Tag Archives: selfish

LOVE LANGUAGE #3 – ACTS OF SERVICE

It’s makes sense that this love language lays, smack dab, in the middle; because the first thing I have to do is be open to receiving the act as something genuine. I can fully acknowledge that I battle with seeing a partner’s act of service as fully genuine. Don’t get me wrong, a good deed is a good deed, I simply wonder if there is an ulterior motive behind the act.  

I grew up hearing “men only want one thing” or “he did this because he wants that”. So, it only made sense that whenever I dated a guy, if he did something (without me asking for it, first) I would quietly question, why did he do it? I used to believe that if people did something nice for me it was because they genuinely wanted to do it, I was 8 years old; today, life and dating has since delivered me some very rude awakenings.  

The most important one being that; no one does anything without receiving something in return. Sir Isaac Newton’s third law states that; “every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. However, that reaction isn’t always visible. For example: A business man on the train gives a dollar to a homeless man. It may appear that the businessman is receiving nothing in return; but if you allow yourself to consider not every exchange has to be tangible; you’ll see that the reaction is emotional. It felt good for the businessman to give that dollar, and that’s why he did it (in addition to it being a good deed). 

With the above being understood; sadly, there is always an internal tug-of-war between my mind and my heart. On one side, my heart wants to receive the act with no questions asked; while my mind is scanning for an ulterior motive.  

In the average relationship, when people perform acts of service, it’s because they’re working to maintain their relationship and to get to that ‘Happily Ever After’. All the deeds one did to show love and care appear to be totally self-less, until the relationship is over. When the relationship ends, all those ‘self-less acts’ turn into sacrifices made. The once, “this is for you my love” turns into “I sacrificed this for you”. A self-less act rapidly transitions and becomes something that was actually a bargaining chip in disguise. I hate to admit it, but I did the above to an ex and I’ve had it done to me. 

In a past relationship, I financially supported my partner. I paid his phone bill, his metro card, and when we went out- I often paid. We met online, while he was in Trinidad. He was a runner, but was in recovery from an injury. He had an opportunity to come to the U.S. to train with a special coach, and to be with me; but he first had to buy himself out of his contract, which left him with very little money when he finally arrived. I felt that he had made a sacrifice for me; so, for a while I did what I could to support him. The only problem was, every time we got into an argument, he would threaten to leave and I would weaponize what I did for him. He would say “I should’ve gone to Jamaica to train instead…” and I would say “Really? with all that I’m doing for you!” I was by no means rich, so helping my partner out while I was only making $30K (before taxes) at the time was a real financial burden. But I had convinced myself that it would only be temporary; he would land an athletic contract, we would move out and live together, and everything would have been worth it. As time passed and that fantasy drifted farther and farther away, I grew to resent him and all that I had done for him. I blamed him for my financial struggles, and when I finally ended the relationship, I declared that I would never make the same mistake again. In my mind, I was supporting my man because I wanted what was best for him; but my subconscious knew that if and when the tide finally turned, I wanted to be there to ride the wave of success with him. I wanted him to see me and all that I had sacrificed for him and declare that I was worthy to go on the journey with him. I later learned that was not a truly genuine act of service. 

Those feelings and lessons learned in that relationship still fuel my perspective today. As much I love it when a partner does something nice for me; being who I am, and knowing my history, I worry that one day their acts of service will be thrown in my face, if things don’t go the way they intended. In previous posts I stress the importance of being selfish and, with my feet firmly rooted in the dirt, I stand by that. I like to think that I am fair in how I choose to date. I never ask a partner’s income, but I take note of what they say to get a general idea. A while back, I had a partner offer to help me out financially, although the situation wasn’t yet a reality, I declined the offer. I knew that their desire to help me would only further hurt them; the same way me financially helping my ex hurt my abilities to save and get financially stable for myself. I firmly feel that if helping someone today has the risk of turning into something sacrificed later, don’t do it! That’s like doing someone doing a favor and then holding it over their head in arguments; you either want to do it or you don’t. There will always be a looming question of an ulterior motive. Why are you here? Why are you doing it?  

 
As I’m learning and growing with love, I’m learning to work on aligning my brain and heart, and to trust the actions of those that I love; it’s not easy, but I’m working on it.  

BE SELFISH! SAVE YOURSELF FIRST!

When a plane is going down, it’s more important to put the oxygen mask on yourself first; then onto the person next to you. If I’m spending time trying to get the mask onto you, in addition to losing oxygen, I may lose consciousness and die; then we’re both screwed. As simple as it may seem; a lot of people have a great deal of difficulty applying this very simple logic to their everyday life.  

You can’t give water from an empty cup, but so many people continue to try. Unlike the cup that is obviously empty, there is no visual correlation for your spirit, state of mind, or heart. A broken heart can be fixed; but once a heart it drained, it dries up and can no longer function.  

