“We teach people how to treat us. You either teach people to treat you with dignity and respect, or you don’t.” ~Dr. Phil
Last weekend I scheduled a very long over-due facial. It’s sad to think about how long it had been – perhaps 4-5 years since I’ve had one? Yikes! Yet, 2014 has been a year where I’ve committed to certain acts of self-care (massages, facials, etc.) – and have stopped defining them a luxury and made them a necessity for feeling good.
Needless to say, I was excited while I sat in the waiting area of the spa – and looking forward to receiving some much needed pampering.
The esthetician eventually came out to greet me. Immediately I felt weird in my body as the initial encounter felt odd and cold.
No warm greeting. No hand-shake. Just a simple statement: “Are you Brenda?” she said. “Yes.” I replied. Then she walked away. I assumed she expected me to follow her? I shrugged it off, got up to follow her, and turned the corner to find her joking around with the receptionist. She turned around looking annoyed, as if to remember she now needed to work, and opened the door to the back area.
I thought to myself: “This doesn’t feel right. I don’t like her energy. This isn’t what I envisioned for being pampered and able to have some serious down-time. I’m feeling stressed, uncomfortable and annoyed.”
But, once again, I shrugged it off and thought to myself that I was just over reacting. I made myself believe I was being overly sensitive and I must be imagining this whole encounter.
A very bad habit of mine has been always believing it’s me, not them.
Being an intuitive, sensitive person, I’ve been a pro at taking on other people’s “stuff” and trying to make them feel better and more comfortable. I realize now that I’ve done this because I learned from a very early-age that I needed to become who “they” wanted me to be in order to receive any morsel of love or acceptance.
Needless to say, this is a habit that I am consciously breaking – no more taking responsibility for “stuff” that isn’t mine.
So, as the facial kicked off, I did my best to relax in her presence. Unfortunately that didn’t last long as the first 5-minutes were spent with the esthetician trying to strong arm me into paying for an upgraded, much more expensive facial.
I politely declined the upgrade three times. But, she was relentless. She clearly wanted me to know that she was in charge, she was the expert, and I should do what she said. Finally, I had to lift my head, turn my body around (I was lying down with her behind me) and look her square in the eye and say, “No upgrade!”
She looked at me stunned, as if no one had ever said no to her. She then simply said: “Okay”.
You can probably imagine how uncomfortable I was after having this intense encounter with a woman I didn’t even know and who was in a position of providing a service that is supposed to make me feel valued, relaxed and pampered.
The next 30-minutes were thankfully uneventful. The facial was fine. I did my best to relax and enjoy the products she was applying to my face. I even began to think (again) “Maybe I’m over-reacting. Maybe she isn’t all that annoying. Maybe I’d come back here…”
Then, all of a sudden, as I lay under the steam, partially relaxing, I hear: “You have 9 saved messages”. I thought to myself: “What? Is she seriously checking her voice mail in the middle of giving a facial?”
I then began to think it was some kind of joke – that the whole encounter was a set-up for that show What Would You Do? – where they secretly video-tape people in social situations to see how they’ll react.
But no, unfortunately I wasn’t on any t.v. show. This is real life. I was just in the midst of a person who was/is a pro at making other people feel completely un-valued.
After the voice mail check, I asked her to take me off steam, remove the mask and finish-up. She, once again, seemed stunned. Clueless in fact – that she had done anything disrespectful or uncaring.
After getting dressed and walking out to reception, I proceeded to pay for the facial and let the receptionist know what had happened. She was stunned and extremely apologetic.
For a brief moment, I thought – “I should give her a tip. I can’t just leave without giving her a tip.”
But I’ve learned that we are often put in situations like this to not only learn lessons for ourselves, but to teach other people lessons as well. I’ve also learned that silence often speaks much louder than words.
That day many lessons were learned and some Worthy Nuggets were gleamed which I share below in the Worthy Work section – I hope you find them valuable and applicable to your everyday life situations.
Below are three Worthy Nuggets that you can use in any area of your life to help you get what it is that you not only want, but rightfully deserve:
Worthy Nugget #1: Trust Your Intuition: : Two weeks after my encounter with this particular esthetician, my hair stylist and I were chatting about the experience. Both being in the services business, we “get” how vital it is to value our clients and long-term relationships. Come to find out, by random chance, this esthetician is a client of the hair salon I go to and is known for wreaking havoc with all the stylists and complaining constantly about her service. The irony in this is uncanny. But, most importantly, I had an intuition about this person – and I initially doubted it – and began to take it on as “my stuff”. Lesson is – if you get a strong negative vibe from someone – trust it. Caring souls often doubt their intuition about others and habitually want to take it on as “your stuff”. Learn to leave “their stuff” with them and release yourself of any guilt for “judging” them – you need to judge in order to function in life.
Worthy Nugget #2: Don’t Be Afraid To Say NO: I think we all know how awful it feels to be treated like a pawn in someone else’s chess game. Where we know the person we’re dealing with has an agenda for us and will do anything to take control of the situation. In this particular case I knew that I was being manipulated into an “upgrade” in service and rather than give in and be a “good girl” in order to be liked and accepted – I stood up (literally) and said NO. We all need to get comfortable with uncomfortable situations and the fear of others not liking us. Remember, it feels better to have self-respect than to lose respect for your self by being a people pleaser.
Worthy Nugget #3: Expect Exceptional Experiences: Raising your standards and expectations is a great example of feeling uncomfortable. Once again, when you’re a caring person, it can feel weird to expect better experiences for yourself. A natural fear is the fear of acting entitled or arrogant. Most likely at one point in your life you knew someone who acts extremely entitled – as if the whole world revolves around them. You probably committed to never being like that – but as a result found yourself receiving less than you truly deserve. Realize that it’s all about balance. To raise your standards for what you expect to receive, isn’t arrogant – it’s reiterating to yourself that you’re worth it.
This week give thought to the 3 Worthy Nuggets and where you can apply them to certain areas of your life where you know you’re on the verge of deserving more, but falsely believing that you may not be entitled to receive it. Abolish that false belief – take action – feel the fear and do it anyway. You’ll be so glad you did!
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