Those Who Know What They Have Don't Always Look After It
It may be the case that someone very close to you knows how special you are and the light you radiate. However, they don’t always care for you as you deserve. Perhaps, they think you are like a beautiful tree with deep roots that nourishes, offers refuge and never protests. Perhaps what they don’t know is that some day it might be you that gets tired of giving love that is taken for granted.
We’ve all heard more than once the classic phrase “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone”. However, reality shows us another version of this which is much more concrete, much more contradictory and polished: there are people that, even though they know very well what they have next to them, still neglect it.
“I don’t want a half love, slanted and cut down the middle. I want something whole, intense and indestructible”
Sometimes relationships, like bones, break. We all know this. That said, this breakdown doesn’t always happen overnight in a quick, traumatic and devastating way. Relationship experts know that these processes are slow and wearing, because it is precisely this progressive lack of attention towards the other person that ends up penetrating the personal and emotional universes of those involved.
Cultivating an appreciative, empathetic and thoughtful attitude day by day will enable us to healthily strengthen our bonds with the people we love. However, a strategic and decisive aspect is needed to achieve this: willpower.
When they take it for granted that you will always be there
You are not like a rock that one days breaks off a mountain and remains in a gentle hollow for decades. You are not an insect trapped in nectar, nor the ancient roots of a conifer. Nothing in you is eternal nor perennial. People are like the wind, the breeze, and the water the flows through a river. Life is movement, growth and an eternal flow.
Just as our inner being is dynamic and inscribed in a constant process of maturing, so too are our emotions. That’s why, those who understand love as stable and permanent are mistaken. Love is always hungry: it needs to feed and to be fed. It also needs to be valued and cared for, it longs to be tickled, to hear the music of laughter and be intoxicated by complicity without words.
All of this obliges us to understand something very simple, something very basic and illustrative: that love, more than being something you can find, is something you build. So, when someone starts to take things for granted, what they are choosing in reality is to stop investing, to stop building and to choose to anchor themselves in the out-of-date idea that the person who loves us will do so forever unconditionally and with eternal devotion. The holes won’t matter, nor the silences or the put-downs because, for many, love is like the resin that traps insects for life.
Love in secula seculorum, irrevocable and eternal, is not so much a reality as an apology from our society. The “I will love you forever whatever you do” is an affront to our own dignity. Because in relationships, not everything is acceptable or justifiable, and if we get used to “being taken for granted”, the day will come when we take ourselves for granted and we accept our own unhappiness.
This is not acceptable.
If they don’t care about you, care for yourself: distance yourself
The relationship that we must take greatest care of is our relationship with ourselves. This philosopher’s stone of human well-being is too often neglected for a concrete reason: sometimes we understand life on the basis of our bonds with others. Thinking that love justifies everything and at the same time is our source of self-realization is a foolish mistake with serious secondary consequences.
“Love will last for as long as you care for it and you will care for it as much as you love”
Those who know what they have but don’t care for it, simply don’t deserve us. Realizing this is a moral imperative, a survival instinct and a lifeboat for our self-esteem. Because otherwise, if we don’t let go of that boat that is floating adrift, we will stop caring for ourselves, we ourselves will be the victims of this cult to emotional sacrifice that annihilates lives, that affronts those hearts that have forgotten to love themselves.
On the other hand, it is worth remembering here what Abraham Maslow once said: “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. All this contributes to the top segment of the hierarchy of needs: self-actualization”.
If we understand this, then we will also understand the following: if someone loves us they will naturally need to make us happy, to promote our strengths, to offer us that drive for life which will also contribute to the growth of the relationship itself.
That said, if the person at our side doesn’t value us and takes for granted that we will always be there, whatever happens, they are contributing to our repression, which is the root of unhappiness – let’s never forget that. So let’s learn to choose the right path, let’s put into practice that authentic and loyal commitment towards ourselves and remember that to love is to care and that love means dedication, appreciation and paying daily attention to this affective bond.
Images courtesy of Maggie Taylor