What’s In It For Me? The Taboo Question You Should Be Asking.

What’s In It For Me? It’s the question in relationships we’re told not to ask. We’re typically more encouraged to be givers than receivers and if we focus on our own wants or needs we are scolded for being selfish. While there’s certainly a time and place for benevolence and servitude, we shouldn’t be praising generations of unsatisfied martyrs either. There should be a give and take and you’re entitled to ask this question.

Are your relationships unbalanced? Self sacrificing? Are you doing all the work? Are you being selective and specific with the person or people closest to you? 

Knowing that many of our own personal issues will show up in the reflection of our friendships and relationships, it’s always important to look at our connections as a barometer of insight into ourselves.

It’s an an easy trap to fall into where we’re lugging around a relationship like dragging a dead body wrapped up in carpet. It’s heavy, draining, ends in regret. I’ve been there – wasting time waiting on the wrong person to catch up – waiting for someone I’ve outgrown to grow up – waiting for love and acceptance from people that merely tolerated me. It’s grossly toxic. And it changed when I started asking the right question.

At some point you have to be able to axe the taboo and say  “What’s In It For Me?”.

Knowing that we are wired for connection, to be in relationship with others in a healthy way – why would we continue to stay in relationships that don’t provide us any value? It’s not selfish to wonder – it’s ludicrous to not ask and continue to drag dead bodies around.

We are attracted to people for a reason – we meet them and are drawn to them with multiple factors in play. They could have qualities that are the same as  ones we value in ourselves, they could be attractive because they have qualities we lack, but desire, and they could have qualities that are familiar – from our earlier experiences. However we encounter people and whatever draws us into their lives – and them into ours – there is an evolution of friendship that happens as we get to know new people. Finding the balance in allowing those connections to develop organically while at the same time being able to manage an objective perspective will allow you to identify red flags, set boundaries, and ultimately determine how close into the circle each person gets and where they should stay.

A healthy relationship has an innate sense of reciprocity, mutual benefit and value, and adds to your life and your own growth. 

When we notice imbalance we need to have the awareness to take a step back and assess things. Relationships ebb and flow and come and go. We flourish in some for a long period of time and in others we outgrow them or get left behind.

It is much less about finding permanency and much more about finding health and balance and recognizing dysfunction.

The false guilt of asking What’s In It for Me? and obligated loyalty reinforces an underlying philosophy that we don’t get to evolve – that we get what we get and need to make the best of it and maybe that we don’t deserve any better. If this is a chronic position for you it’s time to start asking why are you in relationships that don’t add value to your life? Why would we continue in relationships that are not reciprocal where both people are reaping benefits from knowing the other? What might you be afraid of in asking the question of what’s in it for you?

Let’s ditch the taboo. It’s stupid and reinforces codependency.

You are not here to be the sole provider in any relationship of support, encouragement, entertainment, recreation, and direction. There is no medal for the martyr role of being a people pleaser. Relationships in our lives are meant to be a give and take that enriches, not drains. No scorecards, no passive aggressive jabs at the other person for not pulling their weight in contribution – if you’re in relationships that are not balanced and healthy, it’s because you haven’t asked this question and you’re allowing it and have lost the right to complain until you take action and begin to work on this. This might require some work in session on developing your self worth, building confidence, breaking old patterns, acknowledging your attachment style, and ultimately learning how to love yourself enough to set boundaries. We always go to the root of these issues – this pattern for you might simply be a symptom, so let’s get at it.

Know what you value and bring awareness to it – consciously consider what you love in others and the kind of friendships you really want.

Don’t accept just what has fallen into your life or what you have attracted in the past.

Be selective and specific.

If you love to laugh and are playful, if you value intelligence and debate, if you want bold honesty and candor – whatever your values are – seek people that align with those. No one will be everything so be flexible and have grace for people being human, but if you aren’t really aware of what you need and value in your relationships you are missing out on the entire point of connections. If your relationships aren’t adding something that you value to your life, you’re missing out.

If you’re doing all the work – it’s not a relationship, it’s a project.

Your only job and your only project should be to find the freedom to be the fullest expression of yourself. To allow everything you are be seen. Don’t hold back. The right people will gravitate to you and embrace you just as you are. The wrong ones will find you too much or too little or want to pick you apart. Go where you are celebrated and not tolerated. Accepted and not used.

Let you actions and character speak for itself and let go of the need for attention or external validation that you seek. Allow that to come genuinely and not because you manipulated for it.

The right people will see you and get you and the relationships will be in balance and when there’s no scorekeeping involved you really get the opportunity to learn, grown, and develop the depth we are all craving against the superficial and unsatisfying relationships we have accumulated. If there’s nothing in it for you, start creating some distance and identifying what it is you need and make room for it in your life.

Life is short and unpredictable – and we’re all just walking each other home.

Truly. Make sure the people that you have close to you are worthy of the journey and that you are worthy of theirs.  Take this seriously. It can radically change your experience here.

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