You Make Me Feel... You Make Me Feel...

“I want to spread the news that if it feels this good getting used Oh you just keep on using me until you use me up...Until you use me up”

(Bill Withers, 1972)

These lyrics make for a great soulful hit, but do not serve as an exciting mantra when it comes to real life relationships.

If you’ve lived for any amount of time, you’ve likely heard the phrase, “don’t take my kindness for a weakness.” This statement is usually chanted by people who have already experienced heartbreak in this area or they sense the prevailing possibility arising. I don’t believe that anyone enjoys the feelings that are associated with being taken advantage of, especially when your efforts were impeccable and your intentions were sincere.

What’s interesting, and this maybe hard to accept, but we are the culprits responsible for this unsettling offense. I’ll be the first to attest to the annoyance and overwhelming inner turmoil I’ve at times created within myself, not understanding the true root of my actions that consequently, caused me to point the finger at the person who “took without giving me anything in return.”

...Like a Na-Tur-al Woman

As a woman, it is our nature to be nurturing, giving, sacrificial, to love unconditionally, and to be accommodating. The Divine Creator made us this way to raise children that grow into empathetic, considerate, and civilized adults. When we don’t understand our nature and natural tendencies, we can find ourselves in situations and relationships where our nature has become a burden we resent as we consequently make choices that betray our own self confidence and security.

If you’ve been following this thread, then you know that the month of April is all about #Boundaries. This week we are going deeper into #1 out of The 3 Signs You Are Running a Red Light.

#1 You Feel as Though You’re Being Taken Advantage Of or Used

Possibility #1: You Are Giving More Than You Want To or Have The Capacity to Give

You’re headed to the store to grab some necessities. As you reach the door, you turn around and ask your roommates do they want or need anything while you’re out. Deep down you hope they say no because you’re on the tighter budget than spanx on a pig, but you reluctantly write down the list regretting the moment you turned around to be nice.

It’s not that you don’t want to be helpful, but it was your conditioning that forced you to be “considerate and kind,” while avoiding being identified with “selfish” at all cost- that ultimately cost you money you didn’t have plus a complimentary headache.

This is a small example, nonetheless is quite common with interchangeable details. The point to be aware of in this illustration is the underlying catalyst behind offering your assistance and resources. You wanted to be seen as nice, a good friend or person, considerate, etc.

This is not a bad thing in and of itself but, you were also aware of the limitations within your own personal budget. You offered something you really didn’t have the capacity to give, therefore you inherently did not want to give it because of the reality of your position.

The problem really comes when this becomes a habit and the receivers indulge without reservation. When the tables are turned and the same consideration and kindness is not extended to you, out comes The Troll of Resentment, recounting every dollar spent, amount of time rendered, and every gestures of kindness that you ever bestowed. The health of the relationship quickly follows.

Possibility #2: You are Giving Out of Obligation

You recently transitioned into a new position at work and the learning curve is grueling. Your hours have increased and your brain has been in overdrive all week. When you get home, you don’t have much time to relax, as the demands for your attention are just as pressing. You are looking forward to your first and only day off at the end of the week, as you plan to sit at home and enjoy doing absolutely nothing.

The night before the day of glory, you bask in the small yet fulfilling delight of disabling every alarm in your phone. As you snuggle and prepare to watch your favorite Netflix series until you fall asleep, your girlfriend calls unloading all her personal drama onto you. Like a good friend, you listen (reluctantly). When she inquires of your schedule, you hesitantly inform her that you’re off of work. She takes that as a green light to plan your entire day. You agree.

Often times our loved ones can have the greatest tug on our boundaries. We don’t want to disappoint them and often times we feel as though it is our responsibility to be there for them (or no one else will). This is a noble thought but we are not wired nor required to be the Knight in shining armor to other people, not even family or friends- especially if it means sacrificing our own needs and wants. Emphasis on wants because its much easier to overshadow them when they are not a perceived “necessity.”

