Are You a Pushover?
I am…or at least, I was. Not anymore though.
“And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.”
— Steve Jobs
The last couple of weeks have seen the Universe trying to get me to open my eyes to this straggling piece of personality debris that I need to close the door on — it’s been throwing some rather extraordinary curve-balls my way.
I have had all sorts of people vying for my attention, skills and time — some art clients, some friends and others, total strangers.
Could You Bend Over Just a Little Bit More?
I’ve always been a people-pleaser — yes, you know the type. The ones who bend over backwards to help others sometimes sacrificing their own time and needs in the process.
I always thought this was a good trait but how wrong I was!
Doormats and Inhibitors
To be kind is a good trait. To help others out when you can is a good trait. To be used as a doormat is not a good trait. To help others when they can, themselves, do the job is inhibiting their personal growth and development.
Did you ever stop to think about that?
“To teach someone how to do something, once off, is empowering them to do it for themselves in the future. Doing it for them is stripping them of their power and making them reliant on you.”
I am the kind of person who thinks that if a job is worth doing it’s worth doing well. I’m also the kind of person who will do the entire job myself because it’s quicker than teaching someone else how to do it.
Are You Helping or Hindering?
You are not helping anyone out by doing it all yourself. It’s like that old fishing metaphor — teach a person how to fish rather than fishing for them.
To teach someone how to do something, once off, is empowering them to do it for themselves in the future. Doing it for them is stripping them of their power and making them reliant on you.
Starting to get the picture? So am I.
Demands and Etiquette
What really gets to me is the lack of politeness when some people ask for a favor. Have you ever had someone not use that simple word ‘please’? Or even better, you do the job and you don’t even get a ‘thanks’.
Here’s a rather ludicrous example of one of my tests this week:
A young man approached me on facebook to have a look at a quote he had made up himself. He wanted to know if it was any good.
I read it over. It was a typo/grammatical moosh-mash and didn’t make much sense at all. I assumed that English was not his mother tongue. The phrase was also way too long for the short sentence he was really trying to put across.
So — the fool that I was — corrected the grammar and spelling mistakes and rephrased the entire thing for him. When I wrote back to him he said, ‘Oh, I guess I should pay more attention to what I am doing. I was watching the telly when I wrote that.’ Not a ‘thank you’ in sight or a ‘sorry for wasting your time’.
Who’s to Blame? I Think You Might Have Guessed This One
I was so angry! I had spent good time on this thinking I was helping out someone who desperately wanted to be heard. The joke was on me.
Then it dawned on me — it wasn’t even his fault for wasting my time, it was mine.
I let him waste my time. I should have just told him to use his spell check but no, I had to go and rework the whole thing.
Life’s Lessons Learned
“Now, I give you fair warning, either you or your head must be off, and that in about half no time! Take your choice!” — The Queen (Alice in Wonderland)
So, the new me is rethinking my attitude towards being a sucker — thank you Universe!. I know that there are going to be loads of pushovers out there reading this, so my advice to you is:
- Discernment — can you ascertain if the person asking for your help is in genuine need of it or are they being lazy?
- Teaching — if this person really needs your help, are you going to do everything for them or are you going to teach them the ropes? It’s so vitally important that people learn how to do things themselves, being independent is a marvelous trait and gift.
- Wastrels — the last on this list is a warning. There are people out there who, either inadvertently or purposefully, will waste your time. Be a bloodhound and learn to sniff these people out quickly. You need to banter with this kind of person initially to find out where they stand. You can just ask a series of short sharp questions to discern how wafty they are or not. If you are feeling that their answers are not direct or resolute, leave them alone. They are time wasters. If they can’t figure out what they want, how are you going to? You aren’t, you are just going to get stuck in their net of indecision and end up with a headache and anger issues.
Grow a Pair!
You don’t have to be cruel or unkind when you stand up for yourself, your time and priorities — this is your life and you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to or have the time for.
I guarantee that they will get over your refusal. More importantly, the ones who cannot get over your decision are the ones you don’t need in your life anyway — think on that.
True friends and family members will understand and respect your space and choices.
“I don’t take crap from anyone, so that makes people think I’m rebellious. I’m not. I’m just not a pushover.” — Kat Dennings
I hope you come away from this blog with a more resolute stance. It is heavenly to practice kindness but it is damaging to let someone else take advantage of your goodness. Your job is to identify when the line has been crossed.
I have reworked this well-known adage to fit in with the theme of this blog (I think it works rather well)…”Use me once — shame on you. Use me twice — shame on me!”
Good luck. 🙂
Let me know of examples where you have stood your ground, you may be able to help someone else out in the process.
Other articles you may enjoy:
7 Things I Wish I Knew when I Was a Teenager
What Always Helps Me Out When I’m Stuck in ‘The Void’
8 Life Strategies That Playing Chess Has Taught Me
Live Like You Mean It — Live With Conviction!
5 Easy Steps to Get Your Life Back on Track
Thank you for sharing this with me today. This in #3 goes along with my situation, “You can just ask a series of short sharp questions to discern how wafty they are or not. If you are feeling that there answers are not direct or resolute, leave them alone. They are time wasters. If they can’t figure out what they want, how are you going to? You aren’t, you are just going to get stuck in their net of indecision and end up with a headache and anger issues.”
I don’t even think the person realized it but it hurt non the less and destroyed a wonderful friendship…. or wasn’t to wonderful if it went south so fast and bad and couldn’t be worked out because of exactly what that says.
You are really inspiring in your writings and I am learning a lot from you. Slowly but surely. Thank you.
Thank you, Kim. I’m so glad you are getting something out of my blurbs 😉
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This is so suited to my life, When I become assertive the Wastels ( seems to be more of them) get offensive mode then the mote mode for months because I have been a people pleaser for so long Then I feel worse,I know I shouldn’t. I’d love a earpiece and have someone to prompt me every word also take my conscience.
Glad you found something of benefit in the article 🙂
As an artist, I so struggle with this. I waiver from “you teach people how to treat you” to “be the example of what you want others to be”. I want others in this world to be kind and generous. In creative endeavors, people have no problem asking for your services, not realizing the amount of time it takes mentally and physically. Thank you for the reminder that the example I truly want to set… is to value yourself.
It’s a very hard thing to practice. Standing your ground is one of the most toughest challenges but it’s so necessary. Like I said in the article, kindness is a wonderful trait but I think we kind of ‘know’ when we are being pushed beyond the parameters of kindness. We’ve got to keep assessing our own energy reserves. It’s usually a tell-tale sign that someone is using you when you feel depleted after being with them. It’s an energy drain. Trust your gut instinct and never lose your ability to be generous, just add on an ability to be discerning.
Thanks for your comment, Tracy 🙂
Very good and necessary article for many who fall victims to this. I think I fell short of possibly taking advantage due to self-doubt and probably laziness. But a / your kick up the arse got me to challenge myself, leaving me with renewed confidence ‘I can do it’ and ‘so what if it is not perfect’ — mistakes are there to be made and learned from, not so?
Thanks for helping me and pushing me… Lucille x
Thanks, Lucille 🙂
Everyone needs a good kick up the arse once in a while…lol. But seriously, I am so very impressed at how much you have accomplished in such a small amount of time. It must feel very rewarding to know that you did it all by your self. This is definitely where building confidence and self-worth lie. C xxx