A Conundrum

I wonder if some of the things we hear throughout our lives that are supposed to make us better human beings are what actually screw us up.

For instance, "You should treat other people like you want to be treated."

Oh yeah? What if you treat other people the way you would like to be treated and they don't treat you back the same way? What then, old wise one? What then?

I've been struggling for awhile with just that. At what point do you decide to cut your losses and move on and just, well, give up?

A friend argues that if they treat you badly, you should treat them back the same way. But, where does that circle of toxicity end? If I suppose that they're treating me the way that they want me to treat them and I do it, can't I also suppose that my actions would imply that is the way that I would like them to treat me? It's a conundrum. A conundrum that is keeping me awake late at night.

Relationships, whether it be friend, family, neighborly, romantic or otherwise, are a two-way street. So what do you do when it's a one-way street? Don't get me wrong. The one-way street is most excellent if it's traveling your way. Therein lies the rub. Some people don't stop to think about whether they're giving back to those who care about them. They just take. And then they take some more. The street is going their way and they're as happy as a dog rolling in a pile of cow manure. They stink but they're happy as hell.

If we're honest, we can all sit down and think of someone we give much to and get little in return. We can also sit down and think of someone who gives us much and we give little to in return. All of us are guilty of taking more than we give in some relationships. I suppose it's just human nature.

I'm stopping these days to think of about these things a little more. To wonder and ponder just when is the appropriate time to walk away from someone you truly care for but you're just not breaking even on the relationship give and take -- ever.

Recently, I had a conversation with someone. "I'm [his/her] friend, no doubt," I said. I'm always there to listen to the latest crisis, to offer a helping hand, to offer sympathy and support, to be a personal cheerleader. "But, [he/she] isn't my friend. [He's/She's] never there when I need someone to talk to."

Being on the neglected end of a relationship of any sort hurts. It makes you mad. It breaks your heart. It wounds your soul.

It adds another brick to a person's emotional wall.

But is walking away from someone you truly care for an option? Can we do it? Can we break that cycle?

I read a quote today that really touched me deep down inside where there aren't any lights.
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” – Albert Schweitzer

I agree we should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. They are gems we find while mining through life.

I just wish it was easier to toss aside the rocks we find while mining through life. They weigh us down and give us false hope. I'm making a vow to concentrate on holding those who rekindle my inner spirit close and trying to offer the same in return.

And, I'm going to attempt (yes, attempt) to start easing those who cause my inner fire to weaken or even seek to extinguish it to the wayside. If someone I cared about told me that I was weakening that essential fire that burns within them, I'd immediately take myself out of their lives. I would. I have. I'd do it again.

But if you think being taken for granted by people you care about hurts, try living your life without them. It hurts even worse.

As I said. A conundrum. A real conundrum.

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  1. Grasshopper, you have put into words exactly how I feel about some of my friends and family. It hurts either way.

  2. I once had to tell a guy that I had hung out with for years that it was time to hang it up. It was hard but it made life better.

  3. Well said, Stephanie. There are times when continuing enables one while it drags down the other, and both lose.