We’ve all heard the saying, “Nice guys finish last.” There are people in the world who mistakenly see nice people as someone easily taken for granted, which is just flat out not true by the way. Being a nice person is not equivalent to being a doormat, nor does it mean we are weak.

Have you ever felt unappreciated by the significant people in your life? Taken for granted perhaps? Healthy relationships have a natural give and take — they are not off-balance or one-sided.

It is possible to be a nice person though and not be taken for granted. Here’s the key: It all depends on the reasons we are being nice. If we are looking for recognition, attention, love, or a star beside our name, then disappointment is headed our way. This happens anytime we expect something in return for the things we do for others.

No doubt, some people are takers, plain and simple. All they do is take, take, and take some more because they know certain individuals will always be there for them. The takers of the world are generally selfish as they only think of themselves and what they want, with no thought whatsoever about what they could perhaps do for someone else. Somehow, they don’t see they are taking others for granted; or perhaps they do, and simply just don’t care.

Some might say this is an easy fix, as those who are selfish just need to clean up their act and change their attitude. In a perfect world, that might happen. Unfortunately, our world is not perfect.

These individuals have been behaving selfishly for as long as they have known themselves and probably see no reason to change. Perhaps they have always been around people who wanted to do for them, so they continue to behave this way simply because it works.

I firmly believe we teach people how to treat us. I also believe people will always show us who they are. Some people are so eager to please they end up teaching loved ones to have little or no regard for them. Over time, they end up feeling taken for granted and unappreciated. If this sounds like you or someone you know, fear not. Just as people have learned to treat you poorly, they can also learn to treat you better. It all begins with recognizing our needs are not being met in these particular relationships.

We have no control over another person’s behavior. All we can control is our reaction to the behavior. This doesn’t mean we can’t be upset with it, however we do need to take a look at why we repeatedly allow ourselves to be treated badly.

Selfish people are basically insecure and feed off the insecurities of others. The takers of the world will most likely be attracted to the givers. Both are the way they are due to their own insecurities. The giver seeks love, recognition, or a need to be fulfilled. It’s the same for the taker. They are lacking in deep love, emotional security, and self-worth.

The situation generally goes something like this: The taker is good at making promises and then reneging on those promises. If they are called out, they will lash out, claiming your expectations are unrealistic. When they feel backed into a corner, they will lash out at the person closest to them, usually the giver. The giver is commonly heartbroken and left in a pool of tears.

Boundaries in any relationship are important. One of the first tell-tale signs we are being treated poorly is when significant others do not recognize or respect our boundaries. Perhaps you have inadvertently not set any boundaries by refusing to say no. This can be remedied by restoring the word no to your vocabulary. 

The lack of boundaries and lack of reciprocity both stem from a lack of respect, which goes hand-in-hand with self-respect. Someone with a high level of self-respect would not tolerate being treated poorly, therefore a good way to alleviate the problem is to improve our level of self-respect.

Learn to set boundaries. Learn to say no. Learn to expect kindness. Don’t be a doormat.

Disappointment is a part of life, and coming to terms with it is a process. When we can learn to deal with it constructively there is room for growth. Unfortunately however, the bigger the disappointment, the longer the process.

“When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen.” — Harley Davidson

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