We have all been there time and time again. Bending backwards for those we felt deserved it. Overstepping boundaries, and even neglecting ourselves to make sure that special one is okay. But what do we do when that person no longer decides we are worth loving? How do we respond when they suddenly stop caring?
If there is one thing I have learned in life, it is to stop chasing after people. Whether in friendships or romantic relationships, you should never spend precious time and effort proving yourself. Never beg for anyone’s attention. Never force someone to recognize your worth and potential, it’s either they see it or they don’t.
Eventually what ends up happening when we overextend is that we send off a signal saying “I don’t matter”. People can sense how a person feels about themselves, and when you are notorious for placing everyone above you, it shows how little you really value yourself. There should be a set boundary to how often you help others and how often you build for yourself.
But what if I don’t know how?
If you don’t know how, allow me to help you navigate!
- Do not rush to the phone as soon as you get that phone call or text! I know it’s easy for us to want to respond immediately. If anything, it would be hard not to as many of us practically live on our phones. But with an instant reply comes strings attached. You will always find yourself catering to the other person’s schedule, and in answering every single time, you show them that you are willing to always put everything on hold for them. The question though is at what cost are you willing to stop, and say enough is enough?
- Do not always be available. Something God has shown me (and still is) time and time again. No, you are not obligated to hang out every single (or every other) day. Give yourself, and the other person, breathing space. Interest dies out quickly when you know too much about another person. There is no curiosity or mystery to an open book. For that reason, get involved in doing something productive so that you can allow yourself to grow without another person being around.
- Set limitations and boundaries. When it comes a time that the two of you do talk or meet up, establish ground rules. Is this person always asking for favors that you know they cannot or will not reciprocate? Does this person always need something from you but when you need something, they are no where near? So many of us hate saying “no” but when you realize the power in standing up for yourself, you will understand that assertiveness is not aggressiveness but assessing that the situation is kept fair. Use your voice, don’t diminish it!
But I can’t do that, I can’t just ignore or hurt them? What if they really need me?
Way too many of us fear that if we are stern that we will scare people away. That if we don’t do what they ask or tell us, then we are being mean and “that’s just not right.” But isn’t it mean to be asked to compromise your standards? Isn’t it mean to be expected to be on standby for a person who doesn’t put you first? Isn’t it mean to be treated like a resource, and not a human being?
Granted, friends and dating partners should be there for one another. That is an absolute must. The thing is though, you are never required to give too much of yourself. In no point should you feel that you always have to initiate contact or arrange a hang out. You should never worry more about the person than the person does worrying about you; the love and care must always be on equal ground. And in the same instance, you should never look to someone else to fulfill your life, because seeking fulfillment cannot be found anywhere outside of yourself.
The consequences of overextending.
When we find ourselves constantly plugged into another person, we become plugged in to their problems. On top of what we already have going on, we also now have to deal with managing their baggage. Their hurts become our hurts, and their issues become our issues. Needless to say, we either become someone’s crutch, or they become ours.
If you are always there to spoon feed someone during their trials, how will they ever learn how to do anything themselves if you are always there picking up after them?
In wanting to be nice, we are essentially trying to be this big solver. But again, do not make the mistake of mismanaging the time you need to grow into the person you desire to become. How can you always be there for others when you can’t even be there for yourself?
The benefits of self preservation.
Self preservation is a virtue, do not allow anyone to make you feel in the wrong for cultivating your personal space.
I have found that in my alone time, away from all of the noise and heavy distraction, I have been able to develop so much more. No longer do I find myself scrambling for “me time”, if anything I have plenty of it.
Create a healthy space so that you have just enough time to be there for your personal commitments while still being a helping hand for others. Know when to act and when to be still. Grow for you so that you can be the person that someone else needs (when the time is right).
We are only given one shot at this life, make it count! I urge you to start listening more to the voice inside telling you to do more! In the silence, make time to cater to your own personal needs. Give yourself a spa day, pamper yourself with treats, read up on books and inspirationals that get you going! Trust in the process, and in due time, you will see amazing growth results in yourself (along with improved or newly found relationships that better match the person you are becoming)!