The Insignificant Other

Clark GaitherWe speak of a significant other(s), substitute words for a spouse, a lover, a boyfriend or girlfriend. These are special people in our lives who hold significance or special meaning to us. They are our intimate partners in life.

We know our significant others very well. We can call them by name. They are never very far away. Wherever we go we hold them close, physically or in our thoughts.

But, I don’t like the phrase significant other. It explicitly implies that there are others that are of insignificance to us. What of the insignificant others. Who might they be? Are they everyone else?

Are our non-significant others really insignificant? Some may actually hold more power over us, more influence and be more vital to us than those we would consider to be our most significant others.

There is one person in your life in particular you should never allow to become insignificant. I’m talking about you, yourself. You should never become the insignificant other in your own eyes. Yet, many people make themselves exactly that.

I see people pour so much of themselves into others, especially their significant others, that there seems to be nothing left for themselves. They scramble to make sure everyone around them is okay before the check to see if they are okay. They have made themselves insignificant by comparison to ones they care about most. They have made themselves virtual or invisible. This is never a good situation.

I was guilty of this in a marriage that failed. I poured too much of myself into a relationship until there was little left for me. I kept telling myself that doing more for my partner was required for a healthy marriage. Turns out, it was the least healthy option for me and our marriage.

My identity became too closely attached to hers. I had made myself insignificant which diminished me in the eyes of my significant other. Our significant others will always notice when we make ourselves insignificant.

I made myself insignificant when I always deferred to her opinion because I felt it was more important for her to have the final say, even if I didn’t like the decision. I made myself insignificant when I asked and did whatever she wanted to do because I thought it would make her happy instead of considering my own happiness. I made myself insignificant when I saw to her wants and needs without much regard for my own.

You would think that someone would be happy to be held in such high regard. Ultimately, they will grow to resent self-imposed insignificance in someone they consider their significant other.

No one who will touch your life is insignificant. Whatever you do, don’t make yourself insignificant. Your opinion counts. You matter.  You make a difference in the lives of others. Make a difference in your own life too.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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