How did I stop being manipulated? I stopped being a manipulator.

I could really stop there, but that wouldn’t make for good reading. It’s the honest truth though. When I was presented with my character defects, I saw how often I was trying to manipulate situations. I didn’t even realize it because most of the time I was being nice or generous. That’s when I had to get brutally honest with myself about the intentions behind my actions.

Was I acting from a place of integrity, or trying to control people, places and things to get what I wanted?

If something wasn’t going my way I would use kindness or passive behavior to get what I wanted – AKA manipulation. I’m kind by nature, so it was difficult for me to recognize that I was abusing this asset. I never realized that I was being manipulative; because I manipulated myself into thinking what I was doing was okay. It usually involved me being too nice or sacrificing my own needs, so that became my justification; “If I’m not hurting other people its ok.” Unfortunately not communicating my needs leads to resentments, resentments lead to combative behavior and THAT leads to destruction. How is that behavior NOT hurting others?!

It’s no wonder I was attracting manipulative behavior into my life…I was getting exactly what I was putting out there.

Instead of manipulating things to get what I want, I try to be the kind of person I want in my life.

People who live in the problem don’t want to be around people who live in the solution. It’s annoying to them. People who like to gossip gravitate toward people who will engage in their gossip. People who manipulate, attract manipulators; it’s like a manipulation game. It’s just how it works.

I had to learn how to set healthy boundaries and STICK to them!

If something doesn’t feel right I investigate why. Once I know why, I can set my boundaries, if I haven’t already, and communicate them effectively. As long as I’m true to my boundaries, I know if I need to work harder or walk away. Setting boundaries requires integrity and self-love on my part. If I set a boundary and allow it to be broken, what is that saying about my self-worth?

I can’t tell you how many times I stayed in a job or relationship too long because I could picture the perfect outcome. I just “knew” that if everyone did what I wanted it would all work out! Or, “if I wait long enough things will get better.” I can honestly say that behavior never worked out…

I get what I truly want by being the best version of myself.

Today I let go of expectations. I have to trust that what’s meant for me will stay in my life, without adjusting my boundaries. I have to know where I can compromise and when to walk away.  My boundaries are important to me. I don’t set them and then stretch them to keep things in my life.

So, I don’t live like that anymore. I no longer try to run the show.

It’s not always easy. I still find myself wanting to compromise my own self-respect, or someone else’s, to get the outcome I want, but I know where that leads. It took a lot of work to get to the place of serenity I have in my life now. My ego doesn’t like to be wrong though, so it’s always trying to prove itself. I’m constantly checking my intentions before and after I act on my feelings.

Self-awareness through prayer and meditation has been key for me.

When I stop making excuses for my behavior, and get really quiet, I see the reality of the situation. I can ask myself important questions and find out what’s best for everyone involved. Is my behavior true to the integrity I want to live by? Am I being kind because it’s the right thing to do, or because I think it will inevitably get me something I want? What is the energy I’m bringing into this situation? What is MY next right step? When I answer these questions honestly, I usually know exactly what to do.

It happens in all aspects of my life; relationships, friendships and my own personal goals. Just like I investigate why something doesn’t feel right, I have to take note when something feels good. When I feel passion for something I gravitate toward it. If it stops feeling good, I review where I may have taken a wrong turn.

Communication is important; more important though is the intention behind it. So, I also ask myself if I’m communicating in a way that’s best for all parties involved, or if I’m communicating in a way that allows my ego to win and be right? The next question is do I want to be right or do I want everyone to be happy?

“Be Impeccable With Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.” Don Miguel Ruiz

Letting go of my manipulative behavior took practice, but I try not to fight things anymore. Sometimes it makes me sad, but if I’m not happy in a situation it’s always better to remove myself than to stay and try to control the outcome.

So, that’s how I stopped attracting manipulative behavior into my life. I stopped manipulating.