I realize that everyone doesn’t like cooking.
But if you are a cook with a basic level of experience you know that there are certain things that when cooking require your focus and attention. These are the types of things you need to watch and cater to and you may even need to stir constantly.
Typically when you cook these types of items you will have it on the front burner.
And then there are other items like a sauce or stew that need some time to simmer.
Those are items that don’t need a lot of attention, so they can be placed on the back burner.
You can often put back burner items on low heat, and perhaps you can even cover the pot because there isn’t even any need to look at it.
You simply put it on the back burner, set and forget it because it isn’t something that is a priority.
When I am cooking I focus on what is on my front burner because in that moment I am more concerned about those items.
Well, there have been times in my life where I have had someone on my front burner who had me on their back burner.
I would find myself paying attention to these people, and being attentive, while all the while I was clearly on their back burner.
These are the types of people who whether consciously or subconsciously only gave me bread crumbs of attention.
If I am honest about my interaction in these situations, it occurred to me in the back of my mind that I was on their back burner but ultimately I made excuses for it.
At the time when that took place, the insecurities in me were screaming out, how do I get this person to put me on their front burner.
Well, I had to learn to calm those insecurities down.
Because what I have come to understand over the years is that if someone has you on their back burner it is not your job to figure out how to get on their front burner.
No, your job is to figure out how you are going to de-escalate their place in your life.
If you are not a priority in their life, then they should not be a priority in your life.
It doesn’t mean that they are a bad person, nor does it mean that you’re a bad person.
It simply means you are not matching where you have prioritized one another.
For some reason people are prone to do this weird thing where we think that if we keep trying to show people how much we care and value them that they will in turn elevate our position in their lives.
This is our way of looking for external validation.
I can tell you from hard knock experience validation doesn’t work like that.
Validation comes from within.
No one outside of ourselves can validate us.
I recognize that we want to be liked.
But it is much healthier to find this experience by liking the people who like you.
I have a person who is in my life who previously reached out from time to time to invite me to the movies and dinner.
At the time I had three part time jobs so I didn’t have a lot of spare time. Additionally, my money was funny and my change was strange so I didn’t really know how I could afford to do any extracurricular activities.
My thought was how am I going to pay for these things or find time in my schedule.
In turn I let her know I couldn’t go because I work all the time.
That didn’t have anything to do with her.
It didn’t mean I didn’t like her, or that she was a bad person.
It meant my priority was making sure I had enough money to provide for my children and that I had bills to pay and mouths to feed.
My children and finances were on my front burner.
Hanging out with her was on my back burner.
In turn she did something very smart.
After asking me maybe twice to do something and being turned down, she found someone else to hang out and spend her time with who was willing to put her as a priority in their life.
When my schedule changed and I stopped working so much, I gave her a call and we went and hung out and spent time together.
The the thing that she did right that many of us fail to do is that she found someone who prioritized her in accordance to the way she prioritized them.
When she realized I was not going to be her go to girl she found someone who would be.
Many of us don’t do that.
When the signs come that someone doesn’t value us we try to see if we can find ways to get people who have placed us on their back burner to change their minds and put us on their front burner.
The mistake that many us make is that we take it being on someones back burner personal.
And some of us even go as far as to ignore the signs that we are on the back burner.
Signs such as when you ask if the person would like to hang out and they respond with phrases like:
“I’m going to check my schedule and get back to you.”
“I’m just so busy.”
And then when they want to spend time with you it’s always last-minute.
These are the types of people who always have an excuse for why they are too busy to set plans with you.
I had to accept that this was life’s way of signaling to me that I was not a priority in these people’s lives.
People who want to spend time with you, make time for you.
Perhaps they don’t always agree to hang out when you make the suggestion but they at least give you a counter offer for meeting up.
For example they might say, “I can’t hang out on Monday, but I am free Thursday.”
So now when I realize I have someone on my front burner who has me on their back burner I know I have some accessing to do.
You see, I have a tendency to try to justify people’s behavior and give them the benefit of the doubt when I really shouldn’t.
I have to consciously work not to fall into an unhealthy pattern of making excuses for their behavior by thinking ‘well their busy’.
Especially when I know full well, no one is “that busy”.
When someone puts me on their back burner the truth is that I simply am not a priority.
Over the years I have worked to get to a place in my mind where I’m not worried about losing people.
