What value do you place on your life in comparison to the lives of others? Are you willing to set yourself back at least a decade or more championing causes that have nothing to do with your development as a person, but benefits others with a track record of ignoring tough decisions that would remedy their own situation? This is the costly byproduct of putting on your cape for everyone. This is the byproduct of not allowing lessons, which must be owned and experienced by the people whose causes you hoist above your head, to run their natural course.
It is not up to you to step in the middle of someone else’s karma and try to protect them from themselves. It is not up to you to right self-inflicted wrongs of anyone except yours. While being of service is noble, when that service is expected at the cost of your own health, happiness and freedom, it is no longer being of service, but a hostage situation that leaves you bargaining for your own release. If the level of service that you give is not met at least halfway when the tables are turned, you have become nothing but intravenous supply that can be tapped when your friend or lover is bored, feeling the pinch of their own decision-making, or needing a temporary distraction from the life they are living—the one THEY created. If they are not willing to fold you into the recipe of their good times, you better believe that when you are in need of a fraction of the love and support you so freely gave, it will not be there.
It is imperative that we, the empathic types, the ones who lend an ear to the sob stories that play on repeat, do not find ourselves so absorbed in the problems of others. When we do this, we ignore the very dreams that wake us up in the morning when we find that hope is all we have to count on. Be of service, but never allow yourself to be pulled underwater by someone else’s waves. It is not your responsibility to fight the battles of others, when someone else is not willing to even sit ringside for yours. I understand that sometimes this is easier said than done. However, even if you wake up in the middle of their ocean, there are a few things that you can do to clearly decipher potential red flags and snags before you get caught in the undertow.
Do not just listen to their words. Put yourself in an observational position and really connect to the energy that they are giving off. Watch them from the outside of defined roles and present expectations. Realize that they are only telling their side of the story, and you may not ever get to hear the other side. Do they admit to their own shortcomings? Do they have a starring role as victim in the play they are presenting to you? It is crucial that you find yourself in a thinking role as well as a feeling role, and not let your empathetic, knee-jerk reaction blindside you into rushing to judgement. How do they treat others who can do nothing for them? How do they speak about their friends or about others who they believe are of no Earthly benefit to them? How do they treat domesticated animals, who by nature, are programmed to love and forgive unconditionally? How do they treat the elderly, children, and everyday people who they have fleeting contact with? How do they respond to your struggles? Do they respond with a healthy level of detachment, yet give off energy of teamwork and encouragement, or do you notice that they cannot create distance between you fast enough?
The reason that relationships with lovers and friends solidify, is that there is a mutual level of loyalty that is understood–the foundation for all long lasting interpersonal relationships. If someone cannot be bothered with creating a foundation of trust and allegiance, then the relationship is built on shifting sand that erodes quickly. All it takes is one good crisis to reveal how solid the base is. If the relationship is built upon true connection, it will weather the ebb and flow of time and change. If it is not, they have crafted a world with you in it as a puppet and not a partner. They do not see you. They only see what benefit you can be to their carefully crafted life. The first moment you step out of line and express yourself in the full flower of your personality, you will be reminded of how bad it is to want more for yourself, than you want for them. When the supply runs low, noticeably decreases, or ceases to be, their lives will feel the pinch that yours has been feeling, and you will know without doubt through abandonment or betrayal just how replaceable you are to them. You are nothing more than a cardboard cutout stand in, for some other friend or lover who got wise to the game and cut the cord for good.
And like cardboard, you have no value when you show signs of wear and can no longer carry their heavy lifting. They will find another box to pour their burdens into and like trash you will be put out to be taken away. Yes, these words seem harsh, but they are real. Life is not promised or a guaranteed length of years. Time with the wrong person can take away quite a few of them, and unfortunately, it can take away life completely if you find yourself with someone who truly doesn’t give a damn.
It is imperative that you are irreplaceable to yourself. Give the self-care that is needed. Be willing to be single and love your life, or wait for someone who will have as much allegiance to you as you have for them. Do not let a façade fool you. Do not let words of love without depth or scripture without works seduce you into thinking that you have found your soft place to fall. Be your own soft place to fall. Build the home of your heart, and build it strong. Accept nothing less than what you are willing to accept as a human being—love, peace, safety and shelter from the occasional storms of life. Give these things to yourself and from others, accept no substitutes. You are not the gladiator of someone else’s karma. Since is a 24 hour job to stand in your own coliseum and win, from where are you stealing your time?