Loving unconditionally is one of the greatest gifts we can give another person. But what do you do when the love you are giving is not appreciated and leaves you feeling completely taken advantage of?
Receiving unconditional love is just as important as giving unconditional love; otherwise, what was once a beautiful gesture turns into disappointment, anger, and upset. If you’re feeling unappreciated in this way and think your partner does not know how to show unconditional love, it’s time to take your power back and balance your relationships (or move on to bigger and better things).
When you feel taken advantage of it is time to take an honest look at your relationship:
- Does your partner add to or take away from the relationship?
- Are you feeling underappreciated despite everything you put forth in the relationship?
- Are you picking up all the slack and/or making excuses for a loved one’s behavior?
- Do you feel like your own happiness comes second to your partner’s?
Perhaps you’re doing all the chores around the house or taking on all the financial responsibility, while your beloved is racking up debt. Either way, if you answered yes to any of the questions above, you need to reevaluate your relationship and stop being a doormat.
Your partner treats you exactly the way you allow them to. Look to yourself to meet your needs before attempting to meet the needs of others around you. When you give too much of yourself, you feel drained and taken advantage of by the people who should care for you.
Putting yourself first sends a signal to people around you that you respect yourself, and that your needs, wants, and desires are as important as theirs. Putting yourself first starts with saying “No” to unreasonable requests, especially when a loved one can do it for themselves. Stop letting yourself be used and abused for the sake of love.
No matter what the issue is, you have the power to say, “No.” You have the right to ask for and expect reciprocity from love relationships. Putting yourself first is loving yourself unconditionally. Feeling full of love allows you to give more love to others around you. But how do you get there? How do you learn how to show unconditional love to yourself?
1. Find out why you feel like you must earn love from others by overdoing it.
Look for patterns in your past behavior when you gave love, only for people to walk out of your life without even a thank you. Look inside of yourself and your past to find the answers.
2. Once you see a pattern, own it as your problem and put a stop to it.
Start loving yourself the way you want others to show love to you. Begin this self-love by creating little love rituals for yourself — buy yourself flowers, enjoy a relaxing bath with candles, or treat yourself to a small luxury on a regular basis.
3. Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty.
This is hard in the beginning but stick with it. You deserve to receive the level and quality of love that you put out there.
4. Write a list of affirmations and read them to yourself daily.
This can include affirmations such as, “My relationships are loving and balanced,” “My loved ones appreciate and value me,” or, “I give myself permission to receive love.”
5. Once you build yourself up, start asking for what you need from loved ones.
After a long day of doing all the laundry, ask your loved one to either wash or fold the clothes. Generally, once you express your need, your partner will respond positively.
If your partner responds otherwise, be even firmer with your partner about helping you. If your loved one refuses to start giving back, it’s clear they’re in the relationship for what they can get out of you, and will not change their behavior.
6. Reclaim your power back by taking action (consistently).
This may include voting some of these “users” off the island to make room for people who value your contribution.
Remember, unconditional love is giving love without condition and expectation. Therefore, what you may call unconditional love is really your way of earning love, praise, and respect from those you care about.
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “I hate the sin, but love the sinner.” The good news is that love, at its core, is unconditional, but relationships are not. You can keep the unconditional love flowing and still have respect and value in your relationships by setting clear boundaries for loved ones.
Don’t let anyone come to your table to eat without contributing to the meal. You are valuable and deserve the same love you give out. Once you really believe that, you will not settle for less.
Pour self-love into you. Love yourself first, take care of your wellbeing, and you will attract people in your life who reflect that.