Stop giving your energy to those people who do not deserve it. Several of us on the spiritual path tend to get overwhelmed by people, situations and life events. Given our nature to be accepting and adjusting, we keep giving, keep adjusting, keep introspecting. We try to ascertain how we can change ourselves to make things work in a job, in a relationship in our families. When our efforts are reciprocated with love, care, gratitude and affection, then this brings us immense satisfaction and makes life worth living. Our giving finds completion in the gratitude and affection of the other person. This can be one of the highest feelings in life. The feeling when the other says “thank you” for what you have done – says “thank you” as a means of telling you how much you are valued – can be so immensely satisfying, that it helps us transcend all our pain and gives us the energy to endure hard times. In any relationship – professional or personal – there are times when the other needs to be supported and there are times when we need the support the other. The key to a healthy relationship is balance.
However, what if the other person misuses you? That is to say, what if they are just takers. They go on taking from you and when you need help, when you are low, they are either busy or insensitive to even understand your needs. Haven’t we all seen such people in our lives? These are some of the most difficult times for sensitive givers. What do we do? We have great love and affection for the other and certainly want to help, but do we put our needs aside? Do we let go of our needs to be loved, cared for and supported? A pragmatic person would just walk out of such a relationship. Givers, have immense ability to put their needs aside and continue to give – this makes it difficult for such people to walk out of such situations.
What can we do? One thing which has worked for me is to ask myself this question, “If you did not have an emotional connection with this person – if this person was somebody you met in a supermarket – knowing their character, would you put in the effort to build a relationship with them?”. If the answer is yes, that’s great! We can continue to stay in the situation. For most of us, if the answer is no, then we are in the relationship only because we feel empathy for the other. Our relationship is a social service. While, this in itself isn’t bad, you must understand that your needs will probably never ever be met by the other person. This is a hard and often painful realization, but one that needs to be faced. It helps us drop the dreams and hopes that our mind often builds. This is the hope that the other person would change. Always remember, if you are in the relationship only because of a hope that the other will change – then it isn’t worth it. Any relationship must deliver value to you today.
There are exceptions of course. Some of our loved ones may be going through painful times – ill health, stress at work, spiritual problems. And they may not be in a position to offer help, to offer support. In such cases, look for signs if the other person genuinely recognizes that he or she is unable to meet your needs, but is sorry for not being able to do so. Are they apologetic, or do they behave entitled? If you notice that they are genuinely sorry, this helps us understand and do more to assist the other. But if you see entitlement, that is to say, they go on taking without recognizing the value you provide to them, it might be the time to walk away.
Remember, that our time on this planet is limited. We have one life and our mental and emotional energy is limited. We come here to fulfill our deepest potentials. And we would love to help our partners, our colleagues and family do the same. But sometimes, when you feel misused, it may be the time to walk away silently and respectfully.