I don’t know what it is that causes many of us to believe that if we make a mistake that the possibility of a relationship is over, the person will never come back and that we have ruined it.
I myself have been so dramatic that I truly believed that it meant I would never find love.
It used to be that when it occurred to me that I wasn’t a priority in someones life I felt the need to do something to become a priority to them.
Thankfully, I know realize that if someone is too busy for me than I need to start being too busy for them.
That other person has come to an awareness that we are not matching and I needed to come to the same conclusion.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a romantic, platonic, or business relationship if the other person doesn’t see you as a top priority and puts you on their back burner than by all means mirror them and put them on your back burner.
There is no need to scream and shout for them to put you at the front of their stove.
One of the ways I have been able to move away from this unhealthy habit was by coming out of the scarcity mentality.
I used to get so caught up in thinking that “this person is the person and I have to make this work”.
That’s not a healthy way of thinking and I had to step away from it.
I started to realize that there are millions of people in this world and that this one person not liking and/or priortizing me didn’t mean that everyone else wouldn’t either.
If someone is meant to be in your life and you are being your authentic self, that person is going to be in your life.
The real thing you need to be doing is asking yourself “why on earth do I have this person on my front burner when they have made it blatantly obvious that I am on their back burner?”
If you catch yourself focusing heavily upon someone, your stirring the relationship by reaching out, adding ingredients by investing your time, money, energy and effort only to realize they have you’re on their back burner with the pot covered or heaven forbid you find yourself in their crock pot by all means stop making them a priority in their life!
That action of putting someone on high priority who has us on low priority leads to overinvesting and it will leave you feeling bitter, empty and resentful.
When we over-invest and over-give it leaves us frustrated. But if we are truly honest with ourselves the other person is giving us signals by showing us and at times even telling us as hard as they can that we are not a priority in their life.
We have to realize how people perceive us doesn’t have any bearing on who we are.
We have to stop give people so much power in our lives.
Us not being a priority to a particular person doesn’t mean that we are not a priority or that we worthless.
It simply means we are not a priority in their life.
When this occurs we need to move on and find someone who does see us as a front burner item.
Someone who does see value in interacting with us the same way we see value in interacting with them.
There was a time in my life where I sought validation from others to such an extreme that it was clearly unhealthy.
I didn’t have this problem so much from women but when it came to men I really had problems.
I took things to extremes when a guy didn’t like me, so much so that I thought it meant I was unlovable.
Thankfully, I learned that it simply meant he doesn’t like me.
I came to learn that just because someone is of the opposite sex it doesn’t mean that they get to be judge and jury of what my worth and value is.
Recognize that if someone doesn’t see your worth and value all that means is they don’t see your worth and value.
You have to get to a place where if someone isn’t feeling you that you take it as a signal that you need to start asking yourself why are you feeling them?
You have to understand that it’s okay if someone doesn’t want to spend time with you.
It could very well be that they are busy.
But ultimately when it comes to dating and matters of the heart don’t give your heart to someone who doesn’t have time for you.
It’s not a good look.
You need to invest in someone who is as excited about spending time with you as you are about spending time with them.
If they are not excited about interacting with you, it would behoove you to accept it and realize it’s not a match.
Do what my female friend did and go and be with other people who want to be in your life.
Don’t wait around for people to pick you up.
If I am completely honest with myself the people who put me on their back burner who I had on my front burner should have been on my back burner the whole time also.
The thing is they simply noticed how to properly prioritize our relationship first.
You see, when I paused and thought about if I even really liked that person that much the truth is the answer was a resounding no.
It was my neediness, insecurities, red flags and ego that were showing up and making me think the person should be my front burner person.
When you come to the awareness of what you are doing it will become much easier to station people correctly in your life.
It’s okay if someone doesn’t have you on your front burner, put them on your back burner and still eat.
Don’t try to get them to give you more attention.
One of the signs that someone is meant to be in your life is that they are going to want to spend time with you.
I’m not saying that people don’t ever circle around.
But I am saying that no one needs to be breaking their neck for people.
Check your neediness and insecurities at the door.
Step back and realize you don’t need to be breaking your neck for someone who isn’t trying to see you, pick the phone up or even return a text.
© Renata Pittman Smith and RenataNicole, 2018. 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 Smith and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.