This is the fastest way to lose respect. It rings of neediness, even though we may think we are doing it to be helpful. Initially you may get accolades for being such a “good person”, so co-operative, great to have around, willing and able to do and be everything for everyone. It is unlikely, however, that this behaviour will take you from where you are to where you want to be. So let me say it again. Never allow someone to be your priority, while allowing yourself to be their option.
We can do this in our close relationships, with our life partners, husbands, wives, our mothers and fathers, sister and brothers or children, even with our close friends. We can also do it with our bosses and managers at work.
It is a particular problem for women, who often try to be all things to all people, the do-ers of all the emotional labour around.
So What Can You Do About It? Your Priorities are Important.
That doesn’t mean aggressively turning others into an option. It means bringing some shared respect, support and equality into the relationship. How do achieve this is a very common reason people seek me out for mentoring.
Next time you are asked or expected to drop everything that is important to you to do something for them, express regret and say that you cannot do it. Find some good and valid reason. The point is to make it clear by your action that you are not going to be there when they want something, when they are never there when you want something. Remind yourself that your priorities are important also.
If you are concerned about offending them and don’t want to do that, offer the help at a time that suits you. Put a priority on yourself sometimes.
If it is your life partner, husband or wife, then it is important to sit down and talk about what you feel because when this goes on for long periods of time it erodes the relationship. If you can’t do this alone get professional help.
We fall in love with one another’s individuality but when we give that up for the other person, we begin to lose what our partner loved about us in the first place. Eventually they become bored with us. Deep down they really don’t want a “Yes” person.
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