More often than not we find ourselves in a place where we give more than what we get and we are conditioned to accept whatever we receive. Whether it’s with family, friends or even life partners.
We spring up and rush to help with whatever others need and whenever they ask for it because it is our natural instinct to be there for others and help them, to earn their trust and value, to shower them with the ultimate form of nurturing and care. By doing things for others we want to fill in the void that we once owned when no one was there for us and from where we can derive a sense of belonging through giving. With time the nature of giving subconsciously also makes us give away our power in the hands of others and we start expecting them to reciprocate the efforts and value us.
But what really happens when your efforts are not reciprocated and you are taken for granted?
The first and foremost red flag is lack of communication. It happens when we don't find ourselves being able to communicate our thoughts clearly or don't get the positive and understanding response we expect. We instead feel attacked and disappointed in our own thoughts, from which stems insecurity. We start questioning ourselves and our own actions. We start dwelling in this puddle of self doubt and loop ourselves up by feeling guilty for asking others to value us in the first place.
Through this process we sometimes start believing in being the bigger person and the concept of providing “unconditional love." Well if you google it "Unconditional love is known as affection without any limitations, or love without conditions. This term is sometimes associated with other terms such as true altruism or complete love." But as human beings with emotions, we cannot feel fulfilled until or unless we see some form of reciprocation or acknowledgment for our efforts. The concept of unconditional love is somewhat non existent because our mind is designed in a way where we seek for the return of our investment even if it is through appreciation. And in this specific case we use this term as an excuse to make ourselves believe it is okay to keep doing things for people and lowering our expectations instead because of our emotional dependency on them.
If you find yourself in this situation, here are 8 thing you need to stop doing right now.
1. Stop accepting heartfelt apologies followed by unchanged behavior.
2. Stop feeling guilty and considering baseless complains when you speak up.
3. Stop holding yourself accountable for other's failures to try and understand you.
4. Stop settling for zero acknowledgement for your effort.
5. Stop giving more than what you are receiving.
6. Stop adjusting your expectations based on what the other person is comfortable with.
7. Stop lowering your value in your own eyes.
8. Stop putting effort and doing things for them 'unconditionally'.
If you feel like you are going down on a negative spiral even after trying your best to properly communicate SIMPLY STOP. For centuries especially for women, the societal conditioning and ancestral instincts lie in being more empathetic and giving away their power to others. But even just as humans, we tend to comfort others who we love before ourselves and when they don't fulfill our expectations we go down and lower our own needs to hold on to whatever little is being provided to us, to make us feel like we belong. However, we forget that even if we do our most to satisfy others, there will always be complains and negligence thrown at us for the things that we can't control, so why bother seeking validation from others rather than yourself?
Recognize when you are being gaslighted into believing that someone else’s negative actions are excusable or valid whereas your demand for respect and value is the problem and considered providing 'negative energy' and annoyance. When you know you deserve much more than what you are receiving, you need to take the authority back in your hand about your needs and set a value for yourself. You need to communicate your needs, your priorities, the way you want to be valued and your boundaries. It will definitely affect you, destroy you and shatter you momentarily if there is no effort to understand from the other side even when you communicate but do not settle for less until you are given what you deserve and start drawing the line before it becomes toxic.
You need to start looking at the mirror and start acknowledging yourself for what you bring to the table because if you do not respect your own presence, your actions and yourself no one will respect you for it and you will forever lack contentment. Start putting effort only when you see its reciprocated and valued. Our reactions are nothing but a combination of chemical imbalances in our mind and the way we approach things and ourselves can reflect the way as to how people approach us. So start with yourself, one day at a time and the world will follow.