"Never confuse being loved and needed with being used and wanted." -anonymous

The quote speaks volumes.

For the most part, we live in happiness because of the seeming respect and perhaps adulation we get from others.

We are in seventh heaven because people tell us how great our chicken pie was. or the fact that we're always the best dressed ones at parties.

We forget, though that those who tell us about our pies being the hit of the buffet often ask if we would bake them for their parties. Or that those who say our dresses are lovely would want to borrow them.

We do as they ask because being Mr. or Miss People Pleaser feels right and puts us in apparently coveted social position. it feels good, for once, to be cool and popular.

It just doesn't occur to us that we might actually be used as convenient stones to step on so that others can make their way forward.

Uh oh. So Ben might not be really so enamored of those pies after all. He just needs bulk cooking for a party!

So how do we know when we're being used as stepping stones?

When we're stepping stones, it's hard to describe the nature of the relationship you have with the person who's taking advantage of you. They seem to be friends whom we've helped out of sticky situations, yet it's hard to explain why they don't invite us along to a lunch gathering.

A person who uses us to step on might be evasive about communication. When we ask them for assistance in view of having helped them before or perceived friendship with them they seldom give a straight answer and often try to avoid us.

People who use others as stepping stones will want to talk about their achievements, but will seldom ask how we are. They forget that we were, perhaps, once a part of their success.

Ouch. A stepping stone isn't an enviable object.

We don't have to be such stones.

If we feel as though we are stepping stones, we've to consider why we feel that way.

Perhaps it's an uncanny knack of feeling obligated. Often,these obligations are self-imposed; we don't need to feel as though we've always got to be the ones to volunteer to get things done.

And then,it could be a gripping sense of obligation. Quit over-compensating by being a stone. We sometimes let others step all over us because we feel that we've failed them in some way. Not being a stone means overcoming the debt to society mentality and halting the tendency to over blame.

We may also feel that we've got to be stones in order to be deserving of the love of others. While it's true that respect and love are earned, we've to be aware of having given more than is warranted.

We could be stones who feel overly responsible.There comes a time when we have to stop feeling as though we need to be the stones responsible for everyone's smooth walk. Responsibility is shared;everyone should put in equal effort. Practice saying no.

Maybe we're too nice at the wrong times.Stepping stones are easily manipulated into being that way. Their niceness is easily seen by others as convenience. They are won over by flattery. it's good for us to block our ears to sweetened words.

Stepping stones have the right to feel good about themselves.

Every stepping stone deserves acknowledgement. Everyone needs it for the good they've done and it's right to expect it. While we've been often told to turn the other cheek, it often leaves us dissatisfied, so it's perfectly fine to stand our ground appropriately.Compromise when we should; it's never right to be selfish either.

We can be stepping stones, but be so for each other and not forgotten.

Photo Credit : Charles Drakew, CC-BY via Creative Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Charlesdrakew