Over the past couple of years, I have had people in my past contact me and ask me for forgiveness for how they treated me when we knew each other several years ago. They admitted their faults, owned up to their shit, explained themselves very eloquently and in so many words, they considered me, “the one that got away”. I admire their bravery and the courage it requires to take responsibility for hurting someone, even after so many years. I happily and wholeheartedly forgave them. But there was something deeper that I got from those situations.
I have been around long enough to know that it isn’t everyday that the ones who harm you, emotionally or otherwise, come back to apologize for their wrongdoings. Also, I’m more than aware enough to see the blessing of healing and proper closure around those issues, all of which I’m grateful for. But as I was processing my forgiveness towards them, there was this part of me that wanted to scream at them, “Why couldn’t you have seen all of this then? Why could you not see the value in a relationship with me when you had the opportunity? Why am I always the ‘one that got away’?” That’s when this major life lesson bitch slapped me in my face: the reason they couldn’t see the value of what they were getting was because I didn’t see the value of what I was giving.
Everything we give others have value. The love, loyalty, compassion, respect, honor, etc. It all has value and every bit of those precious things have a worth that stretches beyond any currency. We all were born with an innate yearning to share those things with one another and revel in its beauty. And there in lies the genesis of a great deal of the pain and suffering we all have experienced to some degree. We expect the object of our attention to see the value of what they are receiving and appreciate the gift in what you are bringing to the table. And when they don’t acknowledge or value the brilliance of our selves, we are offended by their carelessness and hold them accountable and responsible for something they were never meant to be held accountable and responsible for. That responsibility is too great to place on someone else, no matter how disrespectful or thoughtless they are with their own self-worth.
If we don’t acknowledge, honor or, at the very least, understand the value in the facets we possess and their inherent beauty and worth, it is impossible and unfair of us to expect someone else to treasure them for us. It is the equivalent of expecting someone to read our minds and then being mad at them for not doing and/or saying what we feel that we need. That responsibility is ours and ours alone. And that’s the good news.
When we develop and cultivate self-worth, we treat ourselves better because we see who we are and what we have to offer the world as valuable, relevant and worthy of reverence. As a result, we start creating the foundation for self-respect and dignity. Another result that is incurred is a strengthened defense against anything or anyone who threatens our self-worth. We know our value so we don’t let others to treat us as anything less than what we are worth.
With all of that considered, we become more decisive about the energies we exhaust. We are more aware of how much of what we are giving to whom. Let me just preface that it is always important to give people a chance to prove themselves and allow them to have a certain amount of trust. But as we develop a relationship with another person, the innate need for human connection becomes stronger and we naturally want to give more of ourselves. Knowing our self-worth protects us from giving too much to the wrong person and creating more suffering for both parties.
As far as that is concerned, if you find yourself in a situation where you are being devalued by someone, the most important thing to keep in mind is it isn’t personal. Some people simply don’t have capacity to value us when they have us at the time. Everyday life becomes consuming, old wounds from the past metastasize and fester, the art of valuing another person was never taught properly. Even though we may have suffered the consequences of those unresolved issues, what was done to us had nothing to do with us directly. It was the projection and deflection of someone else’s lingering demons.
Another thought to be aware of is if someone doesn’t have the capacity to receive what we are giving, it’s almost as if it was never given to begin with. It doesn’t matter how hard we work, how much we want for another or how eloquent the delivery of the message is. All the blood, sweat and tears are in vain if the effort isn’t recognized and appreciated.
Had I understood and known my self-worth back then, I probably wouldn’t have allowed myself to be in the trying and scary predicaments that I found myself in. But being disrespected, devalued and rejected was an integral part of my journey. I hold no grudge, bear no bitterness or carry no resentment toward those individuals who mistreated and discounted me. Rather, I appreciate their presences in my life for they taught me many things. Most importantly, they showed me myself for what I truly am: something to be treasured.