Demand Reciprocity

Demand Reciprocity

“Forgive yourself for every single time you forgot your worth”

Reyna Biddy

As a recovering people pleaser, I must constantly remind myself that there is only one person in the world I don’t have a choice when it comes to being there for and that is my daughter. Everyone else? I can pick and choose as I please in what capacity (if any) I’d like to support, give, care for, or allow access to. At one point, I thought it was my duty to be there for everyone and meet their needs as best I could. This included my parents, brother, friends, church community and the Black community. I thought it was my job to save everyone. Be there for everyone. Lend a helping hand to everyone. No matter the cost.

That has left me resentful and on the verge of being bitter. I’ve often found myself being used, taken for granted, and taken advantage of. I look back with regret at all the times I said, “yes, sure. No problem”, when I should have said no. This is self-betrayal at its core. Your soul fragments when you say yes instead of your inherent desired no.

I’ve had to forgive myself for this betrayal and take full responsibility for the resentment and anger I feel, both toward myself and others. I must acknowledge that I made a choice. I allowed myself to be used. I perpetuated the narrative that I would be there no matter what. And I made no demands on anyone to give anything in exchange.

Now, I demand reciprocity. The definition of reciprocal is “given, felt, or done in return”. The definition of reciprocity is, “the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit”. If I am giving of myself, my time, my money, my knowledge, my love, or my presence, I must get something out of it. If I’m going to be in relationship with anyone, whether it’s romantic or not, I must be poured into as well. I’m not going to be the only one pouring.

I demand reciprocity. I expect others to not only take, but to give as well. This is an honoring of myself and my gifts. This is acknowledging my inherent worth and making an accurate assessment of my value. And it’s no longer free. The price of my presence is reciprocity.


Kathleen Nicole

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