your trigger. The guilt. Acknowledge that you still allowed it. Maybe you allowed it begrudgingly, but you allowed it so that you could avoid feeling guilty. Then, recognize that guilt is going to be something that makes you want to ignore your own owner’s manual. This is a valuable thing to know about yourself.

In my hotel room example, I recognized that I had allowed years of unacceptable treatment on the road because I had such a fear of making waves. In one scenario, when I told the promoter I wanted my hotel changed, she retorted, “Everyone stays there! No one has ever complained before!” And I could feel myself shrinking. “But all the kids are doing it!” has been a trigger for me. (So has, “You’re lucky to even have a gig!”) But because I had gotten clear that “I don’t stay in hotels that scare me,” I was able to honor my needs in that situation.

3 – Honor It and Practice It

Here’s the deal: This is a process, not an event.

There’s a learning curve to this. It’s not a one-time thing. It’s not just suddenly telling a client not to call after hours. When you’ve taught people how to treat you one way, it might take some time to change that pattern.

It might start with you letting a client know that you’ve set a new intent to spend more time with your children, and that you won’t be available for calls on the weekend. Maybe the client calls anyway. Maybe you get hooked in by the guilt. Then you feel awful afterwards, and you feel angry at that client. This just means that you need to get clear again. So, you let that client know again not to call on weekends, and that you’d like her to honor your request. You don’t have to get emotional about it. In fact, the less you get sucked in by your emotions, the better this works.

Note: Try not to communicate when you’re in a highly charged emotional state. When you’re in this state, you’re probably not teaching people how to treat you. You’re probably blaming them and making yourself into the victim. Wait until you get calm, then start at step #2 (“How did I allow this?”) and take the necessary course of action to right the situation.

Remember that this stuff takes practice and self-awareness. It is not a process of emotion. It’s a process of clarity. (And mastery!)

4 – Teach Yourself How to Treat You When That’s the Only Choice

Not everyone is going to honor your requests or your clarity. And sometimes it’s going to have to be you who treats you well. If we go back to my hotel room example, there have been times where contractually, I didn’t have much of an option in terms of getting a better hotel room. And so, I ended up paying for my own room and driving myself to a better hotel. “I don’t stay in hotel rooms that scare me” means that I don’t allow it. Period. If I don’t honor that, then I won’t feel safe with me. It has always made me happy and proud to get my own room when I needed to. You have to include yourself in this equation. If you’ve told your clients that you don’t take non-emergency calls on weekends, then you might not want to make business calls on weekends. This is how you learn to honor yourself.

And Now, for the Scary Part…

I wrote a post about taking risks a few weeks ago. Lots of times we think of taking risks, and we think about big ideas like moving to another city, starting a business, or leaving a bad relationship. But the longer I do this work, the more my risk-taking has become internal. Yes, there are big external material risks at times. (Every time I make a CD I’m taking a risk!) But these days, some of the internal risks are the scariest, because they call me to be true to myself and to honor my boundaries and my intentions. That’s where lots of us forget to stay in risk-taking mode.

The biggest risk involved in teaching people how to treat you is the risk that some of them might go away. Some friends might not call you anymore. Some clients might leave. In my situation, I might simply not get the performance date. You have to be willing to surrender those things that aren’t in alignment with how you want to be treated. They necessarily must go away. And the test is to let them.

One of the things that keeps you hanging on to them is a belief in lack. A belief that there’s not enough. There aren’t enough jobs, clients, gigs, men, women, whatever. And one of the best ways to find out that there are more than enough of these things is to be brave and selective, live by your values and standards, and watch what you do attract. You might be scared. But you won’t be disappointed.

  • Joyce Brand

    Love the article! I have recently reaped the benefits of taking care of myself and having to let go of the fear of losing people over it, which I have. We are responsible for our own well being and allowing or disallowing people (including ourselves) to mistreat us. I have found by practicing self care/love that I am much less likely to let others treat me poorly. It’s an inside job as they say.

  • carol

    It’s true that setting limits is important for clear communication. I have to say however, to suggest that it is the responsibilty of the one being treated badly is giving people permission to be disrespectful, abusive or worse, to assault others. How about focussing on treating people in a manner that is kind and respectful?

  • Virginia

    “The biggest risk involved in teaching people how to treat you is the risk that some of them might go away. Some friends might not call you anymore. Some clients might leave. In my situation, I might simply not get the performance date. You have to be willing to surrender those things that aren’t in alignment with how you want to be treated. They necessarily must go away. And the test is to let them.”

