The Other Side

Whenever I’ve thought about relationships in my life, it was always a never-ending reel about how other people could love me; I would know my Mother loved me if she just listened to my point of view and tried to understand where I was coming from, rather then make assumptions and try to give me advice all the time. I would know my friends loved me if they came to me and were honest about what I did to hurt them, rather than be given the silent treatment and let things sit there until they boiled over. I would know that a boy loved me if he took the time to get to know me rather than just put me in a category right away. 


Over the last five years, that attitude and mindset has undergone quite a change.This past year especially, when reality sort of hit me straight in the face and practically yelled It’s NOT just about YOU, ya know!!


There are a lot of times where I hear people complaining about how their friends mooch off of them and they don’t get anything in return, or the kinds of things they want their present or future significant others to do for them. It got me thinking about various kinds of relationships that people have in their lives; that regardless if it’s platonic or romantic, relationships have to involve some kind of giving as well as taking. 


I also began to look at the people in my own life, and unfortunately began to feel as though a lot of my own relationships are one-sided. That it’s easy to recall the millions of times that people have been there to take care of me; they’ve allowed me to gush (and occasionally brag) about the good times, rant and rave about the bad, and have given me advice whenever I needed it. It left me with the realization that so many people have done so much for me, but I personally felt like I haven’t done very much for them. Granted, this is a very selfish example, but its like I always confide in certain people for advice, but then I get shut out whenever they’re dealing with their own issues. 


In turn I questioned myself: Am I judgemental toward others without realizing it? Is it due to the fact that I’m an emotional person (and I have a bad habit of worrying too much)? Do they not trust me? Or maybe it’s just hard for them to trust anyone, regardless. 


Yet in the midst of that kind of insecurity, there is an even bigger (and perhaps more uncomfortable) question to be answered: Does a person want to help others because they truly care for them? Or is it just so for the sake of making yourself feel good? For example, if you see someone trip and fall, are you going to help them up because you really want to, or is it just so you don’t go about the rest of your day feeling guilty about not helping them up. 


Suffice to say, that “Wonder Woman” mindset that I frequently speak of tends to kick in to more than one gear; whenever I see people that I love suffering or going through a difficult time in their lives, I want to be able to do whatever I can to help. 


However, I often forget the reasons as to why I personally don’t always talk to even my friends and family members about what goes on in my life; sometimes people are scared to talk about it. It could be that they want to figure it out for themselves before going to anyone else. Or maybe they’re just waiting for someone to come to them. 


I worry about the fact that I’m not going to be around very much for my sister, who’s going into middle school, or my cousins that are both going into high school. I worry about not being able to be there to give advice, or offer words of support, encouragement, and/or comfort. 


The harsh reality of it is that sometimes no matter what you do, people will still make there own choices. One can raise a child in a church, a good family, or both and often times they’ll still make mistakes or do things that they shouldn’t. 


Even more, one cannot protect people they love from any kind of pain or hardship. They have to be able to face their own demons and fight their own battles, one way or the other. 


Ironic how my name means “Protector of mankind”


When I’ve come to care about someone romantically, the hardest part is not being able to fully express how much I care about them; in regards to a relationship, I don’t think about what I’d like a guy to do for me. I think about how I would like to have the ability and the opportunity to love someone with my whole heart and soul and to take care of them. When it comes to being single, it’s not about the lack of what can be given to me. It’s what I can give to someone else. 


 Come to think of it, that’s the reason why I hug people so tightly; when I practically squeeze the life out of a friend or family member, it’s personal way of saying “I love you, I care about you, and I’m always here for you.” And if they don’t know that by my verbal words, I hope they will know by my actions.


I guess I just miss being able to connect with people as a whole; I can’t remember the last time I actually sat down and had a genuine heart to heart with anyone. It seems like whenever I talk to someone, it’s the standard “hello, how are you? I’m fine” type of conversation. There is a huge part of me that constantly wants to ask “no, how are you really doing?” In a way, I’d like to be able forgo superficiality for a little bit. 


And I’m not saying that those kinds of things have to happen all the time. No one really wants to sit down day after day and talk about what’s going on in there lives; but I’m leaving for college in a few weeks, and I’d like to have the opportunity to let people to know that I care for them and that I’d like to stay in touch with them. 


I remember when I wrote a college essay about a close friend of mine that has made a world of difference in my life. After he read it, he commented that he hadn’t realized just how much he had done for me. 


With that, I’ve come to this: The greatest things we do in life, whether it be for others or for ourselves, will be often the things that tend to go unrecognized.

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