A colleague of mine needed some assistance in finalizing a business deal.
He explained in detail what the job would consist of and we determined that it would not exceed an hour of my time.
He asked, “….so, Renata how much would you be willing to do that for?’
I had never done the assignment before so I didn’t know what the going rate was.
I didn’t want to ask for some astronomical figure and I also didn’t want to undersell my time.
So I told him I would do the job for $25
He said “No, I will not give you $25 to do that amount of work. I have to give you at least $50… as a matter of fact let me give you $60…..”
Because I didn’t know how much to ask for he could have easily given me the $25, he also could have negotiated and paid me less than the initial $25, and it is also possible that the going rate is higher than the $60 he offered.
The amount paid for the service rendered really is not the point. The real point is I had no idea how much to tell him it was worth for me to do what he was asking me to do.
I had never done the job before, I didn’t have a chance to conduct market research to find out a going rate, and I didn’t want to say a number that was laughable.
So here is the thing.
I have come to the realization that I had been doing that in other areas of my life, specifically my personal relationships.
I would give someone high quality effort for very little investment on the other person’s part.
Unlike my business colleague they didn’t all say hey you know what I am not going to let you accept so little from me while you do so much.
Instead from some the treatment I received was more along the lines of,’ if this girl is willing to give me everything for nothing I would be a fool not to take advantage of it’.
I often tell my friends that the phrase givers attract takers is not entirely accurate, givers with unhealthy boundaries attract takers, healthy givers attract other healthy givers.
Well, I have reached a point in my life where I have decided to take active steps to no longer be an unhealthy giver, so I can stop attracting and accepting takers.
I decided to do a new self-analysis so I could better determine my worth. I needed to really take a deep look within myself and see where I was underselling my time, attention and affection. I also decided that I needed to set boundaries and adapt a firm no, finally I decided I was going to do whatever it took to love myself to a higher degree.
I have arrived at the idea that a good way to gauge if I am undervaluing myself is to determine if I walk away from a situation feeling empty.
I desire to leave my interactions feeling whole. Because I have found myself in far too many situations where I walk away feeling empty.
I would engage in relationships with people where my emotional needs were clearly not being met in the hopes that maybe one day they might throw some affection and/or attention my way.
It became clear to me that my willingness to put up with substandard behavior from people (particularly men) was because I was too lazy to do the work of loving me. I wanted them to fill in the gaps where my self love was deficient.
Furthermore, I also wanted companionship. While I wasn’t desperate, I was indeed lonely. So instead of holding myself in a high enough regard as to not entertain people who I was fully aware did not have my best interest at heart, I allowed myself to interact with people who I knew felt comfortable disappointing me.
This resulted in me eventually finding myself in a one-sided relationship where I was doing all the work with little effort on the part of the other person.
I would explain ad nauseam that I was not feeling reciprocity to know avail. I would try to find as many ways possible to say I wanted to be treated better, but I would continue to engage in the same relationship that was filled with neglect.
Then one day while speaking with my female friend at lunch I became aware of my part in my dilemma.
I was going on and on about how there are some men whose actions don’t match their words and how you should pay attention to their actions and not their words. As I was speaking I realized I was a woman whose words did not match my actions.
I would say I didn’t feel appreciated but then I would stay and allow myself to be unappreciated. I would say I wanted a relationship where someone wanted to spend quality time with me, but I stayed giving my attention to someone who could care less about spending time with me. Of course he didn’t treat me better, he didn’t have to. I made it perfectly clear that I was all talk and that I didn’t value myself enough to not tolerate feeling mistreated.
I would say one thing but I would act in the opposite fashion. I was no better than the person that I felt was neglecting me – I was neglecting me!
Why on earth would any man believe that I was serious about wanting to be treated better when I continued to be an active participant in my being disregarded?
I decided that my words must match my actions.
I want to be respected, valued, loved and appreciated in relationships. But I couldn’t get from here to there without respecting, valuing, loving and appreciating myself.
I posit that we are not inclined to tolerate people who treat us worse than we treat ourselves. Thus, if I want better treatment I have to treat myself better.
I was truly mistreating myself by giving to someone who had made it blatantly clear that he had no desire to give me reciprocity
I didn’t mean that much to him and sadly at the time I didn’t mean that much to myself.
The first time I was mistreated me was one thing, but I sat there and allowed myself to be mistreated time and time again.
And to make matters worse, I was under the false notion that since standing up for myself might hurt his feelings and if I hurt his feelings then that meant I was mistreating him and I didn’t want to be viewed as a bad person.
I valued his comfort over mine.
I thought so little of myself that I found it okay for me to be uncomfortable at the expense of him being comfortable.
I was okay with them letting me down and had convinced myself that choosing myself over them was cruel.
Thankfully I realized that the person I was being cruel to was myself.
I was treating another human being better than I treated myself. I stopped caring about whether or not he was okay with me putting myself first and I took action. There was no longer any need to discuss anything because he heard me the first time and had decided I was not worth the effort I desired from him.
I cannot be mad at him for that. That is his assessment. All he did was treat me with the same amount of disrespect I allowed him to. But I have decided that I am worth the effort to love on me. The quality time I sought from him I now give to myself and to others who actually want to spend time with me. All the attention I wanted from him, I give to myself. It’s okay that I did not mean much to him, because I mean the world to me. That broken part of me that waited for him to appreciate me, I am nursing back to health.
You see, there are people who will treat you like a toy. They will pick you up and play with you for a while and then when they are done they will toss you to the side. They do this because you allow them to. You have given them the impression that when they come back you will be right there where they left you, ready for them to play with you as they see fit. But here is the thing, this isn’t about them, this is about you. They are just treating you like you allow them to and being who they are.
So recognize, you don’t have to stay where they left you. You can realize you are not a toy, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and do the work of loving you. That way if they choose to come back, you will not be in the same spot where they left you and you will not be there to play their reindeer games. You will reach a point where you will not sit back and allow people to treat you like a toy because you will love yourself too much to be played with.
© Renata Pittman and RenataNicole, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.