...are sometimes the UN-luckiest people in the world...
I'm a people-pleaser. Maybe it's because I'm an only child, or it's because I was raised by a woman who is a people-pleaser (who in turn was raised by a woman who was a people-pleaser, who in turn...you get it). Whether nature, nurture, or just because, it is part of my makeup. And don't misunderstand - being a people-pleasure is not a selfless thing. I actually get pleasure by helping, by being helpful. I enjoy, for the most part, being someone who works hard at my relationships, who values the people in my life and wants them to know what they mean to me.
But as I get older - and either wiser, or more cynical? - I realize that there are definitely some one-sided relationships in my portfolio. As in I am the only one who puts in the effort. And while I certainly understand that all relationships have an ebb and flow to them, I am just not comfortable in the doormat role with certain people in my life. The ones who never give more than they take. The ones who never want to be the listener, the do-er, the helper in a friendship.
My fabulously wise and witty maternal grandfather had a fabulous saying about giving in relationships. He mainly referred to it regarding a marriage, but I think it is fitting for other key relationships in life. His theory was that instead of things being "50/50", that if you give 60, and only take 40, when times are tough there will always be something leftover to help you get through. I think there is some great knowledge there - that giving more than you take is not only selfless, but in some way builds up a bank of goodwill. That both partners or parties give more than they need to, that all involved help more than they take.
That ideal of relationships is surely that - an ideal. But imagine the shift in our lives if that is how we treated all of those who are important to us? Always wanting to give more than we take - being more selfless than selfish.
It is painful to acknowledge that with some people you will never get back what you put in to a relationship. Determining if that person is worth your while is a freeing exercise, though, I've realized. Because what I've learned about myself is that while I plan to continue being a people-pleaser, that I am also going to start considering myself one of the people that I want to please. I'm pretty great, and I'm worth the extra.