- Tanya Patterson
What I Hate About Me
I debated a lot on how to start this but every time I changed it I kept coming back to the same thing. I have been working on finding my good and being the best version of me I can be - so what does that involve? Hate is such a strong word and I don't like to use it when it comes to self talk or self development but in this instance I needed something to define the difference between something "easy" and something really hard. So not like "I hate that my hair is thin or I hate that I am 10 pounds overweight. What was the one thing in all aspects of my life that I did over and over that eventually would come back in a negative way?
For me it was always letting people into my life. I would let them in and after a short time I would allow them full access to my heart. I would give all I had to offer to whoever needed it. All my trust, friendship, advice when they asked, honesty...complete disclosure. I accepted them as friends and treated them with respect and sincerity expecting no less in return.
The problem was - that's not what I got in return. Each time people would take what they needed from me some even asking for more and when there was no more to give they were disapproving and manipulating. This would happen over and over until I was heading down the road of being a bitter, reserved, anxiety filled people hater. I used to think my life was full of extreme circumstances and there was no one out there to relate but with further discovery I realized I am not alone with this. Let me give you an example.... The first time I can remember this happening is when I was in grade 3 or 4, so I was about 8 or 9 years old. I had just moved to a new school and had a hard time making friends in an already established group of friends who had grown up together. I got an invite from one of the girls to go with her for a whole weekend to her parents cottage. Little did I know at the time that I was the only girl in the class that wasn't busy that weekend so i was, therefore, her only choice. We played games in the car on the way there, we swam, we rode bikes, we told secrets, shared stories and when I returned home after that weekend I thought I had made a friend forever. Around mid week back at school I noticed when I would approach a group of kids they stop talking, or whisper to each other if I was close then there would be giggling. I would soon learn that all the "secrets" I told including "If you could kiss any boy in our class which one would it be?" were being passed around to the other kids. I was mortified, I was devastated, I was hurt. I cried myself to sleep several nights - I was 9.
So fast forward quite a few years and I am married with two boys and a full time coaching, training, and boarding establishment. My husband and I put everything we had into doing what we had to do to make it work. We often had to divide and conquer with me being on the road a fair amount of the year with both boys while Scott stayed behind and tended the farm as well as his full time job. I opened my heart and my home to my clients offering them advice, support, expertise, time and opening our home to them when they needed it - including our home on the road when someone's parents couldn't take them. In return I had one client tell me that I needed to leave my kids at home because they took too much of my attention. Another screamed at me in front of hundreds of people because I missed her daughter's class when in fact I had already arranged not to watch due to another student showing at the same time. I provided opportunities to many and I have to say that not all ended bad as I still cherish many of the memories and friendships today but there were several that left me mortified, devastated, hurt, and often in tears - I wasn't 9.
I quit twice and "cleaned house" starting over with a guarded attitude but that didn't work either. So what could I do? What was it that I was doing to attract these people and why were they treating me this way? Well, first of all I needed to take control. I needed to set boundaries. I needed to learn the word NO! I also needed to learn that people were only treating me the way I allowed them to. Some of these individuals were not bad people but were provided with an opportunity so they took advantage.
Breaking the Cycle
So how did I break the cycle? The biggest thing was learning to tell people no. If it was something I was going to like myself less for than I simply didn't do it. I simply said NO. No exceptions, No just this once - NO. Once I established this no means no rule then things got easier. It did not happen overnight but it did happen. The people that had respect for me adjusted and a few that didn't - they removed themselves or were eliminated from my life. Sometimes these people can't be eliminated but you can take a step back and you can control the access they have to your mind.