At the time I thought it was a very odd statement, but as I get older I think it might be true. I find myself in the same boat as many of my clients, with regard to being kind to myself and, in particular, learning to say "no." It goes against our conditioning, especially for women. We are raised to take care of others, to make people happy, to answer “yes” to every request for help, to drop whatever we are doing, because the needs of others are more important than our own.
But are they? Perhaps sometimes they are, in the case of an emergency or serious crisis in the life of a friend or loved one, or even a stranger, which warrants our immediate attention. More often, though, their problem is not that critical and indeed, the other person may simply be “trained” to expect us to drop everything at their whim, because we have done so in the past.
Some people will take advantage of our kindness and others are excessively needy. Sometimes such a relationship can become toxic to us, in which case, if the situation cannot be resolved, it may be best to walk away from that friendship. When it is a relative, it’s more difficult since they are going to be in our life regardless and we must learn how to handle them.
I need to learn how to set boundaries. In the New Year I resolve to learn to say “no” or at least, “not now; let’s find a time that will work for both of us.”
And I will encourage you to do the same.
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