Denise DuBois: People will treat you the way you present yourself

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Do you know that how you present yourself is how you will be treated by others? Of course you know that, but it serves us well to be reminded sometimes.

When I was growing up, my mother, wise woman that she is, taught me not to use profanity. She taught me to have confidence and to believe in myself. She taught me that if I wanted something, I would have to work for it. Things aren’t always handed to us, but when they are, be thankful for it and continue to work. She also taught me to respect myself as a girl and later as a woman because men respect women who respect themselves.

You remember when bell-bottoms were popular in the ‘70s then again in the ‘90s? History repeats itself and our culture is no different. When I was growing up, it was popular or cool for girls to call each other by names that weren’t exactly kosher. That’s just how things were. Between the magazines I read (we didn’t have the ever-popular Internet sites back then that we do now) and the things I heard from people I admired, I learned that if I allowed my girl friends to call me those names, then boys who heard us talking like that would also think it was okay to call me by those names. And let me tell you, I wasn’t going to allow that to happen. As I matured into a teenager and young adult, the people I surrounded myself with knew that I didn’t like profanity. I never had to tell them. The way I conducted myself and the words that I said proved that I didn’t like it. I never had girl friends call me by those names that I won’t repeat because they knew I wouldn’t tolerate it.

Over the years, the men in my life, even when they were all together, would curb their tongues in my presence. They didn’t have to, but I respected myself and they respected me because of it. My conduct changed their actions toward me.

Today, it’s popular again because of memes and social media to call your friends, especially women, by those names. And again, I’ve been met with girl friends who won’t use those “terms of endearment” with me. I asked a friend over the weekend why.

“We’re not friends like that,” she said. “I know you don’t like it.”

That’s very true and I was thankful that she knew that. I didn’t even have to tell her. We’ve been friends long enough that she knows my conduct.

But that goes to show that we will be treated as we present ourselves. If we use foul language with each other, others will use it with us, quite possibly men we are considering dating. If we disrespect each other, we are more likely to be disrespected. If we treat each other with respect and kindness, we will be met with respect and kindness. If we show love to others, we will be shown love in return. When we surround ourselves with a tribe of generous, joyful, compassionate and friendly women, we will be more apt to recognize when a potential mate is lacking those qualities and we can seek another match.

I’m thankful that my mother instilled those lessons in me at a young age, and I’m thrilled at the opportunity to pass that wisdom along to other girls and women who need to hear it.

Email me at ddubois@citizenea.com.