We are all searching for someone in some form or another. I have spent too much time in my life chasing after people, trying to earn their attention and time, whilst almost always sacrificing my own happiness and values in the process. It has unfortunately taken a while but over the last few years, I have become very aware of the detrimental effects this ritual of over-investment can have on your own self-confidence and mindset.
I used to find myself in familiar cycles of doing whatever was in my power to make others happy. What I didn’t realise was that it was at the cost of my own responsibilities to myself. After all the effort, the lost sleep, the anxious waits for attention that sometimes never came, the exhausting over-thinking and analysing and the internal excuses on excuses for continuing the unhealthy behaviour… I was left with nothing, except the feeling of stupidity and regret. My expectation of the same effort in return sometimes never appeared. The saying ‘treat others as you would like to be treated’ seemed to only apply to me. This pattern of behavior really had to stop! I’m the first to admit I still catch myself out repeating past mistakes, I’m only human after all. Thankfully having an awareness and healthy perspective now helps protect against the hurt of feeling unworthy and unwanted.
I think it’s in our nature to want what we cannot have. We choose the people who don’t choose us or only choose us occasionally. These people spark something inside of us, a desire to please, a need to belong. This ‘addiction’ of sorts becomes all you know. You attract these people because they are familiar and constant, they will constantly never give you their full attention or love or affection. It’s a given and often you can even see it unfolding in front of you, the awful cycle of push and pull. For many years I repeated these relationships, even though painful they were predictable and all similar in outcome which meant they were within my control to some extent.
I have now learned the value of more meaningful and balanced relationships. Healthy ones where you get out what you put in. These positive and what I would call ‘real adult’ relationships feel right, they don’t create anxiety or worry, they are not perfect but they work. This real love, of course, can cause heart-shattering pain. All of your cards are on the table and you are totally invested. But you give it your best shot. You both go all-in and sometimes it just doesn’t work out. I believe finding real love is worth the risk. When you risk it on a person who is willing to meet you in the middle and give it their all aswell. True love, whether successful or not inspires us and gives us strength. It helps us grow and teaches us lessons we cannot learn anywhere else.
If you are stuck in the cycle of chasing those that are just out of reach you are only breaking yourself. Remember what you are worth, re-visit your values and goals, focus on bettering yourself. If someone is not willing to give you their time, move on. A friend recently explained this to me in a way that made complete sense. He said in life we are all on a playing field, mastering our own game. Potential partners will come along the sideline and by all means, invest some time in meeting them, but don’t leave your field to chase them. They should bring balance and complement your life. Once you leave your field you have lost who you are, and as is often the case, it won’t work out and you will have to run the rough road back to your game that you so quickly left behind.
Life is far too short to waste on people who don’t think you’re the bee’s knees. Remembering this now helps me prioritise people who have always been there for me, friends, family, even ex-partners who were good people but it just wasn’t meant to be. I give my time to these people and it allows me to drop the responsibility and expectations of myself having to please anyone else. It’s freeing and it stops you engaging in games with people who were never meant to be a part of your future.
Stop trying to prove to people you are a good person, be you, be unapologetically you and the right people will naturally appear when they are meant to. Until then look at what makes you happy and content, do that and those unhealthy almost-relationships will cease to exist.
Tim is the Founder and Creative Director at Fuel Media Limited, and the passionate lifestyle writer here at To Whom It May Concern. He resides on the beautiful North Shore in Auckland, New Zealand.