I am sure that many of you have been asked, “Can you do me a favour?” Harmless right? You might have been the person asking this yourself. In most cases, it is a quicky, easy request that you probably would have done anyway. However, what if it is something more than you thought? This is one of the hardest favours to fulfill. You don’t want anyone to be offended. You want to please others and make sure there is peace. The older I get, the more I realize that saying “no” is something that I won’t feel bad about saying. Why?
I am not sure if you had the same upbringing as I had, but “no” was not in our vocabulary. We would impinge on our own family time in order to make other people happy. My mother’s theory was that God would pay us in heaven later. I still knew that, in many ways, she wanted praise and accolades from others. That took me a long time to understand. She seemed to be very helpful, but like many others, we do want to be thanked and appreciated for what we have done. It makes us feel better as human beings; being helpful to others. My perspective on this subject has changed dramatically over the years.
I always loved helping people. It got so bad that I would give up my time and the daily living of my life in order to accommodate the wishes of others. I dated a hypochondriac that would have me with him in the emergency room at least three times a week for illnesses that never existed. All he wanted was attention. It was actually my boss at the time, who pointed it out to me. I thought I was being helpful and a good girlfriend, where my boss pointed out that he was just using illness as an excuse to keep me from being at work and giving him (the unemployed) more attention. The relationship ended. That was in my early 20s. I dated many “fixer-uppers”, hoping to save the world one person at a time, and then finally realized that I couldn’t fix people. I could only take care of myself and make myself happy. Enter Wiseguy.
My hubby of 20 years was (and is) always supportive of me. I had given up on finding someone to spend the rest of my life with. One night I finally asked the heavens / God / the universe / all other gods…”I just want to meet someone who can make me laugh. I want someone to have my weird sense of humour.” Then, I decided that I would give up. There was no one on the universe like that. Again…enter Wiseguy.
I met my funny mate. I met the man who would make me laugh. I met the man who never demeaned me or made me feel stupid. This man always elevated me and backed me in whatever I wanted to do. Feminism? Yes…he always wanted me to be me and pushed me to believe in myself. Now THAT my friends is what a true mate and friend is like.
Now, you many not have found your perfect match, or you may be working on the relationship you are in…but always remember that in order for any relationship to work, you need to love yourself first. It may sound corny or weird, as we have been taught to love others, but loving yourself and taking time for yourself let’s you be more loving to others.
And…when people ask for favours, remember, in most cases, it is a one way street. The “favour” you do does not mean that they owe you anything back. You do it out of the kindness of your heart. Do NOT expect anything in return. If you do, you might be disappointed. This is the old lady of wisdom speaking now. I have done many favours for many people. I have received some thanks, but in most cases it ends up becoming “Thanks, but what have you done for me lately.” In other cases it becomes expected and routine that you will be there so it’s not appreciated. Be mentally and emotionally prepared for that. If you feel that you need the accolades and believe you won’t get them, then feel free to take a deep breath in, exhale out, and kindly say, “NO.” It is one of the hardest things to say, but saying YES all the time and being miserable about it is not good or right for you either.
Old lady lesson (yes, I am considering myself an old lady and I’m fantastically proud of it):
- YOU CAN SAY NO! It hurts at first, but it’s not the worst.
P.S. Hmmmmm, sounds like a good slogan for a t-shirt
P.P.S. Double Hmmmm…anyone out there is the t-shirt industry…”Can you do me a favour?”