One of our key sources of unhappiness is the feeling of being taken for granted. It annoys us when we don’t get what we think we deserve and the other parties make no effort at all to do what needs to be done. Phew! If you have been feeling that a lot – let me tell you – you are responsible for the situation! Now you must be thinking, “how can I be responsible when the other party is not doing their part”. The article explains how we are responsible and how we can use that understanding to avoid being taken granted and create stronger relationships.
One of the lessons I have been learning the hard way and apparently very slowly in my life is – how to avoid being taken for granted. I have had many situations where at the end I felt I was being taken for granted and not understood and I only acted when the situation got “unbearable”. All the while I was hoping, praying and even requesting in someway for the others to understand and I felt that I had done everything I could do in the situation.
But on closer analysis of the situations, I realized that I was responsible in many ways in creating the situation. How so? Here’s what I did that created the situation of me being taken for granted:
Ignoring small signs
Before any relationship comes close to breakdown there are many signs that we ignore in early stages. There are signs we ignore before getting into a relationship as are so focused on achieving something. We either don’t notice these signs at all, or ignore or minimize their importance. Here are some simple examples:
- Business – we ignore that the client puts unreasonable demands because we want the business badly.
- Romance – we ignore “off hand and rude comments” made by a boyfriend because we are enamored by how accomplished he is.
Giving in for love or kindness
Many a times we notice things we don’t like, we see the others ignoring our needs consistently but we let it go “for love” or out of kindness and being nice. So what’s wrong with that? A lots. First of all you are sending a signal to the other that “its ok to ignore your needs” in the relationship. In essence – you are encouraging their behavior by not expressing your needs and setting expectations. Second, you are weakening your relationship as whether we like it or not we have some resentment and don’t feel motivated to do our part in the relationship. We also start taking them for granted and become aloof.
Not acting soon enough
There is a difference between words and actions. When being taken for granted, if I keep threatening the other with some action, but never show the courage to act on the words, our credibility reduces day-by-day further encouraging the other party to take us for granted more often and in bigger ways.
So how do we build strong and healthy relationships without either party being oppressed, used, or taken for granted. Simply put – “by building and trusting in our ability” to respond to anything that life and others throw at us. Do you have deep courage to walk away from your largest client if it does not work for you? Can you call off a relationship which is no longer helping your or others growth and lacks joy? Can you endure the pain of change better than slow decay that we let happen around us everyday?
We have to start observing small things with high awareness (not paranoia) and be willing to take stance, act on that those – though it may be painful in the short run. That is what I call “Response Able” rather than frozen with fear.