We’ve all been there: there’s been someone in each of our lives who has repeatedly given us the cold shoulder, failed to make plans time and time again, avoided our calls, and more or less withheld mutual respect in whatever form that relationship took. A friend, a family member, a (hopefully by now ex-) romantic partner. And the sad thing is, we often take the BS, sometimes without even fully realizing and acknowledging it for what it is.
If you were expecting a concrete answer to this question, I can’t tell you for certain. In fact, if I made any definite claims, I’d be lying to you. Maybe we all do it for different reasons. We feel like we don’t deserve better, that that’s just how some people are and so we must swallow the annoyance and/or absenteeism of the situation (only the first of which is true — some people do just suck, I’m sad to say), that no one better will come along, etc. More reasons, none of these reasons… any combination of excuses for being someone’s punching bag, needless to say, is never going to be good enough to condone its occurrence.
The older I get, the more I come to realize how dumb I was in the past for continuing to chase down the relationships that were toxic, where the respect and time invested was not mutual. Where I was putting myself out to keep the thing going and going and going… but for what purpose? To exhaust myself even further? To push something that will offer nothing to me in return, both in the short- and long-term? It seems pretty ridiculous when you look at it from this perspective, especially when you ask yourself what you would suggest to a close friend in a similar situation. Would you agree that this arrangement is acceptable?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a “best friend” I politely omitted from my life a couple of years back, as I found myself wondering how she’s been doing and what her life is like now. This thought brings with it a reminder each time however, that an integral part of my ‘coming of age’, so to speak, involved me letting go of such people to make space mentally and emotionally for better individuals to enter. Whether I chose the release at the time or not (in some situations I did, in others I didn’t), I was able to learn from the relief of no longer chasing. No longer are you wondering if they will answer you texts, if they’ll be free to make time for you. You now have the space for people who want to be present in your life. We mould ourselves into who we are largely via those that we surround ourselves with. What we allow ourselves to accept from others forms a habit for future relationships that we begin.
Break the habit. You, me… we all deserve only the best, and it’s up to us to remain firm in seeing that truth manifested in our day to day lives.