As part of our everyday lives, it is crucial we form honest and meaningful connections with others. Ideally, these relationships allow us to feel valued, safe and loved. They allow us a space in which to have our needs fulfilled and to help others fulfil their own needs. We know that sometimes interactions such as these are not possible. Often, ‘life gets in the way’ and, consumed by our own challenges, we forget to be mindful of others and others forget to be mindful of us. Sometimes, however, we are simply not mindful for any apparent reason. This can be particularly difficult when it involves those with whom we feel closest, or those with whom we wish to be closest.
I recently stumbled across The Get Up Kids’ “Overdue” (above), which I used to play many years ago. All these years later, it still strikes a chord: “You're a few years overdue. I spent them waiting here for you”. Waiting on others can be challenging. More than that, it can erode our self-concept as we are plagued by irrational questions: “Am I not worth attention? Am I not worth effort? Does what I need not matter?” We do not receive attention and our needs go unnoticed. “No”, we conclude, “I am not worth it”.
I spent a long time waiting for a particular person if my life. I spent many nights wishing they would notice me and recognise the trouble in which I found myself. I spent many nights wishing they would recognise I needed them and I needed them to appreciate my wants and my needs instead of stubbornly clinging to their own. I had always done my very best to help them fulfil their needs. I had always done my very best to fulfil my responsibilities and communicate my needs in our relationship. But this, it seems, fell on deaf ears.
I have since learned that “my only hope is letting go” (The Get Up Kids). I have recognised that, for whatever reason, this person cannot meet my needs. I also have accepted that, regardless of how much I once hoped for their time and attention, it is ok to have these needs met elsewhere. This does not mean I am not “worth it” – because each of us is worth it.
As human beings, we each possess inherent dignity and worth. Simply because others cannot recognise this does not mean we are lacking. The least we can do is hope that we won’t learn to make the same mistakes. The least we can do is hope to do better and remember to be mindful of others whilst being mindful of ourselves.