    Christine, I think this statement is very true in my situation. My sister was mistreating me, and when I told her how I wanted to be treated, I think she did go away. She doesn’t call me or visit me anymore. She also denies everything she did to mistreat me, and says that she didn’t do anything wrong. I don’t call her either, because I feel if she thinks that what she did was not wrong, she’ll do it again if I keep in contact with her. Plus she also has other people on her side that mistreated me too, and she always agrees with their opinions. I feel that there’s nothing much I can do, but stay away from her.

    • Nicole

      Sad to read your experience….me and my sis have been estranged since my mother passed last year. All over some really selfish thinking. I sent her a nice email wanting to forgive and forget but she does not want to…I feel sad, but at the same time I know she is deciding what she can and can’t handle at this point in her life and I have to just respect her for that even if I don’t agree with holding grudges:(

  • Bill

    I have had sisters who as they got older have had issues with me. I would see them out and about and they were extremely hateful. I realized that , I teach people how to treat me even before reading this. I have not allowed these people to speak to me or in the life of my family.
    One day they will run out of people to hate and grow old and alone.

    I have had neighbors that are in there 40’s and act like gossipy 13 yr olds . I simply tried to go with the flow but got angry when I found out the tricks and illegal games they played to get back at others. I told them to get and so did the other neighbors. I feel peace now and they still play their same games.

    I am able to smile again and be happy !

  • Vidya

    Hi Christine,
    I have to say, I stumbled upon the perfect article for my question on how to deal with people without letting yourself down. Yeah, I agree with every bit you said. People do take you for granted if you do not set limits. Thank you!

  • LoveBloom

    Hi Christine,
    What a pertinent, powerful, post. Thank you for pointing out to me my responsibility in “not being treated as I want to be be treated by others”. I have had a difficult time with misinterpreting the first law of Christianity… ” Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. I would love nothing more than if I do treat others as I would like to be treated, then they follow suit. This is not the case most of the time. So, now I better understand that “if” I am not treated as I “want” to be treated then I have a responsibility to myself to make others aware when they violate my well-being. I need to create an environment where my well-being is not so closely tied with other people’s behavior but at this point I feel so much more empowered that it will be difficult at first but I affirm that my life as well as others that will interact with me will be enhanced because of these principles that you have so kindly demonstrated. Thank you greatly!

  • positivist83

    my aunt is always teasing,seeing bad sides of me because she is jealous of me.No i don’t see her less than me she is a teacher and she did the best it can be in her life but she still can’t stand other peoples succeses or money i have to say.She comes and checks out everything in our house to find smt wrong.She helped me once when feel we are at the same level she is fine.But the minute she feels inferior starts to abuse verbally.When I confronted her she says “no i’ve best intentions,i didn’t mean it,i say this to my children they dont mind “.She lies i can tell from her voice and if her children cant say anything to her why do i have to put up with it.I told her at least i dont want to talk to her anymore,i want to protect myself.She said that i’m too weak.I stand up for myself ,this is being strong.I dont want to bully her like she does.And I’ve met people who doesnt bully other people or their kids like that.
    By the way my parents were too critical too and never supported me or my decisions.And at some point i went to my aunt.My parents started to get the point.It sounds funny right parents who dont support their kids decisions or cheer them up?
    I cant get away this house cause my major is software eng. and its hard.But i thought about it a lot and its good for me actually.I searched other jobs and this is very good actually.I even started to have fun about it.I worked so hard to come to this point and she tries to ruin it.Like someone said above I matter, too.I don’t have to deal with her weaknesses.
    Please tell me what to say or not to say her.Or am I weak?Am I too psychic that gets too much affected by others?No I’m not affected but when idont say “enough is enough” she doesnt stop.Or should I bully her, too?

  • Laura

    Awesome post! So clear and it makes a lot of sense…. I am in the process of making my life look like it’s my life, and I’ve been facing problems with family and “friends”. I am confident however, that within time it’ll all be better. With your words of wisdom I think in the future, the people who do count will start looking into how to act by my manual. I wish many people would read this post, it would teach them something truly essential about human life! All my best to you, xx

  • Chime

    How does this work with abusive parents?
    You just keep on treating them nice until they do the same? No

    Please, the main point of being treated is that you have some sort of power that could jeopardize them not necessarily use it, because then your just going to antagonize them, and make them hate you.
    Like being popular, being talkative and manipulating people to be on your side.

  • Butterfly

    Wow so funny I googled how to teach your man to treat you in a certain way and your blog popped up! Perfect! Thank you!

