“The way people treat you is usually about them not you.”
In “Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies,” Schuster writes, “I knew I couldn’t control how other people treated me, but I could decide what I would accept” (216). This quote resided with me because, while I feel comfortable having acquaintances, I find myself struggling with having close relationships with others. I love the idea of having a best friend like Judy and Jen in Dead to Me. This is a must see show if you are looking for something new on Netflix. However, I always feel as if I can never reach that level. Not because I don’t want to have healthy relationships with friends and family, but it can be a challenge for many reasons.
Honestly, the hardest piece of advice I have heard from multiple people and books whether it be in a personal or professional environment is “Don’t Take Things Personally.” What kind of relationship isn’t personal, isn’t that the point of a relationship? I have social anxiety, and I am sure that my social awkwardness is not helping me in the whole relationship department. I don’t show it, but I feel it, and it’s exhausting.
Even when I know a relationship is unhealthy, and I am doing everything I can to make it work, I continue to give to it. I always end up feeling hurt, but I do it again and again. How could people not know that the way that they treat others can be unintentionally hurtful? So I struggle because I can’t understand how people can treat me badly, but it has NOTHING to do with me. No one wants to be treated as if they were disposable or like people who I care about could take or leave the time they spend with me. Who doesn’t want to be treated like a priority? Schuster doesn’t have some magic answer for this, and while I haven’t found one in any of the books that I have read; I’ve learned a few things along the way:
- If you find yourself in a relationship that feels more hurtful than healthy, pull away from it. You don’t have to end the relationship or be angry. Just distance yourself. “I NO LONGER HANG OUT WITH PEOPLE I DON’T WANT TO HANG OUT WITH” (223).
- Don’t expect other people to change even if you tell them how you feel. Everyone sees the world through a different lens, and people might see the situation differently from you. Stand up for yourself if you feel that you need to, and hopefully the person will be receptive. If not, go back to Tip #1.
- Invest in the relationships that make you feel happy and inspired. Go the extra mile for the friend who is always there for you.
- Relationships aren’t always convenient, but if the relationship is going to grow both people have to understand that it is a give and take.
- Respect the people who you have relationships with. Respect their time, heart, and situation.
- Spend time with people who love your authentic self. Ask yourself how you feel after spending time with people. Do you feel energized and uplifted or depleted?
- It’s your life. Do what makes you happy. While this may seem simple, people naturally want to please others.
“The only thing that matters in the long run is the bonds you create. You won’t be on your deathbed wishing you worked more or achieved something greater professionally. You’ll be looking back on your friendships, your kinships; you’ll be thinking about the people you loved and who loved you” (Schuster, 220).
Hopefully you have been spending time focusing on your personal growth. Now is the time to focus on relationships. What do you need to to to find happiness in your relationships?