I gulped nervously, rubbed my sweaty hands on my jeans, sighed and stared at my watch with an intention to make the time stop. Stop! Somebody stop the time, my kid must be getting upset sitting alone at school waiting for me. It had been 10 minutes past the time I usually pick him up, and I was still standing in the queue to deposit my uncle’s check.
Finally when I was about to leave to pick my son up, my uncle called me to run an errand for him. Which according to him was too important, to be put on hold for half an hour. I kept on stammering but I just could not bring myself to tell him that my son was more important to me than his stupid errand!
Humans are born with different personalities. Some are generally vocal and expressive, while others are quiet and gentle. Some are more giving than others and some are too lazy to even get their own glass of water. It’s human nature to bully the meek. Everyone finds a person who is weaker and more humble than they are, and is used to being taken advantage off.
It should be up to the weaker individual to ensure that they should not be used. This is something that people need to understand, there is a fine line between being kind and generous and being a weakling. There are a few things I want to share that I have learnt over time to make sure that I am not being taken for granted.
1.Give yourself importance
Know that your life is more important than anyone else’s life. You have to first determine what is important to you. One should not stop being a good and charitable person but needs to weigh the options and prioritize their tasks. First fulfil your own responsibilities and then step forward to help others.
2. Set your boundary
Prioritizing your life will help you set a boundary for yourself. That should help you stop others who are trying to cross over that line. A boyfriend taking advantage of you or an office colleague dumping his workload upon you is not acceptable. You should learn to fiercely protect your self.
3. Make time for yourself
If your friend calls and says, it’s urgent come over immediately. Make sure that you don’t always readily agree unless your friend is in a life threatening situation. Don’t say ‘aye’ when you so much as even hear your name whispered. Wait it out. If you want people to give you attention, then you need to stop giving them yours. Do some baking, ride a bicycle, plant flowers, take out time to do what makes you happy. Schedule your tasks and be available for yourself first.
4. Learn to say the word ‘NO’
For people with a giving nature, it is very hard to inculcate the word “no” in their vocabulary. You have to understand that there are instances where you have to politely turn down work orders given to you.
There are only 24 hours in a day; you have only two hands and one mind; don’t over burden yourself. Slowly and gradually people will understand that you can say no. It may come as a shock to them initially; some may even hold grudges against you and be upset with you. Be strong and stand tall. Don’t let them whimper and force you into giving in. They will never stop taking you for granted till you learn to say no.
5. Walk off if it hurts
You can’t choose when and how you will get hurt, but you can choose who will hurt you. If giving gets severe to a point that it hurts – you need to let go. You may be a superwoman, the invincible but you need to choose for whom you are willing to be supernatural for. Keep those who love you and care for you, near and learn to walk off.
6. Don’t isolate yourself
Don’t stop being who you are – the generous, loving, humble and kind. You just need to learn when to put your foot down. If you haven’t slept in few nights because of your ailing child and your aunt wants you to bake a dish; politely tell her that you shall do it for her some other time. To maintain sanity, you have to be selfish sometimes.
Stay reachable, stay in touch but don’t take the requests people make so seriously that you forget about yourself. The responsibility of the entire world does not lie on your shoulder. But remember ‘The One’ shall reward you in every way, for the extra mile that you go for others.
All of these things might be really hard for you to do at first, and people will not readily accept your attitude. Trust me with time you will be glad that you put your foot down after all. Best of luck!
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