  • Carl

    Slowly surely without being vigilant about your personal acceptable standards of treatment it escapes you and abuse becomes the norm. Soon you cannot tell what you want it is so far buried, but you know what you are doing right now is not for you. You got there by accomodating someones transgression because you are a nice guy, people err, but to be a comode over and over again? Thanks for the technique of self assertive approach about it being not you, or the other, being right or wrong, it is about respecting your principals and standards. To refine the technique there is the awsome action part of your blog; you don’t have to get vocal about your standards just state them and be unwavering. Matter of fact attitude becomes the facts. Thanks for reminding me that I matter too.

  • Claire

    Awesome. I wish I’d known this when I married #1…. and #2. I’m just now beginning to comprehend and assert my right to be treated the way I want to be treated — not in the way some others think is “good enough” for me.

  • melissa

    I had slowly let myself go in all facets of my life. The past few years have hit me hard and I have been very depressed and anxious…wondering if I’d ever get back to being me. I felt out of control…and very alone…even with a loving partner supporting me in every way he could. A lot of my issues I thought belonged “out there”, I thought I was helpless and destined to a life of counselling and a sheltered existence. And after some strong words from two friends whose numbers were gathering dust, I remembered why I’ve kept them as friends and how I need to treat myself…with enough respect to cut ties with people who don’t treat me as I deserve. Soon after those conversations I found your piece and it fits.his feels like more than a passing insight or a quick fix.

    I felt like my two friends steered me back onto the path I lost a while ago…and your words have given me the jumpstart I have been looking for. I feel empowered. My life is in my hands again.

    Thank you (and thank you to my two friends)
    much gratitude…God bless

  • Liz

    Wow, so great!! (by any chance, have you done the Landmark Forum? Sounds like maybe you have.) What you wrote here really spoke to me! Thanks for writing this!


  • Kate

    I just came across your blog today. It will definately be going into my “Favorites” section. The fact that you teach people how to treat you is something that I deeply agree with. As a teacher, it is crucial that I expect and require full respect from my students. When I allow for there to be less respect in the classroom (talking while teachers talking, being late to class, etc.) I allow for less learning and when I allow for less learning then I am not valuing their education or their rights as students in my classroom. Anyway, thanks for sharing your wisdom with those who wish to absorb it. I look forward to browsing the rest of your blog. Have a great day! 🙂

  • maureen

    Thank you for this posting. I very much needed it today.

  • Ann

    How do you take this risk when it is with your own 20 year old son?

  • Cody

    Thank you so much for the insight. I am so happy that you threw in a little of, “The Law Of Attraction” in there as well. I am an avid believer in the Secret and here lately I have been attracting all this drama to me. I sat down tonight and just thought back through the last couple of weeks and it dawned on me that I do allow people to treat me the way that they do. And your comment about the less emotions you put into something the better the outcome is the best piece of advice I have heard in a long time. I will have to write that one down, lol. Again thank you and have a very Merry Christmas and a rockin New Year. God Bless.

  • Kat

    Hello Christine,

    This is the first time I have read your blog. Your words are inspiring and empowering. I acknowledge your generosity, leadership and stand for people having the life that they love.

    I am in a training and development program currently that teaches similar practices to what you wrote. Have you ever heard of Landmark Education? Their committment in the world is to listen for what matters to people and give them access to acheiving those important matters.

    Let me know if you are interested in knowing more.

    Take Care.

  • mk

    you know what i like what he / she said cause like that is how i feel i should be treated and how should every body treat me
    and i just say how i would like to get treated and what are the stuff that i like and i don’t in this case you will be clear in evry thing

  • Tehfeen

    Wonderfull insight, u got me out of the guilt ride i had for 2 years iwas pained and didnt know i myself was the cause of it.

    thanks a lot but i need to communicate to u deeply on my problem.

  • m

    Glad to find this post again – I’ve just had a very difficult situation with a friend. But its empowering to realise that I will not bend over backwards just too smooth things over and look after everybody. I’ve turned a corner !

  • Peggy

    You said:
    “The biggest risk involved in teaching people how to treat you is the risk that some of them might go away. Some friends might not call you anymore. Some clients might leave. In my situation, I might simply not get the performance date. You have to be willing to surrender those things that aren’t in alignment with how you want to be treated. They necessarily must go away. And the test is to let them.”

    That is where I am right now. My husband is helping me and encouraging me. I have to let a very close person go if they chose to treat me as they have been. It IS very scarey.

