I am someone who enjoys giving to others and taking care of people. There have been countless…well literally hundreds of times in which people I know (mainly friends) ask me for money, a place to stay, advice, materialistic gifts and food. And I willing give because I enjoy it.
I love seeing others happy and it makes me feel good to give to others when they are in need. However I started noticing a trend, it got to be too often in which people started asking me for things. So much so, that I started to sacrifice my own needs and my own happiness. I started staying up late at night and pulling all nighters to be a lending ear to hear issues and share my advice when I knew I had work in the morning. I started neglecting bills and my bank account shot down in the negative because I would give people money or help them with groceries when they needed it. Some of them promised to pay me back before my bills were due, but most of the time this didn’t happen.
Some of these friends were the only ones I could hang out with when I needed a break from work because their schedules allowed it…because…well, they didn’t work! Or worked here and there. They were also the only ones who seemed to be the most loyal in my life. (I wonder why?) However they were unable to pay for the going out fees of eating, drinking, bowling, karaoke, and other fun. So I paid this for them too. Needless to say, I was a doormat and let others walk all over me.
The rationale I would give myself is, well when I give it will come back to me many times over. And although in all cases it did later on down the road, in the short term I started worrying about myself and my resources and believing I didn’t have enough resources to help take care of myself. Needless to say, my over giving was getting me into trouble.
Then one day, I woke up and said, enough is enough! I need to love myself. So, I am done giving lavishly. I need to take care of my own self first and do what I need to do to make sure my needs are taken care of before I do any more giving. And that is what I did. I simply and plainly used common sense to stop myself in my tracks before it got out of control because I also realized something; the more money I would make, the more lavishly I would give and still feel like I never had enough resources for myself. (Come on Kadeem! Get it together!)
So what is the lesson here for me that I can perhaps impart to you? Give with your heart, but rationally use your mind. Take care of yourself first before you take care of others. Although it is super important to give, please remember that if you don’t fill yourself up, you can’t fill up others.
There is also a secondary lesson in this that I learned and started doing: Yes, you can say “no”. The “disease to please” prevents us from saying “no” or the desire to be nice and liked by others makes us continuously say “yes” even though deep down we are screaming “no”!
So if this post resonates with you and you are seeing yourself currently where I once was, stop. Stop this incessant giving now! Stop trying to live for others and live for yourself.
Do you boo! Live your life. Make your moves. In the end (and the beginning) you will have to live with yourself knowing you made the right choices to lead the life you know you deserve.
So go ahead. Say no! And give, but do so within your means.