Are relationships complicated or do we complicate them?
Think of any relationship that you are involved in. Your relationship with your partner, your family, children, friends or your work relationships.
Are you always doing things for everyone else around you, putting their needs ahead of your own? Do you end up feeling rejected and hurt when you have given so much of yourself to someone else and they don’t do the same for you?
A while back, I was chatting to a good friend of mine. I value our friendship and I love talking to her because she has a way of steering me in the right direction and making me view things from an objective point of view. Our conversations are not always pleasant or exactly what I want to hear because they can be painfully honest. However, after some introspection and reflection, I always find value in my discussions with her. I always emerge a better, more powerful version of myself. I always feel that I have grown after spending time with her.
We were having one of those conversations that many of us have had at some point which goes something like this …
“If I knew this was going to happen, I would not have done everything I have done for X. I have given X so many years of my life … if I knew they were going to do this, I would not have done …”
I am sure many of you can relate to having a similar conversation at some point in your life, right? When you are having a conversation along these lines with a close and trusted friend, you do expect them to show some empathy and for them to offer you a shoulder to cry on, right?
Well, to my surprise my friend responded with something like this … she was not exactly this harsh but this is exactly how I “heard it” …
“You have made yourself indispensable and now your expectation is that X should think and believe that you are so valuable that they cannot do without you. You have given way too much of yourself and because X is not able to do the same for you, your feelings are hurt. You have not been able to set boundaries for how much you give. You are an over-giver and you give and give and give because you want people to need you. you are doing it for your own benefit, not for them … ”
Ouch … that hurt. All I heard was YOU, YOU, YOU … She was blaming me for this ?
I agree, that was just a bit dramatic. She did not really say that but our conversation did make me think and I hope it got you thinking as well.
Are you giving too much ? Have you lost your own identity in your relationships, romantic or otherwise? Are you over-giving in a relationship to compensate for the lack of giving on the part of the other people in your relationships?
It is a fact that we are always aware when a relationship is not mutual. We know that we are not getting out what we are putting in. Sometimes, we might be extremely unhappy with the state of a relationship but we stay or continue the relationship because we feel that we have invested too much and we want to believe that things will change as long as we keep on giving more and more of ourselves.
Am I saying that giving is a bad thing? No, not at all. What is important is that you value yourself in every relationship. Ensure that you know your value and that you are being treated with honesty, respect, trust and loyalty. These are the cornerstones of love. These are non-negotiable and when you realise this and start believing that you are worthy of love, you will stop overcompensating for an emotionally draining relationship and you will become happy from within.
Start saying NO and stop waiting for other people to change … change starts with you.
Practice some self-love. Work on your relationship with yourself and invest the giving in yourself. Keep your own emotional tank full by loving yourself first and by giving less and watch how everyone will start to appreciate and value you more!
Assess every one of your relationships by considering the following:
1. Is your self-esteem taking a knock?
2. Are you feeling undignified?
3. Do you feel unloved (lack of honesty, trust, respect and loyalty)
If you have answered yes to any one of the above, you are giving to much to the relationship.
How does that make you feel?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
If you have not read it before I would also recommend that you read my blog post called “Change The Scary Monster” .
Life is Love