  • Katherine

    Great words of wisdom and particularly helpful today. But I had to just write that you’ve got a great web guy! I know a few good fathers like the one who has great talks with his 9 year old, but I don’t know even one web guy…and one who is “life” smart as well as computer smart…and funny. Yeah for Christine’s web guy!!! I don’t know, are they ALL like that?

  • Kat

    Thank you, ordering the book now. This has to end. 🙂

  • Christine Kane

    hi kat – (my apologies to everyone else’s comments that I clearly have not kept up with! i travel a lot and get behind on comments!)

    first off – friendships are NOT about feeling sorry for people. you deserve to be with people who fill you up. okay? (just in case you were wondering! :-)) and this is a lesson for you as well. for instance – what do you get out of allowing this? (i.e. – “i don’t have to set boundaries and challenge myself to ask for what i want which keeps me safe…”)

    there’s not an easy way to do this, but you probably need to do it. and i would use language that seeks to be clear and sets intent – but does NOT apologize. ie. “In order to honor this relationship, I need to let you know that I am feeling drained and cannot continue…” etc. I’m not an expert in this stuff at all. I highly recommend the chapter on relationships in cheryl richardson’s book “take time for your life.” cheryl is compassionate as well as clear.

    i hope this helps, kat!

  • Kat

    You have no idea the profound impact this post has had on me today.
    I am faced with a situation that has been escalating.
    A woman who so desperately wants/needs friends, is sucking the very life out of me and has been for months.
    I look at my caller ID and cringe.
    I open my email and see her name, and get that icky feeling in the pit of my stomach.

    I know that I need to end this drainage of my spirit, I just had no idea how. Actually, I still don’t, but this post made me realize that the feelings of guilt I have when she says to me that she has no friends, or she hasn’t had a good friend in years, or that her whole family loves having us over every weekend, that I feel obliged to go to their house, to chat her up, make her feel better about her life.
    When I do those things, I feel bad about my life.
    I am feeling drained and dreading any interaction with her, but I allowed it because I allowed the guilt to control me.

    Now that I’ve acknowledged this, I have no idea what to do.
    I have no idea how to end this, or put my foot down on the constant need she has to have my family with her family every weekend.

    Any advice? I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but I’m feeling bad myself.

  • Yolanda Crisostomo

    Aloha Christine,

    Thanks for this wonderful article. What hit me the most is staying with my intent and with that be willing to let go of the people (clients, customers, etc.) that are not in line with my intentions. Sticking to my guide, holding my vision, reciting everything I’m thankful for is really helpful to my personal growth and as I grow personally I attract good things to my life and my children’s life. Thanks again!

    Have A Great Day!…and..

    Yolanda Crisostomo
    Maui, HI

  • Denise Nesbitt

    Hello, I have just sat and read through this post. I am so grateful somebody pointed me in this direction as I have had a lousy time of being let down by others. If it OK with you I would like to put a link to your blog from mine and quote sections from this post.

    I agree with jeanette, It is too good not to share!

  • Jeanette Jobson

    Thanks for some wonderful writing Christine. I will share snippets of it on my blog and link it back to your main article here. Its too good not to share.

  • Hueina Su


    What a powerful post! I just found your blog today via Carnival of the Storytellers, and I’m soooo glad I did. I learned the same lesson years ago, and now I’m teaching my clients and my own children the same principle. It’s not always easy to practice this principle, but practice makes perfect in this case. 🙂


    Intensive Care for the Nurturer’s Soul

  • Christine Kane

    hi elizabeth. start by reading the chapter on relationships in cheryl richardson’s book “take time for your life.” it will really begin to open the door to language and perspective on this issue.

  • Elizabeth

    I really appreciate this article, setting the boundries other people (and I) can & can’t cross over. But, my BIGGEST & TOUGHEST weakness is not knowing what to say tactfully. I am so worried about hurting other people’s feelings & not appearing nice/polite/professional/whatever, that I hardly ever assert myself to declare those boundries…and therefore do not get treated like I would prefer (with respect usually) because I do not know the phrases to use without being rude or disrespectful or out-of-line. What to do????


  • Christine Kane

    oops. I’ve gotten behind on the comments in this post. Thanks to all for kind thoughts, great additional remarks and adding me to your link-love!

  • Steve Leung

    I found your post through the Carnival Towards Better Life. This is a great read, thanks for sharing it.


  • Dave Amphlett’s Blog

    I found this blog by Christine Kane very moving. It really hit home with me. It folds two things that I struggle with together into one strand. a) drawing a line and taking responsibility for how you allow others to treatment you. b) learn how to take risks.

