Although we know that helping others helps you in many ways, there are certain circumstances when your desire to help out others may end up damaging … you. This article is not about not offering your help. On the contrary, it is important to help others, and I also help when I can. Nonetheless, sometimes generosity and kindness can be taken advantage of, and we have to know when to put a stop to it.
Why Can’t we Say No?
Some people are generous by nature and help whenever they can. You can always count on them, they are there for you. It is wonderful that they have your back. I have received help in times of need and that kind of help is not something you’ll forget. It can even create a bond between people.
However, when someone is constantly asking you to help with this and that, because he or she knows that you can’t refuse, perhaps you should be a little bit more careful. If you are always at your neighbor’s house, fixing the wires, cutting his hedge, painting his walls, and doing everything he requests your help for while he is having a beer and relaxing with his friends … perhaps he doesn’t really need your assistance and he is taking advantage of you.
Why can’t he do it himself? Why doesn’t he tell you to take a break and join him and his friends? Why can’t his friends help him? Why is it always you?
Maybe because he knows you cannot say no?
Just Say No
It isn’t always easy to say no, but when someone is taking advantage of you, you have every right to do so. Just say no. For some it isn’t that simple to turn down requests for help, even if they are aware that they are being exploited. Saying no is something many of us every so often need to learn.
Know When Enough is Enough
It feels good to help another. Even science has shown that giving and helping others stimulates the same part of the brain that is triggered by food and sex. This is where that feel good feeling comes from after you have done your good deed.
Being taken advantage of, though, does not feel so great. On the contrary, it drains you. You feel used, or perhaps even down.
In junior high school I was an unpopular kid. I was considered a “weirdo” because I was shy and afraid to speak up. I had good grades, though, and during exams, I temporarily turned into a “popular” student, because people needed answers from me for this or that question. Although I knew very well that they were using me, I allowed it. And well, I was only 13. It is not an easy age.
Fortunately, things changed for me when I had to switch schools and do high school elsewhere. There, I was no longer the “weirdo” and kids accepted me for who I was. My last three years in school were quite pleasant, and now, decades later, I still have contact with some of my high school classmates via Facebook.
Never permit anyone to take advantage of you. We usually know when it’s done; at least, I believe we do. People who exploit your kindness do not respect you, and a real friend would not do that. The word “no” only has two letters, but for many it’s a hard word to say. Sometimes, we must put our foot down. Enough is enough.
If you respect yourself, you should say no when it feels right to do so.
When help is truly needed, I will help. No questions asked. I will offer my help when I see it is wanted or necessary. When someone is trying to use me, though, I may help once; I may even fall for it a second time, but once I realize what’s going on, I will eventually say no.
It isn’t always easy to recognize when a line is being crossed. Well, in some cases it is, but when love or friendship is involved we may be temporarily blinded as well … Once that veil lifts, we can see clearly.
Do you know anyone who is being taken advantage of? Have you told them and has it had any results? Let me know in the comments below.
Thank you for reading!