It just means I had to bring something of value beyond that to exchange with others - especially when I wanted something of value from them too! Either way, it is trading effort and value for nothing more than an ego-boost.
They only hold meaning when they are backed up by actual loving and caring BEHAVIOR. Do that and you will have satisfying relationships, with desirable people, and experience real loving interactions. I agree completely with the idea that ultimately we must be responsible for ourselves, although this seems to be an eroding value in our society. I'm glad that my getting personal has resonated with you.
In other words, if they are able, many people don't trade fair. I thought my lovers would be grateful for my time and social skills. So, if I didn't care about myself, then really why should anyone else? We traded our tangible value and concrete services in a relationship for nothing more than "feel goods" and validation.
I thought my care and concern would be reciprocated without asking. Here again, many people get bitter and distrustful of the opposite sex. But, ALL people don't deserve to be put in that category. If I let "bad people" take advantage of me, then I was partially to blame. When you are dependent on the approval of others to feel good, that seems like a fair trade.
I learned to make myself feel good, so I wasn't emotionally needy and dependent. So, I know, from both education and experience, that it works. If you want a good relationship, then become a valuable person.
I learned to trade and exchange with a partner as equals, for the things that actually met my real physical and psychological needs. If you can't trade them in for reciprocity and effort from a partner at a later date, then you've simply been shined on, conned, and validated. I don't expect everyone to understand or agree with this perspective. It certainly won't appear politically correct, new-age loving, or kind to myself. Learn to set boundaries, negotiate, and make others trade fairly with you to meet both your needs.