Be Mindful What You Give. Thanks, Sophia Bush
Sometimes I start these blogs off with an introduction that sounds pretty and I’ve taken a while to make sure the words flow and roll off the tongue before I get to the meat of what I want to say. Today, I’m just going right into it.
I heard something this year that changed everything for me. It really shifted the way I operate. Honestly a lot of things have changed internally for me this year. I’ve had a lot of shifts in the way I move in this world, in my relation to other people, in my belief system, in my foundation. Things that had been engrained into who I was for so long, just shifted this year. I was a people- pleaser that would bend over backwards for people and I really let it bother me if someone didn’t like me. I would argue with people about things that I realized (now) was actually me fighting myself internally for feeling the same way. You know they say how people are often a mirror into yourself? Yeah, really didn’t get that until this year. I would fight for things and people that were not fighting for me back. I apologized for things that weren’t mine to apologize for or blame myself for things that were so out of my control. I didn’t understand the tools I needed to stand with strength within my anxiety. And I loved in a way I thought was the right way to love. Not anymore.
And then in an interview with Jay Shetty I heard Sophia Bush say this about people that haven’t shown up for her:
I’m like…oh I see. And that’s okay, but I operate differently. And If I give of myself this way and you don’t give of yourself in return, that’s fine. You do you. But I only have so much of this to give.
I heard that and everything clicked for me. If you are showing up for someone and giving of yourself and they can’t show up for you and give of themselves in the same capacity…they’re not for you. That goes for relationships, friendships, and even work-related scenarios. If someone or something doesn’t see your worth and isn’t working for it like you are, let that weight go. I drastically turned a corner when I heard that. I just don’t have the time or energy to devote to anything or anyone that can’t show up for me in the same way and I don’t hold space for that anymore. I would often get lost in the dance between having empathy and having no boundaries. I always wanted to take the path of being understanding, being kind and helpful, etc. but that turned into me ultimately setting myself aside. Now I’ve reached a point of no return where I absolutely fucking refuse to show up for people/things or hold space for them or meet their needs if they can’t do the same for me. Y’all…I did this shit all the time and I feel so passionate about it now because this, this work, is what it means to be a better version of yourself and these were things I didn’t. even. know. I. was. constantly. doing.
I always operated from a perspective of: well I’ll just go the extra mile. Someone has to right? No. You can work really hard at things, but you don’t have to be the one to always go the extra mile. A simple example: over the span of a year I went to visit someone six times when I was in a LDR. They came to visit me twice, and once was for an event they had to attend. Ultimately I don’t regret the decisions I made because it taught me the lessons I needed to learn and that’s just one example I realized of all the little ways I didn’t set boundaries, didn’t show up for MYSELF. I can’t take full responsibility in that example, but what I do recognize is that it was my responsibility to show up for myself in that scenario and set a boundary. It was up to ME and no one else to recognize that no matter what the reasons were, no matter what was said, I wasn’t being shown up for in the same capacity. But I continued to give and give and give. I didn’t expect the same in return and what I realized was I absolutely should’ve. This is what it means when people say know your worth. It means knowing your worth even in the face of good people. Often times that’s when it’s the hardest to, because your mind is always going to try to rationalize it first.
You only know what you know in the moment (like that saying you grow through what you go through) but sometimes I look back at myself like…what in the actual fuck Sam. I used to even still think about friendships that ended years ago and be really sad about it, even if I was the one to distance myself. Or even if I was flaked on a million times, lied to, etc. WHY. Why waste that energy of this beautiful life we’re given? And maybe along the way people have felt that way about me. The thing is, that’s fine. Not everyone is going to be for you. I’m not for everyone either. This newfound lens on life made me realize I can appreciate things for what it was, but ultimately they weren’t showing up for me in the same capacity. Why waste any more energy thinking about it? Sometimes we have to make space for the right things to come into our lives. I recently read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck and the whole premise is not about entirely not giving a fuck at all about everything, it’s about choosing very intentionally what to care about, what to spend your energy on.
And once I started to practice not caring about being “nice” to everyone in lieu of holding space for myself, not worrying what people will think, not worrying over losing anyone (because you’re not gonna lose what’s meant for you, and nothing is permanent), and being so confident in myself and what I want, it becomes a lot easier to walk away from anything or anyone that’s just not for me. If someone doesn’t like you? If you don’t get the work opportunity you really wanted? If your friend flakes on you 100 times? If your boss says you are valuable but can’t show the actions that match the words? We have to face those things with an attitude of, “Okay, show me something better.” If your boss or your friend or your relationship really can’t see your worth: “Okay, show me something better.” You don’t need anyone to like you. You do not NEED anyone; a friend, an acquaintance, a coworker, a family member to like you in order to live your life.
This year I told someone after talking to them for a bit that I thought we should just be friends because I really didn’t see it going any further. I wanted to be as real with them as possible. I told my therapist that I didn’t like the feeling of them being mad at me and not liking me for that. And she said, “why do you need them to like you? What’s the worst that will happen if they don’t like you because of that?” and then I realized uh duh, it doesn’t matter. I showed up for myself, faced them and was honest, and knew what I wanted, and if they don’t like me for being as authentic as I could be, I really can’t spend my energy caring about that.
You don’t need that exact single work opportunity, because if it’s not working out, there is another door that will open for you. Believe people’s ACTIONS, not their words. Believing only what someone says they want to do, or will do, etc. is getting lost in their potential. I’ve made that mistake too. And getting lost in someone’s POTENTIAL to show up for you is a slippery slope because you will continually give and give and give with the hope that they will meet you in that same place, even if they’ve said they will. We make space for people who are takers when we give with no standard for what we receive back. I’m not saying this is a matter of keeping score, it’s not a tit-for-tat “formula,” but being aware of believing people’s action and not their potential, means you intentionally make space for people in your life that can show up for you in the same capacity as you do. I think you can still be kind, and empathetic, AND still know that you operate a little differently. We can recognize that it’s completely fine for people to only give a certain amount, show up a certain amount, be vulnerable a certain amount, etc…but it’s in the recognizing of: that’s fine if that’s what you want and that’s how you operate, you do you, but that’s not for me. I operate differently and deserve to be shown up for in a greater capacity.
I heard Glennon Doyle say: “What keeps people from a true and beautiful life isn’t pain and drama…it’s the good enough.”
I would rather do anything than live a life that’s good enough, than have a partner who shows up for me a good enough amount, than have friendships that are good enough, than have ambitions that are good enough. I want true, 100% wholehearted everything. I’d rather go through hard things with that in mind and feel 100% fulfilled than exist in the realm of mediocrity. And I hope you’ll stray from the good enough too.