I am in therapy and have been for about a dozen years. Not a shocker, right? Anyway, I was dealing with a battle of doubt about 8 months ago. I unloaded my feelings on my doctor, who deserves a metal for hazardous situations. LOL
Here’s what went down.
We were in the heart of Covid 19 and mega social distancing was the norm, so I understood the reluctance of getting together with friends. What I was struggling with was some people quit communicating on all formats. I would send ‘Good Morning’ texts and funny memes on Facebook to a group of friends. I would reach out through Messenger, Insta, Twitter and any other format out there. What I found was some weren’t returning the favor. I seriously thought these were my ride-or-die people. The one’s who had my back…but crickets.
I had a session with my doc and described what I had been doing and how I was feeling.
Me: “Am I being dumb? Selfish?”
Doc: “No, your feelings are valid.”
Me: “So what do I do?”
Doc: “Be quiet.” I nearly jumped at him over the idea. He asked me to just listen. “I am suggesting you stop being the first. Do not send ‘good morning’ messages hoping to get some back. You cannot expect them to be like you. Give them a chance to reach out to you on their own.”
Me: “WHAT?! How is that gonna help me feel better?”
Doc: “It will help you see your value to these people. They expect things from you because you are willing to simply give it. Stop giving your energy to people who don’t deserve it. The ones who deserve it will show themselves.”
I hate to admit it, but his logic was right. **Don’t tell him I said that. **
Okay, the words may not be exact because, well, it was eight months ago, but you get the gist. As we talked further, he explained that I needed to stop reaching out and let them contact me so that is what I did. I remained silent. No ‘good mornings.’ No ‘calls.’ No ‘random visits.’
Here’s how it went down. Silence. Yup, two solid weeks of quiet. Until, “Hey, are you okay? I haven’t heard from you. Do you need to talk?” Followed by, “Sup? My mornings are missing your greetings. You good?” Now, that’s awesome. I heard from a few people except the one who claimed to be my person, my go-to friend. Nope. Nothing. It’s been 8 months of silence.
So, I had another therapy session where he asked how it was going. Okay, I had to tell him he was right. I saw my value through the actions of the people in my life. One of those that reached out told me they wanted to be closer friends years ago but feared my connection to that one person I was closest to at the time. Turns out, they didn’t think the same of me. Live and learn, right? Huh.
I am now building better bonds with several people in my life. I am not limiting myself to one and only one (unless it’s the Hubs). I am paying attention to our friendship exchange. I no longer jump to pay for everything. I no longer invite friends to events the Hubs wants to attend with just me. I allow my friends to invite me places without prompting. I am trying to be a better friend to them and to myself.
Self-love is hard. Learning your own value is hard. We have been taught to care for others and not ourselves. In turn we suffer from the lack of attention. We push our own needs to the back burner and forget it. It’s time to put ourselves first once in a while. It’s okay to take care of you.