When we are young, we’re told to be nice and share our toys with the other kids; because, sharing is caring. We’re subjected to forced playdates, the buddy system, and group projects. It’s no wonder why so many people are, not only, co-dependent, but so many of us are givers. We were bred to be this way, and at some point, it has to stop. 

SAVE YOURSELF FIRST! 

I used to be the person that loved to please, support, and be there for others. Unfortunately, many times, it left me emotionally broken and struggling to find my own happiness. In past relationships, I dismissed all my wants and needs to make myself what my partner wanted; totally becoming a person that I no longer recognized. If a friend had a bad day, I would take on their feelings as my own and that energy would eventually weigh me down.  

After I broke up with my ex; after my 100th cry, my 50th cancelled date, and my 20th weekend alone; I had finally had enough. It was then that I told myself; “I refuse to be unhappy and have herpes”. The fact of the matter was, since I couldn’t get rid of herpes, I made the choice to get rid of the guy. 

I began applying that theme to factors beyond my relationship. I applied it to work; if I didn’t like my job, I did what was needed to get a new one. I applied it to my friends and acquaintances; I became more mindful of the energy I allowed to be around me, and I stopped letting negative people affect me. Lastly, I applied it to my family. Naturally, I couldn’t get rid of my family; and trying to change them would be more work than it was worth. I did, however, adjust my reactions to what they did. I realized that I had much more control over my own emotions (in response to their actions) than their initial actions that would cause said emotion. 

It became important to me to do some heavy self-reflecting and healing; and during my journey I found my peace. 

People often say I have great energy, along with confidence, and spirit. Whether it’s a friend’s friend I met at a bar, a media personality, or a friend I hadn’t seen in 10 years; they all say the same thing. When they ask me how I manage, I make it very clear. 

I put myself first; above all else.  

Yes! It sounds selfish as hell, but it’s the remedy that I live by. A few years ago, I read (audio book) The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck; it was what I needed to hear to put my way of doing things into perspective. The book wasn’t really about, not giving a fuck; it was more about only addressing the things you have the ability to change and acknowledging that the grass may not be greener on the other side.  

Comparing where I was in life and/or in my relationship to those of my friends, often left me feeling lonely and depressed. But when they would complain to me about their partner or spouse; I was ecstatic to know I was much happier in my reality that I thought they were in the fantasy of their lives that I created in my mind.  

When I re-evaluated the men that I sought; for a very long time, I realized that I was a magnet for those that needed support. I, unknowingly, operated as a human crutch for many years. I loved being that ride or die, support her man woman. I often turned the other cheek, and I always thought optimistically of my partners. Supporting people and lifting them up to where they wanted and/or needed to be; was what I was good at. However, when I looked back, I realize that; while I did so much for others, I did nothing for myself. And time and time again, I had to start over.  

It took a while for me to learn my lesson; because each time Soul-Sucker came around, they were a little different. The first time- they had long hair, the next time- it was short, the next time- they wore glasses, another time- they showed up with a limp. Their appearance kept changing, but their behaviors and actions would always, eventually, reveal their true identity. 

With dating polyamorously, I had to be extra careful of whom was in my space; but, above all else I had to be sure to maintain my autonomy.  

I make time for my partners (primary and secondary), family, and friends; but the most important time is that I have with myself. For the record- I LOVE MYSELF! And I love being by myself. Time by myself is used to evaluate my position, mission, and goals. Sometimes I work out, watch tv, or listen to music. I may decide to go for a walk alone or try out a new restaurant, or go see a movie; all by myself. I love my alone time; because it allows me the ability to take a necessary inventory of my feelings and check in to make sure all elements that make me who I am are in alignment. I may go hours without looking at my phone or I may look but decide to not respond, because it’s my alone time.  

We’ve been conditioned to seek the constant comfort of others, but we came into this world alone (most of us anyway) and we’re going to die alone. We all have to find happiness in being alone and being selfish, with ourselves, is the first step.  

The Ex Files_Part 4: Tired of Tired

X-FILES_TIRED HEADER_PT4-01

So, let’s do a recap.  

October-November: Casually Dating 

November-January: We’re sleeping together. No official title. No gift for Christmas and no time spent together for the holidays. 

February (Valentine’s Day): First official argument. I requested a date, that he agreed to, yet never fulfilled. I got him a card.  

February-March: He proposes a mini vacation that he never follows through on. 

April-May: Still no title. We’re seeing each other about once a week. Actual romantic dates are not frequently happening. Most dates are basic movies and/or cheap dinners or takeout.  

June (My Birthday Month): I receive no present. 

July (My family vacation to Vegas): He said he would attend but he did not.  

August: I was ready to put my foot down and/or call it quits. He then called me his girlfriend and I fell in stupid all over again. He offered to buy me tickets to the Motown play. 

