I work hard! I really do. I wear a lot of hats and have many goals that I plan to achieve. Many of you do too. Although we are strong and resilient, we still need each other. We need a good (better than good) support system to help us get through the times when we want to quit. You are there for everyone else. You run your errands and theirs. You bend over backwards and try to support them all. But where are they? When they finally give you a call and “dump”, do they stop to ask you how you are? “Do you need anything?” “How are you feeling?” Yeah, I know the answer to that, and still you continue to carry on in the “friendship” like they care about you as much as you care about them.
I took the time to go through a couple of months of therapy and in that time, one of the things that I learned was that we need to evaluate our relationships and call them what they are. When we have labels for people, the label carries along with it some expectations that we put on them so we have to be careful giving labels out too freely. I am not big on that, myself. I know that I have upset a few people when they call me friend or try to call out titles that they do not take the responsibility for or that I do not care to have. Now I am committed to calling people who and what they are with and to me. If they behave a certain way, I do not expect more than that. It helps me to keep the drama low and no hurt feelings.
I also try my best not to give anyone unsolicited advice. If you don’t ask me, I am not going to put my two cents into the pot. I am not a mean person or anything, I am actually a very kind person…that is part of the reason why I keep my advice to myself. Everyone says that we should help people, without condition, and in unexpected ways. I believe in that wholeheartedly. In fact, I constantly look for people to Bless everywhere I go whether it be to purchase their lunch, groceries, open a door or just lend them my ear if they strike up a random conversation. Random acts of kindness are good for the giver, the receiver, and the witnesses if there are any. There is another side to acts of kindness though. There is a balance of good and bad in a lot of things. I am definitely not saying that it is not good to help others, I just believe that we need to hesitate just a little bit and give it some thought/prayer sometimes. For me, I am putting limits on my giving of kindness because I find that the feeling that I want to have after the act is not what I was receiving. I’ll explain that one a little more….
- Some people just do not deserve your help. I have a problem telling people NO and it results in me being taken advantage of by more than a few individuals. This is something that I am “unlearning” and if you are doing it, you should to. You know who they are!!! They are the ones who call you and do the “dump” (put all of their stuff on you after you barely say hello on the phone then when they are done, they end the phone call) or people that invite you out just to “pick your brain” for information. You and I are very busy people! These outings are taking time from our careers, family, true friends, deadlines, and “me” time that we can be using to continue building up who we are… for free!! If your time is not valuable to them, do not share it with them.
- If you know they do not care about you, you should not make an investment in them. Make them pay for your time! (laughing- but I am serious). They can pay for the coffee, lunch, or whatever it is. I am thinking about bringing my Square with me for these types of meetings. (really laughing now…or am I?). Seriously, any knowledge that you have taken the time to obtain, costs you something, why not them? If you are going to be drained at the end of the meeting or phone call, rethink the whole thing.
- Remember to help yourself first! If helping them is going to take too much from you, do not do it! That’s it. Given the chance, “friends”, even family will exploit you if you allow them to. You cannot help everyone anyway so do yourself a favor and help you! If you are helping people and it is making you unhappy, it is wrong, and it has to change, ASAP. Being selfish in this case is not bad thing at all. I have no problem saying this, but I do have a problem following through with it.
- Stop helping when the help is not appreciated! I am going to be super transparent here and say this one is huge for me!!! I am always wanting to help people. They do not have to ask, I am there.. This has hurt me many times over and I am more than tired of it. I have given away hair services, household items, clothing and all. That is just my heart. The problem is when it is not appreciated like when it is time to pay full price for their services, their lunch or what have you. I have to pay my bills just like everyone else. I do not pressure people for money they owe me or when they short me on services, but then I am irritated. That is something that is changing. So do not be afraid to let people like this go, they have no problem moving on to the next person because they never cared about who you are, only what you do for them. GIRL BYE!
- Stop Helping when you cannot see it to the end. If you do not have time, skills, or resources to help, you should not make the promises to do so. I believe that it does more harm than good when you cannot see the job through, Just say no! If it is a relationship that you are particularly fond of, you may lose it when you miss the opportunity to help when you said that you would. Think it through before you offer your help.
Choosing to help someone can really change our lives…for the great or the bad. We have to be mindful of who we are helping and how we can help without taking anything big from ourselves, financially or otherwise. Helping the wrong person can put you in the position to miss helping the right person. Distractions are designed to put you in the position to miss blessings, for you and others.