Why am I always being taken advantage of?

That is such a loaded and complicated question and everyone is so individual in their experiences.

I do believe that childhood experiences have a lot to do with it. All I can do is talk from my own experiences of what I went through and how I managed to overcome my challenges and obstacles and then go on to thrive in all areas of my life.

So get comfortable. Bring out the hot chocolate, let’s do this. I am about to let you into my private life and my story. This is not easy for me but I do know that if I don’t share my story I am not being truly authentic and helping others. If you know me well then you know that helping others is my passion.

5 4 3 2 1 Let’s Go!

At 12 years old I was fully developed. Say no more. I was embarrassed. I minimised myself at school. Also in the good old days, they put the tallest at the back of the rows in assembly. I used to hunch myself down. I did not want to be seen. Confidence knock number one. I was so worried that one day I would become a hunchback old lady. Memories: My Mom always said, “Stand up straight, tummy in and shoulders back.” Thanks, Mum. xxx

In 1990 (ancient times), I was 19 and started my career as a Trainee Catering Manager at a Corporate Contracts Catering Company. Here I had a lot of experiences that were far from great. I went from a trainee manager to managing my own branches at 20 years old, it happened very fast as I was enthusiastic, hard working, and motivated.

In the early days when I started I had my fellow Branch Managers (much older than me) talking down to me. Example, In Head Office Manager Meetings: “Tell that little girl to move as I cannot see through her big, bushy, curly hair.” Confidence killer number 2 I tell ya.

Financial Managing Directors, at the Contracting sites that I had to report to, taking advantage of me. One guy put his hand up my dress. One put his hand on my leg as we were driving to one of the sites I managed. I cannot tell you how mortified and scared I was. I had no voice. I managed to always pull away but why did I not have the courage to put them in their place.

Luckily times have changed and have got a lot better for younger people. When I grew up the famous saying was “Children should be seen and not heard.” I almost made the same mistake with my 2 children and I quickly caught a wake up. I started asking my kids when they were growing up to speak up. If they were not happy with what I was saying I asked them to voice their opinions. I did not want history to repeat itself.

You don’t have to be loud, scream, or shout to be heard and respected. You can calmly and diplomatically say no or voice your opinion.

If your confidence has been knocked then start by building up your confidence levels. Don’t be your worst enemy by putting yourself down all the time. Don’t let your inner critic talk nonsense to you. Tell the negative voice in your head to buzz off. Decide what you want and what you don’t want. Don’t let anyone dictate to you how you should live your life.

Number 2 is to not try and get your confidence by what others think of you. Everyone is so special and unique. Take time to think about your talents and attributes that make you stand out. Be your own cheerleader and be proud of yourself.

Once you are feeling good about yourself then work on setting boundaries. People will only treat you as you allow them to.

“We teach people how to treat us by what we tolerate. So be aware of what you are tolerating.”

Take time to reflect and decide how you want to be treated. Think about what physical and emotional boundaries you would like to set. If you are unhappy with how someone is treating you, then learn to speak up and say no. Start small and work on it until eventually, you will be comfortable voicing what your limits are. Don’t let anyone manipulate or guilt trip you into thinking that it is OK and that something is wrong with you. Be consistent as unfortunately people will see your kindness and take it for weakness and try their luck again. Know your value and your worth. When you speak up they will know your limits and treat you accordingly. They will also have more respect for you. Quit trying to please everyone.

Another reason is overthinking situations. Once you learn to speak up instead of thinking about what could go wrong rather spend your time thinking about all that could go right. This will improve as you find your voice. Better relationships, improved confidence, self-care, self-love, happiness, peace and so much more.

Set some time aside to do a relationship scan of who is toxic for your mental health. Don’t be afraid to let go of people who are not respecting you. You will feel the heavy weight lift off your shoulders once you release who and what does not serve you.

Lastly, know your values and your limits, and do not be afraid to set them!

Be Courageously and Authentically YOU! Robyn xxx

If you would like more information on coaching with me then you are welcome to contact me to schedule a chat to discuss further.

Bella Donna Life Skills & Finishing Classes – robyn@bellaonnaclasses.co.za www.belladonnaclassses.co.za

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