(Example: If you had to go to work the next morning you would not have felt as bad ending the call sooner and passing on the impromptu plans- even if you had time to meet up after work. You likely wouldn’t have even answered the phone.)

Why? Likely because you had a responsibility to blame rather than challenging yourself to face your fear of allowing your “No” to be a complete and final answer just because you wanted to!

Possibility #3: You Are Giving With a Hidden Agenda or Expectation to Receive Something in Return or In Exchange

Now this one may ruffle some feathers or be uncomfortable to admit, but remember we are here for awareness not to pity ourselves, lie to ourselves, compare, or judge.

You meet this amazing guy (or girl), y’all hit it off and start dating. You both are increasingly spending time together, enjoying one another’s company, and you quite naturally begin to fantasize about your future with this person. On the surface you act as though the pace you are going is cool, but inwardly you are agonizing over the question “Where is this going?”

You give nasty sex; unearned quality time; you become Martha Stewart in the kitchen; become less demanding; accept house dates to accommodate his budget; silently agree to his timeline; and give 1...2...3 more months or years; all while bursting at the seams with fear, discomfort, and frustration hoping your sacrifice will be rewarded with him on one knee singing his everlasting love for you at the top of the Eiffel Tower and becoming the man you always dreamt he’d be.

Understand that this illustration can range from waiting on a ring to waiting to be made girlfriend. It can be hoping for a promotion at a job that doesn’t value you to giving money that you really intended to lend.

The problem here is not so much the desire for more from a relationship, job, or any situation, it is the underlying belief that it can only be fulfilled through one source rather than The Source.

What I mean is that, imagine you walk into your bosses office and inquire about receiving more challenging responsibilities, higher pay, and benefits. He in turn expresses his appreciation for the work that you do, but in a nutshell communicates that there isn’t much room for growth beyond where you are, at least not for another two years. You give a second thought to his timeline proposal but become naturally curious about the certainty of his projection. He doesn’t have a plan for how that future opportunity will look or be created, therefore cannot guarantee if it will be worth your time if you decide to stay.

What is the likelihood you are willing to give this job another two years of your time? I’m sure you’d be applying for new positions as soon as you hit your desk. Why? Because you’re confident that there are job prospects willing to meet your current wants and needs. You are also likely certain of your talents and abilities. The pressure from your steadily increasing cost of living is also a frequent reminder that “it’s time to go Sis!”

Again, its not bad to give with an expectation to receive. Having a spirit of expectancy enlivens you and provides something to look forward to and work toward. It’s when that expectation is attached to a specific person or outcome and it has not been agreed on with that person specifically, that you find yourself feeling taken advantage of or risk wasting your time.

God is infinite, so when you give, put the expectation in The True Source.

Pull Over to Check The Meter

All of the above illustrations have a common thread of a fear based and lack mentality. When you give of your time, resources, & energy it’s important to question your true motivations.

A first step to identify the area(s) you may be giving from fear or lack is to tune into your natural energetic response when you are asked to do something; go somewhere; begin to offer, or are asked to give of your time or resources.

Follow your Joy-Meter-an unwavering sense of peace, calm, and lighthearted ease fullness. If you could possibly become bitter, resentful, frustrated, or disappointed if an action is not reciprocated- its best to revaluate your true motive and inner beliefs.

It takes more intentionality and focus to uncover your true intentions, but the decisions you make as a result, will likely free you from any feelings of being used, taken advantage of, and ultimately wasting your time.

“The life you want is on the other side of the awareness you accept & the decision you make as a result”

Check back every Wednesday & Sunday of this month as we explore the limits that will set you free= BOUNDARIES!

Follow me @WhitWhitHurray on Instagram to keep up with blog postings and #WonderingWhitleyWednesday at 7:30PM, CST.

Peace. Love. & Soul- Glow Grease.

#DANCEForYou #WonderingWhitley #Boundaries

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