I have a question for you: if you were craving nachos, would you go to a Chinese restaurant? My guess is your answer is no because you know that in a Chinese restaurant, they don’t serve nachos. In fact they would probably not even have the ingredients to make them even if you asked. If you really wanted nachos, you would go somewhere where they serve them to ensure that you could get what you were craving, right?
Now think about where you go when you are craving support, encouragement, guidance, unbiased advice, loving feedback or acknowledgment. Do you go to people who are consistently able to dish out what you are hungry for? Or do you find yourself going to people who do not have what you need on their menu so you find yourself consistently discouraged and disappointed?
Most of the time, we know what we are craving when we reach out to someone else. It is useful to be honest with ourselves as to whether or not that person will be able to satiate us. If someone in your life has consistently reacted and responded to you in a way that has not satiated your needs, chances are they do not have the ingredients to do so. Continuing to go to that person hoping that someday what you are hungry for appears on their menu is like continuing to walk into a Chinese restaurant when you want nachos. You may get fed, but not with what you truly wanted to eat.
If you want to be validated and acknowledged, do not go to someone who traditionally dishes out criticism. If you are craving to be listened to, do not go to someone who loves to serve up advice. If you are hungry for some positivity and upliftment, do not bother reaching out to someone who tends to see the glass half empty.
This can be especially challenging when you really want a significant person in your life like a parent or romantic partner to be able to give you what you desire from them. However, sometimes they just don’t have the ingredients to do so. It does not make them wrong; it just makes them who they are so enjoy what they do have to offer you. Our relationships with others improve when we just accept what someone can and cannot dish out. (Tweet-worthy!)
It is an act of self-love to be responsible and honest about how we get our needs met rather than expecting them to be met. There are MANY people in your life who are totally capable of dishing out the support, encouragement, guidance, unbiased advice, loving feedback or acknowledgment that you are craving. But in order to consume it, you have to stop going to the people who do not have it on their menu.
Christine Hassler is an author, speaker, life coach and spiritual counselor dedicated to helping people answer the questions who am I, what do I want and how do I get it? You can check out her website here.
p.s. Join me for my most intense (in the best kind of way) workshop I teach each year. At Chrysalis I teach the tools that put me on my spiritual and professional path. Details here.