When We Outlive Our Usefulness
Recently I was forced to accept a hard truth. A woman for whom I’d been doing a few simple kindnesses had been accepting them with little more than an off-hand thank you, almost as if my actions were her due. Then I witnessed her offering to compensate someone else for a similar kindness. It made me feel that in her eyes I had little value, a feeling which was proven when she approached a group of us talking and acted like I wasn’t there.
Sure, I was hurt at first. But then I remembered a friend’s wise words. “Don’t take another person’s actions personally”. In this case and a few others recently, I saw how well the words applied and am doing my best to take them to heart.
People and Their Stuff
People are always going through their own stuff. We aren’t always aware of what that stuff is (unless it’s one of those people who broadcast their entire life in true basketball play-by-play fashion on social media). Some are truly going through a difficult time. But like it or not, some are simply narcissists who direct their attention towards those who can benefit them is some way and blatantly snub those who might somehow stand in their way or worse, offer them no value. Either way, their actions are a reflection of themselves and nothing more.
Unfortunately, they are often quite adept at drawing an empath into their game for a little while. Their very real struggles to achieve value and validation can tug at sensitive heartstrings and bring a desire to help. But eventually their true, soul-sucking nature comes through and it becomes clear that this person will continue to take, never to be filled and will, if they’re permitted, drain the empath dry before seeking another soul to suck.
With Age Comes Perspective
As I get older, I don’t stop being taken in but I do learn to recognize the signs and extricate myself before any long-term damage is done. The knowledge that it truly isn’t personal has done a lot to help me withdraw and heal more readily
Although I wouldn’t go so far as to say these people don’t recognize their insensitivity or the harm they do, I do believe it isn’t a conscious choice to harm a particular person. They simply latch onto the easiest targets to fill a well in themselves which can never be filled. They themselves are a black hole of insecurities which absorb compliments and reassurances like a dry sponge yet never come close to saturation.
That would require becoming a complete human being capable of both giving and taking on a visceral level. They’re only capable of such actions on a superficial level at best.
Learning to Offer Pity and Nothing More
I’ve found such people earn my pity as they are incapable of having truly fulfilling relationships with others. They’ll always be looking for the next emotional well to drain in a fruitless effort to more than dampen the ground at the bottom of their own. But it just absorbs what it takes from others like a vampire sucks blood, never satisfied, never fulfilled.
I can’t imagine the emptiness of a life which depends on the emotions and approval of others, yet still finds no value in themselves. It must be a sad, lonely place where love and joy are just words with no meaning to which they might connect personal experience.
Experiences Help Me Better Understand My Mom
Then I think about my mom and the collection of faces she showed the world. I wonder if this emptiness I recognize in others was the life she lived and saw fit to cut short because she saw no reason to continue living in that infinitely dry well. Though I’m tempted to show more compassion for those who live their lives this way, I know it will not only pass unappreciated, but will end with me feeling used and hurt.
There are many people in this world who deserve our love and compassion; those who face their own struggles, yet put some effort into getting through each day on their own. But there are some who always expect others to fix what’s broken. Those who never recognize that in order to fix their own broken parts, they have to be an active and willing participant. To me, these people are no better than the man who pays for sex because he’s not willing to give something back to his partner other than the sightless, soulless cash he gives in exchange for a few moments of physical pleasure.
Recognizing Real Value
They believe they give value for what they receive, and I’m sure in their minds, that value is fair and reasonable. But that questionable value is something I’ve chosen to refuse. If I can’t give of myself willingly and lovingly, I’d rather walk away and leave a broken, lonely, confused person to someone else’s ministrations. To help them, even for the short time I’m able would only leave me drained and them searching for something they’ll never find.
Still, I can’t help giving them the benefit of the doubt for a little while, in hopes they can find the spark of humanity they’ve long since buried beneath layers of brick, mortar, and building materials proven impermeable to the balm of humanity we all come into this world bearing. My hope will always spring eternal. I’ll forever believe I can make a difference in just one person’s life. No matter how many times I fail.
There is Always a Reason for Gratitude
My gratitudes tonight are:
- I am grateful I toppled my own walls, despite the agony it caused for a little while.
- I am grateful my well is always full, no matter how many people have tried to drain it dry.
- I am grateful for friends who value me even when I’m not behaving like I deserve it.
- I am grateful for my writing which helps me work things out, sort things out, and just gain perspective over that which weighs me down for a bit.
- I am grateful for abundance; prosperity, friendship, love, hope, joy, compassion, inspiration, insight, motivation, support, peace, harmony, and philanthropy.
Love and Light
I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!
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