It is ingrained in our society that we should always be nice to others. Without a doubt. I distinctly remember the long banner that illustrated the “Golden Rule” in fancy, shiny, gold letters. It guided us to treat others the way we wanted to be treated. To me, this is such a prominent rule that applies to my life every single day. Even past Kindergarten, I think this can be applied to all adults in any situation. However, lately, I have been thinking more and wonder if following this rule whole-heartedly only hinders and hurts me in the end.

When I care for someone, I want to do anything I possibly can to help them in anyway. By no means am I sitting here boasting about how good of a friend I am. However, I do try my best. If they are in a slump, I attempt to boost up their spirits with a small pep talk to really show them how amazing they really are. If they are going through a tough situation, I try to sit there for as long as possible to listen and let them know that I am there for them. I want everyone I care about to know I will support them through whatever situation or personal crisis they are fighting through.

I try to give my all for the people I care about; however, recently, I feel taken advantage of. When I took a step back, the people who I listen to and help don’t do the same for me. It is never ever my expectation to want something in return for what I do for my friends. However, there are more than enough occasions when my friend does not ask me about my day or what issues I am having. Sometimes, I don’t feel like the people show enough to me that lets me know I have them when I am in need.

When that feeling arises, it is really sad. When you feel like you are giving them your all, but feel like a half empty cup, left hanging, not receiving the same genuine feeling of friendship. When situations like these hit me, I question if it’s me. Am I doing something wrong? Do I put myself in a position to be taken advantage of? However, after a year at college where I learned to be more true to myself and stick to my beliefs, I realized it is most definitely not me. I give everyone my best and I am not ashamed.

I like showing people I am a sincere person who gives the most to my friends. Therefore, in scenarios when I feel taken advantage of, I know to speak up and let them know. Most of the time, they don’t know they make me feel like that. If they change, they do care about you. If they don’t, reevaluate if they are meant to be in your life because you don’t deserve to be in that position. You don’t deserve to be friends with someone who will leave you feeling unappreciated for all that you do. Find people who will surprise you with random texts that say, “I appreciate you for all that you do.” These are the friends who see how amazing you are. They see how much you do for them and don’t take anything for granted. In the long run, these are the people who will make your lives happier and brighter. It is common in life to bump up with people who will degrade you or overlook all that you do. However, through these situations, learn the lesson of always sticking up for yourself. Taking care of yourself comes first and it always should. Once you realize this key point, your life can only change for the better – trust me, I know.