I’ve always prided myself on being low-maintenance, but it wasn’t until I stopped to actually evaluate my life that I realized I just didn’t love myself enough to believe that I deserved more or to demand it from the people I dated.
I felt guilty asking for more than I was offered. Whenever I tried to ask for what I wanted and deserved, it’d eat at me for days. I’d feel guilty merely thinking about it, convinced I was a terrible person. How could I possibly demand more, especially when it didn’t feel like I’d earned it? The truth is I was worried people would think I was overreaching or being too greedy, though I later realized this was just a projection of how I viewed myself, not the truth.
My background didn’t help much. How a person was raised usually determines how they show or receive love. My family wasn’t big on ego-building; in fact, they were vehemently opposed to lifting me up and preferred to criticize what I did wrong instead. I guess the crippling self-doubt never completely left me, so I always found myself second-guessing my every desire and action and I chose the easier route. By claiming I was low-maintenance, I didn’t have to face the possibility of outright rejection.
I always expected more, I just never got it because I didn’t demand it. I usually just sat back and tried to ignore my expectations even though I was drowning in them. I was hoping that people would see by themselves how great I was and how much more I deserved, and they’d try to meet my expectations without me ever expressing them. Obviously, this was not a healthy way to process emotions and this meant I never felt fulfilled in my relationships.
I was stuck in my comfort zone. I believed that not asking for too much was a safe way to avoid being disappointed when my expectations weren’t met or were simply ignored. If you don’t spend time dreaming or pretending to live in a fairytale, you don’t have to wake up to sad reality. I believed in this and I tried to abide by it because there were fewer chances of getting hurt. I was scared of what might happen if I dared to venture beyond the limits I’d set for myself.
I made it easy for people to take me for granted. When you don’t have standards or have very low ones, it gives people a reason to not treat you right. I found myself settling a lot and being jealous of other people who were getting what I wanted. Low-maintenance was just an excuse for people not to try at all because they expected me to be cool with whatever pathetic BS they pulled.
I stayed silent even on important issues. After too many years spent suppressing my feelings and hiding my desires away, it hit me that I wasn’t really low-maintenance, I just settled a lot and never actually went for what I wanted no matter how important it was to me. This created false impressions and a breeding ground for dishonesty.
It always left me feeling disappointed. There were so many days that I barely recognized myself. It was like I was a different person, living a lie, trying to hide the true version of myself inside. The distance between who I really was and the part of myself that wanted to be seen as low-maintenance left a lot to be desired. I constantly felt let down, like something was missing from my life and I just couldn’t be happy. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to ask for what I wanted.
I didn’t think my needs were valid enough. It was hard for me to ask for anything without feeling like I had to explain myself and justify why I wanted to be treated one way or another. The bottom line is that my needs and desires are valid just as they are and I don’t have to justify or prove anything to anyone. Thankfully, I know that now.
Being low-maintenance isn’t sexy, knowing my worth is. It’s OK to be easy to please, but being low-maintenance just isn’t sexy for me. I know what I want, I know how I want it, I know what I deserve, and I should be able to go after it unashamedly. If people aren’t willing to rise to the occasion, I shouldn’t have to put up with that under the guise of being laid-back. They can keep it moving; I’m bound to find someone who’d be happy meet my expectations without making me feel like they’re too much.
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