I believe this subject to be universal. Everybody, at some point in time, has felt this way. I mean, it has happened to everyone, regardless of how they would define the relationship in question. It could have been a fraternal relationship, a romantic, a parent-child relationship, even a professional relationship. It happens every day to a lot of people. And it hurts.
I can’t and won’t lie; being taken for granted sucks. It hurts on visceral level. The pain, which is psychological and emotional, is quite intense. Being taken for granted feels like we are unappreciated, underappreciated, ignored, cast aside, forgotten, discarded, snubbed, disrespected even. Moreover, the pain you feel in your bones is out of our control. I mean, one can find a way to manage the pain later, but, at first, everyone feels how excruciating and brutal it is and it ain’t no walk in the park.
There is something about human nature that’s always been fascinating to me. We want and crave attention, to stronger and lesser degrees, to be sure. Occasionally, we won’t need it and we’ll almost hide from the world. We want to be seen and understood and the next day, we simply want to be alone and enjoy the quiet. That duality has always been interesting to me. I am like everybody else; I want some level of attention and I yearn to be understood. Then, the following moment, I want to be alone. Although, as I get older, attention feels like a weight on my shoulders more than anything. Weird when a writer who is always posting on social media says that, right? Such is life…
A lifetime ago, I wanted to get someone’s attention because of obvious reasons, mainly me liking that person. Yet, as time went by, I felt unappreciated, invisible, ignored and ultimately, I can easily say that person took me for granted. I was there, to a degree that makes me smile today. I mean I was always there when that person came to complain to me about how they liked another person. Yes, I know, it’s kind of pathetic. Time does its thing and hindsight is always 20/20.
I mean, being almost invisible to someone you like/love, sucks tremendously. I wasn’t doing anything over the top to get the person’s attention, but I thought I deserved more than the attention and care I was receiving. I was simply there, ready to pick up the phone, to answer that message, to listen to them when they were sad, etc. I was expecting something from them. I was expecting some reciprocity and that was the mistake. However, the biggest problem was my ego; it was already in full throttle and as we know, it’s never easy to stop it once the ego gets going.
I mean, I remember it as if it was yesterday. Being taken for granted left a nasty taste in my mouth and it broke my heart a bit, I’ll admit to that. I felt the pain increase over time before it subsided. I had a hard time admitting to myself how I felt because I felt weak, needy, pathetic, inadequate, exposed, angry and somewhat desperate. I didn’t want to feel that way, but I couldn’t help it. I guess emotions are like that; hard to manage and unpredictable.
Then the ego kicked in harder. I started asking myself, “how could that person take me for granted or ignore me or underappreciate me? How could that person not see what a nice guy I am? How could that person not see everything I was doing for them? How could that happen to me?”. The problem is, the longer the ego talked, the more I listened. Hence, I fell into the famous trap we all fall in, with both feet in. To get out, we truly must dig ourselves out by using all our mental strength.
It took me a few weeks, but I ended up getting out of that emotional sad hole. I got out but I wasn’t unscathed. Some damage was done to my self-esteem. I kept asking myself questions, “do you see how easily a person can drown in their own pool of insecurities? Do you see how fickle and fragile self-esteem can be? Do you see how easily and fast one can go from confidence to self-esteem issues and self-doubt that can stomp on your neck and suffocate you?”. Oh, I talked to myself at length. I was looking for answers, but I couldn’t find any that were definitive.
I could have blamed the other person, but I was not in their head so, I couldn’t possibly feel or know how they felt or what they wanted. Perhaps, they didn’t want what I wanted. Perhaps, they didn’t feel the same way I felt. Perhaps, they were dealing with their own issues, and I was certainly not in their list of priorities. Perhaps, I wasn’t as charming to that person as I thought I was. Perhaps, they just saw me as a tool they could use to feel better about themselves. Perhaps, they took advantage of me, unscrupulously. Perhaps, a million other things were going on in their life. I never knew, I still don’t know, and I will never know. Thankfully, I don’t have any problems with closure; I figured out a while ago, I will rarely get it and I must organize my life and feelings around it, and never confront it head on because closure is rarer than gold!
I could sit here and blame the other person about how I felt, but these were MY feelings, not theirs. I am the one who must find a way to manage my self-esteem, to figure out a way to accept reality. No one owes me anything, really. Sure, it feels awesome to get love, respect, appreciation, and some reciprocity in feelings but that doesn’t always happen. It was another lesson, learned the hard way. Yet, I am always thankful for lessons because they allow me to move forward, evolve, and hopefully grow.
Let’s be honest, let’s be real; occasionally, we will be taken for granted. We will truly be unappreciated and underappreciated. Our heart will get a metaphorical tear and it will bleed. Our self esteem will be twisted and suffocated. Our spirit might get broken in a thousand pieces the way a crystal glass breaks when it meets the floor. We will question our very own reality and feelings. Sometimes, a person will not see our true value and that’s ok. It simply means that person isn’t meant for us, whether it’s about a friendship or a romantic relationship. It happens and we should never force connections. They either happen organically, or they don’t.
If you feel ignored, underappreciated, unappreciated, invisible, or otherwise unimportant, as hard as it might be to hear, move on from that person. It will not be easy at first, but you’ll realize, with time, how necessary, healthy, and beneficial moving on is. Well, it’s easy for me to say now because, 100 years ago when that story happened, nothing was easy, I’ll tell you that.
In the end, one must go where they are loved, where they feel seen and appreciated. Being taken for granted will erode your self esteem and mess with your mind. And all that for what? Ultimately, for nothing. Turn your back and go where you feel love, appreciation, and respect.
Just one man’s opinion.
Now smile and go on with your day!