I went to the dentist yesterday for my check up and had an interesting conversation with the hygenist. I told her about my guilt over not volunteering to let my neighbors dogs out for the second week in a row.
She told me her neighbor asked her to watch her animals for a week two dogs, three cats and a bird. She said she went over there three times a day and the dog messed all over the kitchen. She mopped floors, cleaned litter boxes and bird cages.
She went on to say that when she asked for the favor in return the women said no she didn't have time to watch animals. Even if it was only for one day. When the next trip came around she said no and then the women ask if she could pay her daughter to do it. She said no.
When we get roped into to doing things for people that don't appeciate it it is easy to blame it on them. But it is really our responsibility to say no. This is really hard to do. I use to get all my self-asteem from the idea that I am a good person. In my mind the more giving I am the better person I am.
When I pick my needs first I don't measure up to my own idea of what a nice person is. In reality if I am expecting something in return I am not really that giving. If I can't do something without a resentment then I shouldn't do it because I am not coming from the right place.
Everyone at sometime in their life has benefited from someone helping them without returning the favor. At some point we are all takers. There are people who are highly skilled at delegating anything they don't want to do to someone else. This is a great skill in business but in personal relationships people get used up and resentful.
I have become really good at not taking the bait. I can see I was always eager to please and just jumped at the opportunity to help. Even at my own expense. I volunteered for everything and wound up feeling overwhelmed and people got mad at me for not being able to meet my obligations.
It was all about me as usual. I wanted to believe that all that self-sacrificing showed just how nice a person I was. Because deep down I had to do something to make myself worthy of love and acceptance.
I have changed. The first time I said no it felt really awkward and I felt guilty. The world didn't come to an end people can always find another volunteer, just around the corner. In the program they use JADE. When you say no don't Justify, Argue Defend or Explain.
Before I commit to something I check my gut. I say yes in my head and if I get that ugh feeling in my stomach I say no. Now days feelings resentful for days is worse than that momentary guilt.
I was right about not taking care of the dogs for two weeks. It rained no-stop and every time I heard someone letting them out I felt total relief.