  • Anne

    Great post Christine! It’s such an awareness thing. It’s constant. And very cool that we all have this much power 🙂

    Also love your comment Whiteshirts.
    I used to teach at an ivy league women’s college and I always started the first lesson of a new class with a blank overhead projector and asked the class to participate in describing their expectations for this class and for their professor – me. And in turn I wrote down my expectations from them. The first time I did this, a portion of the class complained to the department head that they thought the class would be too hard because one of my expectations was that they would be ‘challenged’. These students were used to expecting an ‘A’ grade without much work. I actually got an informal reprimand from the department head. I like to believe he was extremely shortsighted and far too focused on simply receiving the enormous amount of money that these kids paid for a mediocre education. I refused to change, (at the risk of losing my salary!), mostly because I believed that at least most of the students deserved more from their professor, more from themselves, and more from their expensive education. And frankly, I wanted more from the experience as well. And I told the students all of this. After that initial bump, my classes were always popular and I always had students that were engaged and driven to expand themselves and their understanding. And I loved teaching those classes.

  • Michelle

    What good advice, sounds like your advice was well-received too?

  • AuthorMomDogNut

    Love those simple sentences that have the ability all in themselves to create an Aha moment. Great info!

  • Kelly

    I’ve just “stumbled” upon your website, and am thrilled to have done so, because your entries speak to me in a way that few writings do. Your combination of humor, spirituality, and insight is so uplifiting and inspiring. I look forward to reading your archives! Thank you.


    By the way, have you ever considered writing a book?

  • Christine Kane

    ChickiePam, The “treating people the way you want to be treated” thing rarely works for me. Especially if you just want to be left alone and they want lots of attention! (Abraham-Hicks did a funny presentation about that concept as I recall.) Thanks for the thoughts. (sometimes when i need to be focused and write a song, i turn off the cell phone, and it’s amazing what happens in my body!)

    first off web guy… you spent ALL THAT TIME writing a post and you could’ve been working on my website! second off – i think you need to start that blog you’ve been talking about starting! and last.. thanks for your thoughts and revelations. i really wasn’t trying to make it look as though you were a clueless grasshopper!

    thodarumm, glad this connected with you. it’s great practice…and very liberating, too. thanks!

    whiteshirts – wow. you sound like an amazing and remarkable college instructor. I am in awe. and i would’ve loved your class when i was in school. thank you for thinking the way you do and seeing the problems in student-life as symptoms and not faults.

  • whitetshirts

    I one of those lucky adults that had a dad like Tony, and I was taught this lesson at an early age. He explained it in reference on how I should interact with my siblings. Now, I am a college instructor, and I am trying to teach the students in my classes these same lessons.

    The way I do that is by trying to create an explicit classroom. No more Wizard of Oz behind the curtain ways of dealing with students. When I started this attempt to create this type of open environment, I first thought that it was just about me. I thought that I have to be more up front and explain what goals I had for my students.

    Over the course of this transformation, however, I have figured out that I need the students to be explicit with me as well. What do they need from me? What are the confused about? I am hoping to elminiate the the them against us mentality that is going on in colleges now, which is one of the reasons I believe issues of plagiarism are on the rise. I get the sense that this is one of the first times that the students have ever felt that someone is on their side.

    Thanks for posting this. It gave me a way to recap what I knew to be true. And, thanks as always for giving us a place to remember some of the lessons we should keep closer in mind when dealing with other people.

  • thodarumm

    An incredible post Christine! It is strange how I hear similar things from different people ( not necessarily directly to me), like I am meant to hear them over and over again, so it gets ingrained into my brain. I just wrote to someone the other day, ‘I am tired of always giving others the benefit of doubt. Why cannot they do the same for me?”.

  • Brent (Web Guy)

    good shot Pam, we need to tune in when others are teaching US how to treat THEM!

