Those who do good, receive good.
Just take that statement and throw it out. You’re not Mother Teresa. There was only one Ghandi, and I highly doubt posthumous fame is worth what you’re going through.
You’ve been fed that fairy tale “do unto others…” and “what goes around comes around” crap since before you can remember. They’ve been setting you up to be a doormat, all your life. Because all types of people are needed and doormats always have a purpose to serve. One for the greater good. One for everybody else but themselves.
You do know what a doormat is, right? You step all over it, wipe your feet on it, stomp on it to get all the mud off your shoes, so that you clean them before entering a space you deem “better” than whatever was outside. So, you get why it has come to be a characterization of those who get used and abused?
See, if there’s one person on this earth that is truly on your side, with literally nothing to gain, it’s me. I don’t know you, you don’t know me. I want nothing from you in return for the 1000+ words I’m dedicating to you. I’m doing this solely for you because, once, I was you. And though I was never one to really incovenience myself, I’ve found myself going above and beyond what was in my nature for people that held a spot in my heart. I spent countless sleepless nights trying to figure out what I was doing wrong to make everybody think I was okay with being the one that was only good when the need arose or when it suited them. I know how it feels — I know how it hurts and how betrayed you feel.
The thing you need to understand, though, first and foremost, is that no one is betraying you. You truly have no right and no solid justification for feeling hurt. No one has asked you for anything. They didn’t make requests or demands, nor did they give you an ultimatum. Yes, they take advantage when the can; when you let them.
An old Arabic proverb, loosely translated, says: “If the camel did not kneel, then you wouldn’t be able to load it.” Which basically means that if you’re bowing down and bending over, you’re going to get screwed. You have made choices. You have chosen to stick your neck out for people who wouldn’t do the same for you; and don’t care about the sacrifices you made for them. Just stop. Wearing your heart on your sleeve is a pretty notion in theory, but in practice all it does is get that heart worn and torn and tattered to uselessness.
Nobody, will treat you right if you don’t first demand it; and not demand it with words. “If you have to say you’re a king, you’re no king.” (You’d be surprised how many GoT references I could make here.) No, you demand respect and consideration with your actions. Yes, you have a good heart; a heart of gold. One that any person would be goddamn lucky to be loved by. But no one’s thinking about your back. It’s their own ass they make sure is covered. And they don’t even think they’re doing anything wrong; as long as you continue to let them treat you like a doormat, they will.
You have to put a stop to it.
Say no. Don’t jump. Don’t run to help if your help is not requested. Tell a couple of them to fuck off. Heavens know they deserve it. No one will respect you, or appreciate you, if you don’t extend the favor to yourself first.
I get why you do it all. You want to be loved, you want to be appreciated, you want someone to think highly of you, you want to be the best, you want to feel good about yourself, like you mean something and are making a difference somewhere, somehow – you want something in return. You want the damn universe to pay you back someday; you expect it to because, well, good things come back to us, right? Wrong.
But, if we’re going to be honest, and accurate here, there are no completely, truly, and utterly altruistic deeds. Even you, and your heart of gold, do things with an end game. The love you spread all around you, to everyone around you, the favors you do and the accomodations you make for others are just as much for your happiness as it is for theirs. There’s nothing more selfish than pretending to always be selfless. (If you really were, then you’d be blissfully oblivious to the fact that you’re being taken advantage of.)
I’m not saying you should live your life being an asshole. I don’t believe that we should be mean or cruel or inconsiderate of others and their feelings. (Let’s not go from one extreme to the other; there is a grey area that can work for everyone) All I’m saying is that you –you, my golden-hearted, poor, unfortunate soul– have to draw the line somewhere. I have my Rule of Three; it works for me. Measure your limits, your own resilience and endurance and, most of all, the worth of the people around you.
Would they follow you into the fire? Can you count on them for anything? Or at least to “repay” you in equal measure?
If your answer to any of those questions is yes, then you’re on the right track. If it’s no, then it’s time to re-prioritize.
I wish I could be softer with you. I wish I could tell you that it’s alright and that when the right people come around, at the right time, they’ll appreciate it. But I can’t. Because if you don’t stop NOW then those right people, and that right time, will never come. You’ll never get yourself out of this rut and you’ll be left perpetually wondering why everyone seems to treat you badly. It’s not you, it’s them. It is.
But how long are you going to let someone else’s behavior dictate your happiness?
Humans were given five fingers for a reason. Your middle one’s purpose is to assist the others in tasks. There are times you should allow it to assist your emotional and psychological well-being as well. Give them the finger, say those three liberating words you’ve thought but never uttered, and walk away. Give a damn about yourself for once, get your own back for a change, stick your neck out for the one person that is worth the sacrifice and danger. Stop caring what the world will think and how you will look to everyone around you. Stop giving a damn about those who don’t give a damn about you.
They don’t. Why should you?