“The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.” – Ernest Hemingway
When you love someone — be it a friend, family member or romantic partner — it’s normal to want to go above and beyond for those people, and show them how much they mean to you.
Love is kind. It’s beautiful. It’s generous. It’s selfless. It’s powerful. And it’s wonderful.
But, sometimes love is also blinding. Sometimes, when we love someone so much, we don’t always realize our feelings aren’t reciprocated, and our actions aren’t appreciated.
I’ve experienced this kind of relationship first hand, and it was heartbreaking. For me, it wasn’t a romantic partner or friend — it was my father. I met him for the first time when I was 16, and I was SO excited to get to know him, and finally have a “dad”.
But, it wasn’t a mutual exchange, and he made it very clear after a few visits, and tons of empty promises that wasn’t interested in knowing me, or being a parent. I did everything I could to try to change his mind, and show him I was “worthy of being loved” but ultimately, I ended up disappointed, depressed and devastated — almost taking my life in the process.
But, like everything in life, there was a lesson to be learned — and initially it wasn’t an easy one for me to comprehend. But, when I finally understood what I was being taught, my life changed dramatically.
No longer was I a victim. No longer did I view myself as unworthy, or powerless. Instead, the opposite happened, and I’d like to share some of my learnings with you in case you’re in a similar situation.
Here are 3 things you need to do if you’re in a one-sided relationship, and why they’re important:
1. Grow your love for yourself.
One-sided relationships are energy vampires that drain our self-worth and leave us gasping for air.
In my situation, I was so focused on trying to connect with my father and make him happy that I forgot about connecting with myself and making MYSELF happy. And when he rejected me, I rejected me too.
And I think many of us do this when we’re caught in the web of one-sided relationships. We neglect ourselves to appease someone else, and the reality is in a healthy relationship this would never be expected NOR allowed.
If you’re in a one-sided relationship right now, you need to find ways to grow your love for yourself.Start doing things that make YOU feel good, uplifted, inspired and happy. Stop focusing on the other person, and focus on yourself.
I promise you this: once you grow your love for yourself you won’t continue having relationships with people who don’t see your value.
2. You’re only a victim if you choose to be. Remember, you have free will.
For many of us, we end up in one-sided relationships because we don’t stand up for ourselves early on. And we also don’t speak up when it comes to OUR wants, needs and desires.
Instead, we give freely of our time and resources to ensure the other person is satisfied. Meanwhile, we’re left deprived and we end up picking through the trash for scraps.
How long do you let disrespect and neglect go? How long do you continue to bend over backwards for someone who wouldn’t bend at all for you?
It took me SIX years to let my dad go. During that time he continually bounced in and out of my life. One day we’d be talking and planning a visit, the next day he’d block me on Facebook and we wouldn’t speak for months. I cried myself a river of tears, and for what? For a man who never loved or valued me?
Once I realized it was always going to be me giving and him taking, it clicked and I was finally able to walk away and move on.
What will it take for you to do the same? Think about that question for a while, and let it simmer in your head.
Remember, you’re only a victim if you choose to be. No one is forcing you to go out of your way for anyone. You don’t have to maintain a relationship with someone who doesn’t value you. You can take your power back anytime you choose to do so.
3. Forgive the other person and let them go.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.” – Gandhi
Everyone has a story. Everyone has challenges. Everyone makes mistakes. And sometimes, when it comes to the person we’re in a one-sided relationship with we forget this. We forget that they’re only human.
Not everyone is going to give us what we want. Not everyone is going to measure up to who WE think they should be. People are going to be who they are and that’s their birthright. We have to let them be who they want to be without interfering or taking it personally.
And we MUST forgive them, even if they’ve hurt us. I know this isn’t easy to do, but without forgiveness you’ll always be a bird with clipped wings — unable to fly and reach your true potential.
For me, I wasn’t able to truly heal and love myself until I forgave my father. Before then, I was just a “powerless victim” consumed by my own anger and resentment. I blamed him for everything bad in my life, and I took no responsibility for any of it.
But you know what? He’s just a man. He’s an imperfect human being like all of us. And that doesn’t mean I agree with his decisions, but it does mean I’m not going to allow them to negatively impact MY life.
My father isn’t responsible for the quality of my life — I am. And the person you’re in a one-sided relationship with isn’t responsible for the quality of your life — you are.
Forgive for yourself. Forgiveness will free you from anger, negative thinking and toxic emotions. And once you’ve forgiven then let that person go. Release them from your life and soar to new heights where other free birds are flying…