The respect of your family can be something you take for granted.
I did for years.
But there are many behaviors that can sabotage how we’re seen in the eyes of those who love us.
Of course they still care for us and want the best, but something disturbing happens as they observe our decisions and actions:
They devalue or doubt our worth.
Here’s what to drop in order to ensure your family sees your true potential. The first seven behaviors are ones that your family has a right to hope for, the next three behaviors are ones that help you stand up to an unfair or exploitative family situation.
Family respect dwindles when you’re too self-centered.
It’s important to make yourself a priority, but becoming completely in your own zone is a different matter.
It leads to family seeing you as uninvolved or living in your own world apart from them:
As a result, close and extended family members may distance themselves.
They get the feeling (fairly or not) that you are excluding yourself from being part of the family, and they treat you with a corresponding lack of respect and interest.
As a youngster, our parents or guardians care for us and ensure our survival.
When we don’t get needs met, we cry or get angry.
We reach our hands out or shake our fists and demand our needs be met!
“I’m hungry, feed me!”
“I’m lonely, tell me a story!”
That’s why being too entitled will lose respect from family members: they expect you to have superseded this and be willing to work for what you want and manage your own emotions.
This ties into the next point…
Many Millennials and younger generations still live with parents, partly due to the massive rises in the cost of living.
I don’t blame them, and lived with my mom for some of my 20s.
But the issue here is simple:
If you don’t work or study and you’re living at home without doing a whole lot, you quickly lose respect from family.
That’s because you’re expecting the bond of love between you and family members to mean that you get handouts.
Simply put, it’s not fair.
A close cousin of entitlement and freeloading is passivity in general:
If you find that you are often waiting for your life to happen or waiting for family members to come “save” you, be careful.
Nobody else can fix your life, and waiting for that is a sign of passivity.
Life seldom just happens, and when spontaneous surprises do happen they’re rarely exactly what we envision.
The key to being proactive lies in separating love for family and the guidance they provide with your own actions and decisions.
Because as much as your family may be on your side or working against you, it is ultimately up to you to make your own path in life.
If you’re a fairly impulsive individual, this can also lose you respect with family.
It’s easy to give in to our desires or act on the spur of the moment, and sometimes spontaneity is a great thing.
But over time, a pattern of being fairly impulsive marks us out to family as a person who’s a bit unsteady and prone to bad judgment calls.
If you find that you struggle with being impulsive and making big decisions on the spur of the moment, do your best to think things through first and start being more judicious in how you plan the future.
If you sometimes disrespect family members, it can lead to the same coming back in your direction.
Whether you mean to be or not, some ways of acting towards family can come across as being disrespectful.
This includes interrupting a lot while speaking, not considering or giving a hearing to the points of view of other family members, or things like freeloading which I mentioned earlier.
All of these behaviors can cause negative reactions in family, who may respond in kind by also disrespecting and being dismissive to you.
A family’s love is strong, but family relationships are still relationships, and it’s important we be mindful and respectful about them.
Being very argumentative is a quality some of us struggle with.
Around family, becoming known as an arguer can lose you respect.
People get tired when they’re around a disputatious individual too much and may start to not ask your opinion and leave you out of decisions.
If you find that you’re often disputing small things with family or over-correcting on issues which come up, this can be a problem in your family environment.
Try your best to let a few more small things slide and not need to be right all the time.
Your family will see you as a bit more forgiving and let you off the hook when you also slip up in little ways.
What to change if your family exploits or mistreats you
When we’re overly agreeable it has dangerous implications across the board.
Being a friendly and easygoing person is one thing:
Being a person who agrees with everything and is scared to say no, or scared to be disliked, is something else entirely.
It means that we center our wellbeing outside of ourselves and make ourselves subject to the opinion and judgment of others for our well-being and stability.
The result, all too often, is that we get taken advantage of and disrespected.
Treat your family with respect, yes, but don’t be afraid to put your foot down and have your own boundaries, too.
9) Emotional codependency
Emotional codependency can pop up in many contexts and relationships, including in families.
It will often manifest as you being the one who fixes situations in your family and everybody turns to or vice versa.
In other words, you may play the role of the “victim” or of the “savior” who rides in to bail everyone out.
Either way, you feel like you need to earn attention and love from family members by needing something from them or by needing to give them something.
This can become deeply toxic and leave you feeling unable to love except in terms of this need-based-bond, rather than voluntary, non-transactional love.
10) Low self-confidence
When you don’t feel very good about yourself, your family senses that.
Some members of the family may interpret it as weakness and try to give you tough love.
Others will simply be selfish or manipulative and will not respond well to the fact that you have low self-esteem.
Sadly, family doesn’t always give us the respect and support that we hope for even though they are tied by blood.
Do your best to build your confidence and become more sure of yourself, and be assured that family will respond accordingly.
When they see that you take yourself seriously and value yourself, family members will also begin to respect you more and give you the attention and fair hearing you deserve.
Watering the roots of the family tree
In my view, the key to family is balance:
Family love should be unconditional, but boundaries should also be clear.
You are not obligated to your family as a kind of possession or object, nor are they obligated to you in such a way.
Your love for family, and their love for you should not be codependent or transactional:
It has to be support and care without strings attached.
If you want to be respected, live up to your own standards and your family will respect that you’re on your path and being true to what’s in your heart.
Don’t wait for respect from family to live your life:
Start now and find your mission. Your family’s respect will follow suit.