When I first heard be who you want to meet I thought it meant that you should treat other people with love and respect if you want them to do the same for you. The problem with that perspective is that it’s making them the focus instead of me. Does it matter? Actually yes. So now I look at it differently; I think it means be as good to myself in every way as I want others to be to me. Charity begins at home.
If I don’t want people to dismiss me, then I need to stop dismissing myself. If I want people to listen to me without judgement, I must stop judging myself. If I don’t give myself unconditional love and make myself more important than anything else or anybody else, then other people don’t, either.
People who have low self esteem and entitlement are usually super-nice to everybody else, and they long desperately for somebody to be nice to them, to treat them with love and respect. But people walk all over them. It can be hard to understand. Surely if I give you everything I have you’ll love me back. The more they get dismissed, the harder they work to be loving and understanding.
The problem is that in a relationship like this you give a lot of empathy; you always listen and make your partner or friend feel good about themselves, so they come back for more. It’s easy to interpret that as they love me.
But they don’t really. Love isn’t one way. If they really love you they’ll give back to you. What actually happens is that as soon as you need something – even if it’s just to talk about yourself – they lose interest, or they say something like “oh everybody feels like that” which makes you feel stupid for even speaking up.
It leaves you feeling small and worthless. And very, very lonely. And probably also angry. You say hey, what about me? but you don’t say it to them. The thing is, when you don’t have any real self love and you’ve got low entitlement and self esteem, which you do if you’re in a relationship like that, people who need to be in control will be drawn to you. They’re usually satisfied in the relationship, because they get all the attention. And you keep giving them the message that it's okay to dismiss you and your needs. That's why they carry on doing it.
They won’t change, why should they? You’re the one who has to learn to stand up for yourself. You have to acknowledge that your entitlement and self esteem are lousy and you don’t really love and respect yourself. Some people get help from books, others find a therapist or a mentor who will give them unconditional love and teach them that they have immense value – as much value as anybody else in the world.
When that happens you begin to love and even to like yourself, it’s the most beautiful thing in the world. It’s like a miracle. You start taking your emotions and feelings seriously. You pay attention to what you need instead of always thinking about the other person.