Genuinely caring about somebody a lot, does not guarantee they care about you equally (or at all) in return. Some people will never care about you regardless of what you do or say. So don’t assume somebody appreciates you just because you do nice things for them.
This is something that I unfortunately didn’t learn until well into adulthood – It may sound obvious when its spelled out, but when you’re in the actual situation its not always so clear. Most of my life I thought if I really cared about somebody a lot, then they must care about me to some degree in return. It always felt like that connection was so strong it had to be mutual, even if the obvious signs showed otherwise.
Despite certain people treating me like dirt and rarely reciprocating, I would do everything I could to make them happy. I would go out of my way to help them, say & do nice things for them, encourage them, etc..with the assumption they’d eventually show their appreciation for me being in their lives. I’d think “how could they not care about me when I make it so obvious how much I care about them? If I just keep trying they’ll come around”. This was especially true for people who maybe showed signs they cared at some point in the past, but weren’t anymore.
What I’ve learned over the years is that a lot of times that reciprocal connection is imagined. The amount you love somebody does not always affect how much they love you back. People can and will use you and your emotions. And just because somebody may have once cared about you in the past, doesn’t mean they still do now or ever will again in the future…theres often nothing you can do to change their feelings through any good deeds or kind words.
I’m not talking about classic “nice guy” syndrome. Not the crush who friend-zoned you that you’re desperately trying to win over by being nice when there should have never been any expectation of feelings to begin with…I’m talking about people who you genuinely feel a meaningful connection with. Whether that be friends, family, or romantic partners.
I wasted a lot of time on people expecting them to suddenly start reciprocating my feelings and actions. I’d be convinced I could win people over (or back over)…including bad friends and former relationships…if I was just nice enough to them and let my feelings be known. Looking back I should have cut my loses far sooner. I should have focused more on finding people who not only cared about me, but wanted to make me happy in return.
Its important not to assume somebody appreciates you just because you love them and do good things for them.You can waste a lot of time and energy focusing on people who will never really care no matter what you do.