As a child, you often learn that it’s more important for you to make others happy than it is to make yourself happy. Our adult years are spent learning how to balance the needs of others without completely neglecting our own. It’s something that I can say I have failed at time and time again. For so long, I made the mistake of thinking that doing what people want was the only way that I could get the love from them that I desperately needed. Not surprising, it never worked out the way I thought it would. I gave and gave and all I got in return was more requests. I never felt loved or appreciated. I always ended up feeling used. Eventually, I learned that some people feel like it’s their place in life to gain from the work of others. If you feel like you have to give to gain love, you are more than certain to end up attracted to one of those people.
Sounds painful, right? It is. Why? Because that is the way we learn.
Sometimes, you have to know when to walk away. If you choose not to make that decision, you are often faced with something that forces you to go. So the question is how do you know when it’s the right time to leave? Most people are afraid to give up to soon. You think that person is suddenly going to understand that they should love you back. Or, that job is going to magically realize that you are the best employee they have. Maybe, that friend that is never there will start to understand that he has to give in return. We love to believe in fairy-tales or, like movies, that people can radically change through circumstances. It is possible, but you cannot base your life on someone else gaining that type of understanding unless they give you a reason to.
So again, how do you know?
There are two things that you have to do. You have to look deep inside yourself and ask yourself if the relationship is giving you anything you need. And if not, why? If the relationship is temporarily deficient for a specific reason, but you think that it will payoff as conditions change, then you can keep trying. To clarify, there are times in any relationship when you will be used. If someone is in the hospital or requires your assistance, you are going to give more than you get in return. But, if that person can’t find someway to reward you or say thank you, you may have a problem. If there is absolutely no reason why your needs couldn’t be met, it means that the person has no desire to. It means that person doesn’t care about your needs. If you feel used, it is most likely, because you are being used.
Now, here is the surprising thing. It’s not the other person’s fault that you aren’t getting what you need. You cannot blame the other person, completely, you are equally (if not more) responsible. No one can use you without your permission. You have to give them full access to your emotions and resources for them to use you. So the real question is why do you allow it? Why don’t you love yourself enough to understand that you deserve better? You can demand better from the person you are with, but most likely, if they haven’t until now you won’t get it. As painful as it may seem, you have to open the door and wait for the person that will recognize how special you are and love you the way that you deserve. As long as you are waiting for the wrong person, you’ll never be able to see the right person.
Look at the people in your inner circle. Is there anyone that leaves you longing for reciprocation or generally sucks the energy from you. Look at your job. Is every day a challenge? Do you feel unappreciated? Are you settling for just good enough? If so, I challenge you to love yourself enough to choose better. You may be pleasantly surprised that all it takes is one step in the right direction.
Choose love, my friends.