  • Brent (Web Guy)

    well, Christine… i think you misread the reason behind the profound reaction a bit. it’s not that i didn’t have a “moment” when you made that comment, it’s just the profundity of it was more like “oh, i had forgotten that lesson!” or “that’s a new way to say it that has revived it’s meaning for me!”

    here is my very own not-as-eloquent-way of saying it: “if you lay down, people will likely walk on you whether they mean to or not” – which adds a little perspective to the whole thing. when you put yourself in a victim-state, anyone can mistreat you or take advantage of you – even nice, caring people may inadvertently and/or unknowingly do so. and we may ask ourselves “why did they do that?” but we will likely accomplish a lot more by asking THEM “why did YOU do that?” – and that does NOT mean to reprimand with that question – it means to actually seek an answer!

    after i learned this, years ago when living in NYC (which is GREAT place to learn this sort of thing), i had my own profound impact on several people by openly and completely sharing this and other lessons and by sharing the experiences from which i learned them.

    but that doesn’t lessen the impact of you saying that to me.

    hearing that again brought it all back to me – which is why we all need to speak these things to each other – to help us all remember.

    hearing that again added a new dimension to it’s importance – which is why we all need to speak these things to each other – to help reinforce them.

    and more than reminding and reinforcing, hearing that again has motivated me to take new action – which is why we all need to speak these things to each other – to help each other do something about it!

    but beyond even all of that, what you have shared here is a PLAN of action. i must admit the idea of an Owners Manual for Myself seems laughably perfect for the 99% Virgo that i am. it just makes sense… setting up a point of focus to move towards… NOT a rigid set of rules (because rigidity sets us up for new failures and self-criticism)… just a point of focus… something to get moving on.

    so instead of saying “THIS NEW ME IS GOING TO MOVE MOUNTAINS!” we can say “right now, i’m just going to move THAT hill.”

    i guess it’s time to end this long-winded, i-should-be-writing-this-in-my-own-blog-if-i-had-one comment and thank you for a truly new idea: the “You Don’t Own Me Owners Manual” (and i must have a stress-relieving lol about that again -> LOL!)

  • ChickiePam

    Oh! And I’ve learned how to turn my phone off when I don’t want to answer it! What a concept! Amazing! Just because I have a cell phone does not mean that I have to answer it. I have learned how to set the ringer so that only my children can ring in. The rest of the calls go straight to voicemail! You gotta love when technology works for you.

  • ChickiePam

    Hi Christine,
    I try to treat people the way that I want to be treated. For a long time I thought this was all I needed to do. But I have found that I need to stand up for myself and be really clear about what I want in a friend/relationship/client. I appreciate it when someone is very clear with me (and I often don’t catch hints or subtleties myself!) so I am learning to become clearer myself. And when I’m not…the universe has a way of helping me to get clear!
    Thanks for an amazing and on target post.

  • Christine Kane

    Hi Phil, Thanks for the thoughts. And yes, you just gotta start right where you are…

    Thanks Carlie! And I hope this helps with both situations. Those things can be intense!

    Thanks for that Aaron. I’m just glad it helps in some way.

    Can’t wait to read it MK!

    Thanks Peter and Pamela!

    Hi Tony. Wow, what an amazing dad you are. Most of us didn’t have the kinds of parents who woud talk about these kinds of issues with clarity (and at 9 years old!). Good for you! And thanks for sharing that.

  • Tony D. Clark

    I was discussing this with my 9-year old daughter the other day (who is a fan, too, BTW), which was partially prompted by a recent post I did on taking risks.

    The discussion turned to how no matter how much someone else is looking out for you, that you have to look out for yourself, too. I explained the difference between “selfishness” (only thinking of yourself) and “self-awareness” (looking out for your own feelings and needs, along with others.)

    Knowing WHAT you need is an important first step. To me, being self-aware helps you to consider others, without losing consideration for yourself.

  • Pamela

    This is great. Many of us don’t like the way we are treated and this is the answer. Thanks for sharing us what you know.

  • Peter Haslam

    Simple steps but what a powerful learning process for clearing out the cobwebs.

  • mary katherine

    Once again you inspire me, Christine. This is gonna push me to write something that I have been needing to write for a long time. ohboyohboyohboy….

  • Aaron M. Potts


    I continue to be amazed that you are such a stunning performer, yet have a clear gift for both teaching and living the concepts that allow us to create the lives that we truly want to live. Thank you for continually putting it all down where people can see it!

  • Carlie

    i couldn’t sleep this morning because i was worried about 2 things…. the first being two of my friends who have been treating each other badly and the second being a situation where i have felt used and abused by my friend.
    so i got out of bed to do a bit of writing to see what i could come up with. needless to say, i was floored to see this post and how pointedly it spoke to both topics!
    i’m in sync with the world this morning, and that makes a world of difference.

  • Phil Gerbyshak

    What a powerful message Christine. Thanks for bringing this to light. We do need to focus on how we treat ourselves, and thus, how others treat us. I don’t know yet what I want, but I know what I don’t. I’ll start there, and see you on the other side.