Why Do We Accept The Bare Minimum?

Is it because we feel accepting the bare minimum is better than confronting that individual?

Years ago in a discussion with a friend, I was asked a question that has stayed with me for years. "Why do we accept the bare minimum from people and think it's okay to let that happen?" Do we accept it because we don't value ourselves enough or are we so used to receiving so little that we've long consented to let people do so little for us?

I didn't have an answer for her at the time but reflecting over the years since, I believe we accept the bare minimum because we don't know how to ask for more. We feel asking for more is too much for the other person to handle...or is it?

Recently I saw a quote that initially sparked the idea for this article and it went, "You have to meet people where they are, and sometimes you have to leave them there." If people start a relationship or partnership by putting little effort into it, not valuing your time, or taking advantage of your silence, then that should be the moment you realize they're never going to change. So instead of wasting your time with these so-called "friends" or loved ones, realize that you can do better, not just for yourself but the people that will come next in your life.

There was a former roommate of mine that would consistently give the littlest of efforts to help around the house. We shared a bathroom - not my first or last time to share with another female - and a majority of the time the cleaning tasks fell to me. It was becoming such an issue that it was starting to stress me out. Confronting people has never been an enjoyable event for me and it's due to avoiding those confrontations as much as possible.

But here I was letting this drawn-out issue affect me mentally, complaining to my friends about her, and yet not taking any action to absolve it. It even got to the point where I started making excuses for her in my head, "She's busy or "I can take her turn and clean this week, it's not a problem."

When I started making excuses for another persons' lack of initiative and thought it was stupid to ask for more, is when I knew it was time to confront them. It should've never gotten to the point where asking for more felt like a problem. I then confronted her about the issue and after proclaiming she would do more, naturally thought this would be the end of our conflict, but I was wrong.

Instead what happened was the same cycle as before, which is nothing changed. After months of this back-and-forth, multiple conversations about the same issue, I realized that no matter the many attempts to get her help more around the apartment, it was never going to happen.

I spent an excruciatingly long time accepting her behavior and then trying to change those habits because I thought it was my job. We were both grown adults living together as roommates, it wasn't my job to babysit her and make sure she does her part as a roommate. 

Should I have confronted her about the issue when it first occurred? Absolutely. The signs were there at the beginning of what kind of roommate she would be, but I brushed it aside thinking it was just a one-time occurrence. She quite literally gave me the bare minimum for two years and I stupidly thought I could change that.

I could've saved myself and our other roommate all this drama, but I learned something valuable in all of this. It was a life lesson in learning that people show you what kind of person they are, and it's up to you whether to put up with it or not. 

The moral of the story is, realize that people rarely change and you need to accept that and happily move along. If they are giving the bare minimum in the then back away immediately. Or those people will take more than just your time away from you; they'll take away your self-worth.

Image Source: Unsplash
Fan of literary fiction novels, green tea, roller skating, and watching dog videos.

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