People show us we matter in a variety of ways. When we truly matter to someone, they show up for us with comforting consistency. They answer our calls or texts, even in the middle of the night, and they do so with regularity. A busy person can still show you that you matter to them. How do I know this is possible? I know this because I am married to an extremely busy man. He also happens to travel a lot for his work, too. Regardless, at the end of the day, I know without a doubt that I matter to him because he shows up for me every day.
Maybe you can relate to those relationships in your life that are kind of on the fringe. Are these the people you can count on when the chips are down? Or, are they only around when they need something from you?
I am the worst at deciphering relationships. I am constantly second-guessing if I think someone would show up for me or not. I do have a few, close relationships that I have zero doubts about, but they are in the minority for me. I’m not complaining about this seemingly low number, in fact, I feel richly blessed by these few sacred relationships. My dilemma lies in the arena of basically all other people.
For instance, I’ll know someone in passing and then they make plans with me and the plans never materialize. Or, there might be someone else who has loads of time to tell me every last distressing detail of their life, but they seem to run out of time before the spotlight turns to me. Or, I’ll send a text out to someone and then I won’t get a response for days and days. Conversely, this person’s social media page is lit up with all their amazing posts of their action-packed lives. So, does that mean their phone stopped working and they are only able to post to social media via their laptop or tablet and therefore are unable to return my text? This seems highly unlikely to me.
But then, the doubt creeps in. Am I asking too much of the world? Are people’s lives so hard and so overwhelming they don’t have time for me? Am I being completely unreasonable? The answer is yes and no.
Life is HARD and we have to be compassionate and understanding that other people are going through STUFF. They may love us and care about us but do not in the moment have the capacity to let us know this. This is ok. What is not ok is if this lasts or becomes a pattern. Only you can determine what that looks like or feels like for you. I personally happen to like timely text responses. This doesn’t make me wrong or bad, this only makes me in touch with what my personal preferences are. How do I know that this is ok? I know this because my husband understands this about me and makes time to answer my texts. His job is large in scope. He has thousands of people counting on him yet he still makes time for me.
When you matter to someone, you matter.
Don’t settle for less than that.
Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent