I’ve seen a few posts on Facebook recently that say never take someone for granted and they seem sweet enough on the surface, but I can feel the wrongness in them when I read them. Not because there is anything wrong in being mindful with those around you, but because of the fear-based messages that came along with the reminder to “never take someone for granted”.
The first one suggested we not take anyone around us for granted because we may find that we have “lost a diamond while [we] were too busy collecting stones”.
Wow. There are so many things I find questionable about this, but maybe the first is the sense of “punishment” you get for taking someone for granted. That, rather than being in the moment and honouring what is true for you at that moment with whomever you are with, being mindful and appreciative of those who share your life in any form, you should cling on to anyone in your life because of the fear of loss.
In my reality, there is no value judgement between “a diamond” and “stones” when it comes to people and events in your life. Even those things that you might perceive as “stones” from your current point of view in life: dead ends, things that don’t work out as you expected, tangents or side paths on your journey .. all are exactly as they should be in the greater purpose of your life, there to prompt you towards living the life more closely suited to the truth of who you are and to your purpose.
I wondered if the reason some people enjoyed this post, was because people lose relationships (romantic or friendships) that were no longer right for them but spend a great deal of time looking back wistfully at the now ‘perfect’ projected version of that relationship, instead of looking within to see how they might grow from what they learned in that relationship or friendship? And to move forward with gratitude for what has been and with joyful anticipation for what is to come -that is more suited to who they now are.
If I am in any kind of relationship that doesn’t have clear enough communication channels so that the other can speak up and express that they feel taken for granted, or I am not self reflecting as to why I am choosing exits from my relationship (“stones” like other people, working long hours, watching TV or spending all my spare time on solo interests) rather than investing time and energy into nurturing this relationship, I would say that something is going to come to a head. The problem is not in “collecting stones” or in “taking someone for granted”, but in living without awareness.
And let’s even look at that “being taken for granted”. Let’s take the pointed finger away from the other person and hold up a mirror to ourselves. What does it mean? It seems to me that if we feel taken for granted, it means that we have been loving conditionally and are keeping a mental tally as to whether our partner or friend or even our child, has been doing enough of the “right” things to make the score even. That they have not paid back enough of the “love” we have given them to make us feel appreciated.
That is a hefty burden for any relationship.
It implies that we are doing things that we resent, with the expectation that others in our life appreciate them, and us, for doing them, rather than honouring our own inner guidance and boundaries and loving freely and for the simple joy of loving.
Feeling that we have been “taken for granted” means that we expect another to “reward us” for loving them conditionally, and if they don’t, they will be “punished” with loss, or, at the very least, with guilt.
Even the more innocuous post I saw today, implied that relationships are effectively business transactions.
Are you required to appreciate, give extra attention, feel responsible for someone else’s feelings because they showed you courage? Isn’t having courage to speak your truth reward in itself for the speaker? Couldn’t we, perhaps, simply be appreciative and unconditionally loving to everyone in our lives because our hearts are full and we want to share that feeling?
Instead of worrying whether someone else feels “taken for granted” and whether or not we have paid enough with our energy, our actions and our love, can’t we just liberate ourselves from relationships based on transactions and instead just give because we have it, or not if we don’t?
Maybe we could look within first when we feel fear of loss of someone in our lives.
Maybe we could fill our own emotional cups so that we don’t need others to behave in this way or that way in order to feel loved .. and in those moments when we forget and begin to feel resentful or hurt, perhaps we can look within to see what is truly calling our attention to become all that we truly are, instead of missing the opportunity by asking another to try to fix it? (hint: they can’t)
Perhaps we can choose freedom in our relationships.