Valuing yourself and those around you is crucial in building strong friendships and relationships. Your actions towards others are a direct reflection of your character and self-worth.

Respect is a feeling of admiration or deference towards someone or something, often based on their qualities, achievements, or position. It involves treating others with kindness, consideration, and dignity and acknowledging their worth and value. Respect can also refer to following social norms, rules, or customs and respecting others’ feelings, opinions, and boundaries.

My time as a credit controller at a construction company is etched in my memory. The workplace was heavily male-dominated, with women being a rare sight. What truly appalled me was the vulgar language used by managers towards office staff when errors were made.

The use of the filthy ‘C’ word was a regular occurrence when berating someone. I found it difficult to adjust to such crude language, believing there is a time and place for such vulgarity among like-minded individuals.

Appalled by such behaviour, I resigned before completing my probationary period.

I seldom swear or curse, reserving such language for extreme situations. At the same time, I can tolerate others swearing in my presence, being sworn at crosses a line for me.

A true gentleman always excuses himself when swearing in front of a woman; that is how it should be unless a woman is comfortable with it.

Respect begins at home, shaping the language and behaviour deemed acceptable within your family.

Within my family, using disrespectful language was strictly prohibited.

I deeply respect individuals who dare to confront those who belittle, bully, or try to control others.

I am not the kind of woman who will stay silent and tolerate mistreatment by anyone.

We all have the right to our own opinions and beliefs, and if they differ from someone else’s, they should respect that and understand that you are an individual, not part of their flock.

I have witnessed situations where differences in opinion have escalated into arguments, resulting in individual fallouts.

Engaging in arguments with someone who has done thorough research or has experience in a subject is futile. It often stems from ignorance and can escalate to arrogance.

I love sharing inside jokes like everyone else, but I firmly believe in never intentionally hurting someone unless they deserve a little reality check.

I have my standards and was raised with values, morals, and ethics, but I do not impose my beliefs on others.

I make a conscious effort to avoid situations that contradict my values and beliefs. I respect others for who they are and do not see myself as superior to anyone, but I will not hesitate to speak up if someone tries to act superior to me.

Everyone has their own set of talents and abilities, with some shining in academics, others in practical skills, and some excelling in both. Acknowledging that this diversity does not justify belittling or insulting others who may learn at a different pace or possess different strengths and weaknesses.

Confrontation may be necessary, mainly if it can prevent someone from embarrassing themselves or potentially saving their lives.

Respect involves how we communicate with each other and how we treat each other emotionally and physically.

When someone is feeling down, they need to be uplifted, but sadly, some people take pleasure in keeping them down to boost their egos.

There is a clear distinction between feeling low and feeling sorry for oneself.

The latter involves indulging in self-pity and focusing solely on oneself, while feeling low may indicate struggling to lift oneself out of a state of depression.

Manipulation and intimidation are tactics used to control others, such as making them appear foolish in front of others or exploiting their kind nature through emotional blackmail.

It is unfortunate when individuals find themselves in situations where they are manipulated and controlled by others, leading to fear of verbal or physical abuse.

Perpetrators often use tactics to make victims believe they are at fault and dependent on them, further perpetuating the cycle of abuse.

Manipulators and opportunists will seek out another vulnerable victim to maintain their power and control, as well as perpetuate their cycle of co-dependency.

It is often said that you truly get to know someone when they become familiar with you. This is when you see their true nature, including their positive traits, flaws, and vulnerabilities.

Awareness of the control factor is crucial in relationships and interactions with others.

Maintaining emotional, physical, and spiritual independence can help prevent manipulation and intimidation, as secure individuals are less likely to be swayed or controlled by others.

Individuals who are desperate for companionship may be vulnerable to falling into problematic situations, and their transparency and eagerness for connection can attract manipulative individuals who are skilled at taking advantage of their vulnerabilities.

In the modern Western world, there are typically numerous options available for individuals to escape toxic or abusive situations.

However, some common excuses for staying in such situations include concerns about the well-being of children, feeling trapped with nowhere to go, or holding onto hope that the abusive individual will change.

It is important to recognise that staying in a harmful relationship can have negative effects on both the individual and any children involved.

In certain cultures, trying to escape could be risky, requiring frequent relocation or assuming a new identity to evade vengeful family members intent on finding you.

To be completely honest, reflecting on my own past, there was a period many years ago when I almost hit rock bottom. I found myself in a situation I never anticipated, feeling completely trapped with no apparent way out due to demanding behaviours and emotional manipulation.

An opportunist may make you believe they are there to rescue you while taking advantage of what they can benefit from your current vulnerable situation.

Their aim is to make you emotionally and mentally reliant on them, pretending to have your best interests at heart while draining you emotionally, mentally and if you are not careful, financially.

Without going into details, it took a lot of prayer and courage to finally break free from the toxic situation that began to weigh me down, luckily it was for a short time.

I lost nothing, I wasn’t blind I could see through the deception and empty words.

It is essential to stand firm and speak your truth to preserve your sanity, even if it means making enemies.

A person who uses you to keep them afloat is not a positive addition to your life but more like the noose around your neck.

If I was in the right state of mind, I would never have knowingly put myself in this situation. I wasn’t foolish, my eyes were wide open it was self-destruction.

It’s disheartening that we encounter such individuals even in the most esteemed places.

The same holds true in the workplace. While it’s understandable that the term “employ” implies being used, it becomes hurtful when they exploit you and discard you once they have taken credit for your efforts.

Manipulators and opportunists can lurk in any corner, in any guise like wolves in sheep’s clothing.

The most difficult part is when you are aware of a person’s intentions, but you are so preoccupied that you find yourself in the exact situation you were trying to avoid.

It was almost as if I was intentionally punishing myself, but I am grateful that I woke up before losing everything as well as my sanity.

I have made significant progress since then, and now I understand the narcissistic tendencies that some people can have.

They delusionally believe they have positively impacted you and still try to use you for their own success without offering support in your ventures.

The beauty of it all is that you can genuinely wish them well, but you no longer do them any favours or invest in them.

I attribute it to experience rather than becoming bitter and making every effort to destroy them.

In life, all the negative actions you take will catch up with you. The lies and deceit will follow you wherever you go.

In the end, people will see you for who and what you really are.

I would never treat another human being like that.

However, it’s essential to understand that someone like that has behaved that way for years and may lack a conscience.

I trust that you will be able to identify such people before entering into any contract or friendship with them.

The balance lies in weighing the pros and cons of someone’s character and what they offer versus what you receive from them.

Don’t become a people pleaser because you may attract such negative individuals.

In everything, there must be a balance.

Natalie M Bleau

Scripture of Balance

Author Natalie M Bleau

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