“I do a lot for other people, but I never feel as appreciated. I feel like I love too much!” – If this sounds like you, keep reading.
Today, we’re going to use an analogy to understand what’s going on. Why do some people experience more heartbreak and burnouts in relationships than others? And, hopefully, how to overcome it.
NOTE: This analogy is not limited to romantic relationships. But we’re using it in that context because it’ll be easier to get. You’ll see what I mean!
The Rice Analogy
Imagine you are a shopkeeper who sells rice.
Why rice, you ask? Because that’s my food of choice. I’m an Asian. Shall we proceed now?
One day, your crush comes up to you and asks for a small bag of rice. Trying to impress, you offer her/him a medium bag. FOR THE PRICE OF A SMALL BAG.
She walks off happy with your extra rice and heart.
She comes back after a week. This time, she brought money for the medium rice. You play it cool, you only give her a medium bag of rice like she asked. She walks off disappointed though, and you have a feeling she’s not coming back.
“God, just please bring her back!”
You’ll ‘up’ your game the next time, you promise.
She doesn’t come back for a couple of weeks, but when she finally does, she’s with a new guy. That’s it! You’ve got to make your best move now! You hand her the large bag of rice, for the price of a medium. New guy – 0, You – 1.
As for your finances, it’s a minus 1. But love conquers all, everyone knows that! Don’t be stingy! Money is an illusion anyway. Right?
Over time, you both begin to build a good relationship. You share a couple of laughs, have coffee and cute moments like all rice-couples probably do. You’re ‘more than friends’. Or so you’ve started to believe.
But one day, she’s back at your shop with the new guy. And now, you notice he’s got his arm around her. He isn’t a new guy anymore, he’s the guy. So in a moment of panic, you do what you do best. You place an irresistible offer.
You offer a medium bag of rice free with the large bag, only for the cost of a large. You’re broke anyway at this point, but if you can save this relationship, things will be alright.
She’s hesitant. “That’s too much”, she says. You insist that it’s for ‘old-time’s sake’. With a cordial nod, she takes the bags and they begin to walk away.
But what’s that? She hands the free bag to her guy. Gulp.
You just got LOVE-MUGGED.
By this point, you’ve invested a LOT of rice in this crush. And your crush has ‘used you’, ended up crush-ing you. And all that free-loading has cost you a huge loss. You are suffering, not just emotionally, but financially too.
One day, a wealthy customer comes up to your shop. Her angelic face is a reflection of her heart of gold. This could have been the love of your life, your partner in crime, the perfect gravy to your rice.
But all the stress finally caught up with you – you’re closing down.
Does any part of this sound familiar?
I know it’s a crude way to look at our emotional investment in other people. Unfortunately, we can’t see love like the undervalued rice. We can’t quantify it in bags, and put a price tag on it.
And thus, because of the mistreatment and taken-for-granted relationships, so many people spend their lives doing more than they need to for those who don’t need it, and thus don’t appreciate it.
“I will never trust/love/marry again”.
By the time life gives them a chance to form better relations, they’re emotionally depleted. Scarred for life! So many people lose their focus from work, go into depression and become victims of substance abuse.
So what’s the takeaway, and how can we overcome this?
Just because you can offer more rice, doesn’t mean the other person needs it.
In reality, the best way to check this is- if you stopped doing some of your out-of-the-way gestures, would this person even notice? Probably not.
Even if they did, it wouldn’t be a deal-breaker for them. The person that’s so used to being ‘spoiled’ might throw a couple of taunts and tantrums, but trust me – they’re not going anywhere! You’ll still be happy together. And imagine what you could do now, with all that spare time/effort!
Hang out more with the people that enjoy your rice.
Ever heard the saying, “marry someone that loves you, not someone that you love”? Of course you don’t have to enter a pretentious relationship where you don’t feel invested, but everyone deserves security.
Whether it’s a friend or romantic interest, if you are constantly admitting that this person is ‘out of your league’, there’s a chance that your rice is made for someone else.
So, don’t quit any relations. Just go spend more of your time (probably saved from doing less, from the point above) with people that make you feel more loved!
Don’t close your shop. Use the rice that’s left, for yourself. Take a break, and come back with a better brand.
Don’t become ‘cold-hearted’. Don’t become a raging alcoholic. And don’t change yourself!
Use solitude, traveling, new hobbies, new friendships – handle it maturely. Invest your rice, your love, in YOU. And the best thing about self-love is that unlike rice which requires more money and planning, self-love generates on its own overtime, within YOU.
Some Resources to Help You Heal Inside Out
Our relationships are a reflection, a mirror, an opportunity for us to see what we need to resolve within ourselves. Here are some resources to help you out with that.
- Understand the spiritual lessons behind annoying relationships.
- Learn to setup healthy boundaries around people you don’t gel well with.
- Understand what it means to love yourself enough, to really take care of your needs so that you’re not dependent on other people for that. Here’s a video for some inspiration.
- Also understand what relationships are genuinely not serving you, and learn how to let them go when the time comes. Here’s another video with some reflections.
- I also wanted to share this funny clip, of what would happen if someone was always there for us. Makes you think – what if that’s how people feel when they’re over-showered with love and they don’t have room to fall?
I hope a more serious topic was dissected for you through a little bit of humour and my silly stick men! This post is my dedication to every single person that’s loved a friend or romantic partner with all their heart, and still lost.
Don’t give up, it wasn’t really a loss. You just haven’t met your kind of people yet.
P.S. Here’s another stick-men analogy about Identity Crisis, check it out!
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