Stuck moment: How dare she! That was such a rude thing to do. And now I can’t stop thinking about it. Is this really how she thinks about me?
When we feel disrespected, in our heart of hearts, it’s always about feeling undervalued. Someone doesn’t get us. Someone who matters treats us in a way we don’t deserve. Whatever its form — whether a deliberate word or action, or a careless one — disrespect surprises us, and makes us question important things: our sense of self and our relationship with the other person. Often to the point of distraction.
There’s no vaccine against disrespect, but there are measures we can take to make sure that hurt feelings don’t spiral into something bigger. Sometimes, for example, dealing with disrespect creates an opportunity to engage in empathy or to clarify our personal expectations. Sometimes an open and direct conversation provides a necessary reset in a shaky relationship. And, sometimes, we need to summon the self-belief and the courage to let stuff go.
Here are nine original stories of how real individuals faced and then erased disrespect. Their insights show us that we are much bigger than a single act of insolence.