September-October: The rocky ground becomes flaming coals as I become frustrated with yet another promise that is never fulfilled (Six Flags Fright Fest).  

So here we are, in November. I had grown tired of his bullshit. However, for reasons (which I will address in a totally different post to come later) I couldn’t completely cut the cord and walk away.  

We had stopped speaking for a few days after he let me down with the Six Flags fiasco. I played the dumb game most of us play: he’d text me and I would wait hours to text him back etc. Then, one afternoon he gave me a call. Claiming how he missed me and wanted to see me. At this point, I had grown tired of leaving my job, travelling on the train for over an hour just to go to his house and do nothing but watch tv and get crappy takeout. If I wanted to watch tv I could do that at my own damn house. I came to the realization that he was not a pick up on signals type of guy. I would have to make it crystal clear for him. So, I asked him “Where are we going to go?” His response; “I have to see how I feel, I might be tired.” To which I responded: “That’s fine. Hit me up when you’re not tired. Because I am sick and tired of you being tired whenever I come by. Ok.” I then hung up the phone.  

He was furious with me; but I gave ZERO FUCKS. I was done caring about his feelings and him being tired- blah fucking blah! He immediately called me back; he was shocked that I hung up on him and that I would say that. He complained that I was the busy one and that I didn’t make time for him. Which was bull shit! For months I had been asking for us to spend a weekend together and it never happened. He complained that my schedule was too complicated for him and that it was too much work for him to remember my schedule. To which I responded- all he had to do was ask me my availability. He called it “making an appointment” I called it “communication”.  

I did a little digging during the course of our relationship. I found out that in his previous relationships his partners either, didn’t work or had very limited social lives and he had also taken care of them. They lived with him, didn’t work, and he handled all the bills. He was used to dating women that would always be available because they did nothing else. He was used to doing what he wanted when he wanted because he was the one that always paid. Think about it; if you’re a “kept woman” and you want to go on a vacation but rely on your man to pay for it; you have to convince him and/or wait for him to want to go on said vacation. This was his dating life for over a decade, prior to meeting me. He was not used to dating a girl that worked, had a social life, and had plans. He was used to doing what he wanted, when he wanted, and it never being an issue. Sadly- that was not they dynamics of my life; they never were and never will be. My independence matters to me, my social life matters to me, my family, my friends, my fitness all matter to me; and when I’m in relationship, my partner matters to me. To me, I thought I was doing a great job at balancing it all; to him, however, I was not.  

Needless to say, nothing got resolved on that phone call; it became very tit for tat. Eventually I got tired of to a brick wall so, I said goodnight and ended the conversation. 

We didn’t see each other for another 2 weeks. When he finally called and asked to take me out, we set a date for a weekend, we went to Juniper in Brooklyn and went to the movies after. Dinner and the movie were nice gestures, but it was like putting whip cream and a cherry on shit and calling it chocolate ice cream. 

When we got back to his place, we tried to talk things out. I told him that I was not happy in the relationship. He couldn’t understand what I was unhappy about. He said he was happy with me so why was I not happy with him; as if it was a barter system (happy for happy). For starters, I never met any of his family and/or friends; even though I had invited him on many occasions to meet mine; he simply never showed up. I brought up the fact that over and over he made promises and never kept them. To which his response was “well I never promised.” He didn’t comprehend that; whether or not you use the word promise when you agreed and you didn’t follow through, it still hurts. I told him that his not caring about how I felt hurt and he claimed I chose to be upset and that I should just learn to let things go. In essence, all the things I was complaining about didn’t matter to him.  

He didn’t care about meeting my family or friends; because to him it wasn’t a big deal. He didn’t care about dates- he was just happy to be with me. He didn’t care about broken plans because to him we would always have time. Lastly, he felt that I held on to things and that I should, like him, just let them go. I had to explain to him he and I were not the same person. A person has to be willing to compromise with their partner if the relationship is to be successful. I had compromised a hell of a lot; I changed my routine and I became a home-body, I let movies and take-out replace actual dates because my guy was a casual guy, I started watching sports because he liked sports and, I made less plans to try and be available for him more. I was done compromising. I wanted dates and romance, but I also wanted honored plans, and experiences together. I told him, I’m the type of girl that when I am wronged you have to acknowledge the wrong and fix it; I do not just let shit go. If you put a crack in a vase you have to fix it, if not the crack will get worse and eventually the vase will break. I told him if he wanted this relationship to work there would have to be changes made on his part. I asked him, just to try things my way- if it didn’t work then we would cut our losses but at least give it a try. The way I saw it was: We did things your way and it doesn’t work, now let’s try it my way.  

Him trying things my way lasted for about 2 weeks. 

(Part 4 Coming Very Soon)