I have recently come to the very important realization that I have wasted much of my precious life giving emotional vampires the benefit of doubt. Trying to convince people that I am worthy of the same love and support I offer up freely has unfortunately become somewhat second nature.

I’ve convinced myself (sometimes with their help) that I owe people my time, patience, and support while they figure out why they just can’t show up for me or support me in whatever ways I’ve asked. I’ve (also with their help) felt guilty for having needs outside their scope, for getting upset, or feeling disappointed.

I have blamed and shamed myself for needing more than people could give — marking myself selfish or needy for having unfair or unrealistic expectations. Instead of holding other people accountable for their part in our relationship, I have taken sole ownership of the downfalls. This has had me crawling into myself in ways I didn’t realize until recently.

I have apologized for my own human struggles and any discomfort my feelings have provoked in others who can’t or won’t understand them.

It has taken me this long to realize I’ve been in dangerous company.

We are all worthy of connections with people willing to support us, even if they can’t understand what we’re going through. We deserve people in our lives open to sitting with us in discomfort when they don’t have the right words or know what action to take.

We deserve giant gangs of people ready and willing to listen to and ask us what we need when we’re upset, scared, or unsure.

Maybe they won’t always say the right thing or support us immediately in the ways we want or need them to, but they will take the time to learn from us, through whatever process, how to be better friends to us in the future.

I am done settling for less than what I deserve. Even though I’m still struggling to understand what exactly that even means, I’m so grateful for true friendship that’s standing by.

I deserve ALL the things, and I’m ready to start acting like it.

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