Layaway Plan For Acceptance

You know those people who promise their love/affection/friendship conditionally?

“If your performance is to my standards then I will bless you with my [fill in the blank].”

I’m not talking about the times where trust is broken irrevocably or chronically. I’m talking about normal misunderstandings that become toxic relational liabilities.

I’m fairly naive when people promise that if I just try a little bit harder, I’ll reap the prize of acceptance. Unfortunately, the promise of future acceptance is often fool’s gold. It looks like it’s worth the effort from a distance but as you get close enough to actually inspect it, you realize it has no value whatsoever. What’s worse, you wasted time trying to earn something that was never going to be given to you, no matter how hard you tried.

Isn’t withholding love, friendship or even civility on the basis of trivial behavioral issues manipulation? Anecdotal evidence tells me yes, but perhaps I’m not looking at the whole picture. I usually want to be liked or accepted so badly that I waste years striving to be good enough, only to realize that the bar was intentionally set beyond my reach. I cringe to look back and discover my striving was entertainment for those I supposedly oppressed beyond what any decent person should have to tolerate. And to top it off, no explanation given as to why you were assigned this exercise in folly in the first place.

Either way, I’m beginning to realize that sometimes closed chapters and burned bridges benefit all parties involved. And that most of the time, when someone says “when you’re good enough, I’ll ____”, that it’s ok to just get up and walk away. I’ve hopefully learned my lesson: don’t do layaway plans for acceptance.

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