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Nobody Owes You Anything
Well... except you
I had a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago, and she was so passionate about her definition of friendship and/or relationship. She saw it as a requirement to give your best and be intentional in whatever context of relationship you're in. She says,
"You owe them your loyalty, which is being there when they need you, and giving when they need without asking."
Now this is cute and all, but this tells you a bit about who she is and how she approaches relationships. It is very easy for her to fall into the trap of the idea that "If I am doing it, you should be doing it too." And that's where expectations are birthed. But this isn't an excuse for people to behave rashly in relationships, or to justify why people sometimes are not consistent in their behavior (not faithful) in those relationships.
Can you imagine something with me?
Imagine a situation where you are in a relationship, and you don't feel pressured to behave a certain way, and you don't have expectations for your partner to act a certain way, yet you're committed to being loyal in that relationship. Imagine your partner also takes the same stance. What does that tell you? Well, this tells me that when friendships or relationships are approached in such a manner, it is a true reflection of where we are in life and how we feel about ourselves relative to the other person.
This stance gives both people in the relationship a chance to approach that relationship free from expectations and pressures. This is mostly done by having an honest conversation with each other. Yes, communication matters when it comes to identifying and clearly defining your standards and values in a relationship.
So, how can you do all this if you're still attached to the idea that people owe you their love or attention or respect? Now this is just my opinion in the subject matter, but nobody really owes you anything, and that is great news. Let's find out why:
Staying aware of the fact that nobody owes us anything keeps us in check. It causes us to not expect too much/nothing from other people; to not limit people based on our ideas of them. It also causes us to not be entitled to the actions of others. But most importantly, it causes us to be grateful for those who know these things but still decide to show up for us in their own unique ways. Nobody owes you anything doesn't mean you don't owe yourself something - to show up for yourself and for others.
Staying aware of the fact that we don't owe anyone anything, keeps us in check as well. It leads us to not live our lives based on other people's expectations of us. It allows us to live life in a way that people don't become entitled to our actions. But most importantly, it causes us to be authentic to ourselves and our beliefs, knowing fully well that even though we don't owe anyone anything, we decide to show up for them and ourselves; not just out of love and respect for others but out of love and respect for ourselves.
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