There are all sorts of addictions in this world, from drugs to alcohol and then smoking. But the greatest and the strongest out of them is the addiction to another person. And it is unbelievably stupid how people can get completely stuck with a particular person. A person that not only fails in making one’s life brighter, but instead creates more and more problems when one could be better off alone.

Out of the fear of being alone, this idiotic preconception in their heads that they are never going to be loved again, they sit by the side of someone who is simply not worth it, utterly wasting their precious years. Call it a habit, call it sickness — letting go seems like the hardest part at times when in fact it is not. Sometimes, letting go can be twice as liberating; especially when you are trapped in a situation which lacks both appreciation and, most of all, respect.

Aside from all the “love stuff”, (which I won’t even bother to discuss) I regard appreciation and respect to be, if not the most significant, at least some of the most important parts in any relationship – whether it is the person you are screwing around with, the person you have a cup of coffee with every Sunday morning, to the person sitting at the desk opposite you at work. Being brought up by rather traditional parents to whom socially proper behaviour plays a huge role, I have always been told that I should treat people the way I wish to be treated – with kindness and compassion.

Yet sensitivity is something that comes from within, meaning that it’s in your nature but not everybody owns it. You may become vulnerable at times but not everyone deserves to see this side of you, because that is the precise moment where they attack and hit you where you are supposed to hurt the most. Likewise, respect as well as appreciation towards one, is not to be demanded but rather to be earned. For this exact reason, you are excused for being suspicious towards someone new.

Every new person entering your life is either a lesson or a blessing and until you are completely certain that they belong to the second category, you are allowed to up a brick wall. Throughout this process –of doubting and testing– you are allowed to be a good person; but not a doormat. Be yourself, be kind, but when it is needed, learn to say ‘no’ without explaining yourself. If something does not feel comfortable or does not suit you, you might as well reject it.

There will be times when you will be unable to turn an invitation down, out of embarrassment or the sense of propriety, but do not allow people to take you for granted. Bear in mind that loneliness and kindness own a history of sitting side by side on that bench, which explains why the awfully nicest people are also usually the loneliest.

Set your boundaries straight and through your actions show to the world of how you are not to be played with, that is how you are going to earn their respect. Be there for them when they need you, mediate your love through small and discrete actions; extravagant gestures only make impression to materialistic people anyway. In general, be the good person you are but without having the pressure to prove it on a daily basis.

Even the nicest people have their off days – the days when they wish to lock themselves in their room, listening to depressing music. Occasionally, the ones who try to please everyone around them need that bit of the space as to regain strength before entering the battlefield again. During this break you have granted yourself, you shall see that people will come off complaining of how they have lost their personal servant. Those do not appreciate you, or the effort you have put in, in order to satisfy them and simultaneously do not respect your need for privacy.  Therefore, the golden rule of treating others how you wish to be treated is simply not valid, for what’s the point of giving all the best of you if they are going to leave you stranded in the end?

Here comes another rule that is beyond valid however, the: “Treat me well and I will treat you even better” kind of rule. Because bargaining and exchanging  are the survival keys in a game; to give, as well as to receive. As far as the ones that do not bother of giving back when you are on your off days, I’d say this… A lion does not –nor should it– lose sleep over the opinion of a sheep.

When you are aware of your worth and the amount of loyalty you can offer anyone who actually deserves having you in their lives, the words of shallow and insignificant people will just evaporate right in front of your eyes. Some may call you heartless, some may think that it is difficult to keep up with you because you are a challenge.

Here’s the thing though – if someone really wants to be in your life, not only will they –abundantly–  offer you their respect, appreciation and love, but they will also be motivated to break down the walls that you have built, in order to meet the real, compassionate person you hide inside.

So you might as well keep some distance until one proves themselves — and that you two can eventually rule the jungle together.

Author: Marianna Ioannou

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