Shayne on You: It's OK to say no

Dear Maggie,

Iíve always been a very generous person. I give a lot of my time to other members of my family as well as to my good friends. For example, I spent days helping my sister pack for a recent move. I babysit anytime anyone asks, and believe me, itís often. I even dog sit for one brother all the time. I never say no. And I never ask for help myself.

Well, just last week I had a rough time for a change. My car broke down, and I needed to borrow one for an important appointment. I asked all my friends, and all my siblings, and everyone had an excuse for not being able to lend me their car.

Well, Iíve had it. Iím tired of doing all the giving and never getting anything back. Iím going to start saying no from now on. Every time anyone asks me for any favors, Iím going to make up some lame reason to refuse them, and if they call me on it, Iíll just say, ďI only do favors for those who appreciate them.Ē And thatís fine. But I just donít understand this, and I want to.

Why do you think people are so selfish when it comes to those who do the most for them?



Dear Unappreciated,

One of the harder things to appreciate in life is why other people treat us the way they do. Itís even harder to accept, much less understand, that everything that comes to us was created by us, attracted by us, and is 100% our doing.

So, people are asking a lot of you and giving nothing back. Why do you think you would create that situation in your life?

Sometimes, it makes us feel powerful if we see ourselves as indispensable. Sometimes we just like feeling needed. Sometimes we think maybe weíre not worthy of being loved just for who we are, so we give way more than we should to others, to make them love us. Itís almost always subconscious. We donít do this on purpose. But we are doing it, somewhere deep down, subtly.

The solution is just as simple as the reason. And itís the same solution that you would apply to any other problem or question. Do what feels best.

If you feel itís right to say yes to a request, but you say no out of anger, youíre going to feel badly. If you feel taken advantage of by saying yes, and say yes anyway, youíre going to feel badly. Figure out what you want to do, what would feel best to you, and then do that.

Remember too, that when you constantly do things for others that they ought to be able to do for themselves, you are, in effect, sending the message that you donít think they can do it for themselves. And they might believe you.

Itíll take time now, to change the dynamics of these relationships, but obviously, they have to change, if theyíre making you feel this much anger and resentment.

Hereís my suggestion. Take it only if it feels really right to you. You might think up a better one of your own. The next time someone asks you for a favor, say, ďSure Iíll do that for you, IF you will do this for me.Ē And then ask for a favor in return, and see what they say.

You might be very surprised at how many of your friends or relatives actually want the chance to return a few favors. Those who donít, well, theyíre doing you a favor. Theyíd shown you who they are, so from now on, youíll be able to say no to them and feel good about it.

Feeling good about everything you do is really what counts.

Good luck,


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