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“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” John Wooden

Needing space is not always about the living area. At times we need a break from certain people. We may love them and care about them but we need a break from them. By recognizing this important fact, we can keep a distance when necessary and not only maintain a relationship but have no guilt. When we attend to others we have a feeling of duty to be at their disposal. Maybe this is feasible some of the time. It is impossible to achieve all of the time. Admitting our own needs and responsibilities may alleviate the anxious feelings we have when we can’t always solve other people’s problems. Having empathy does not mean we can’t say no. At times we must say no at least for that moment. At a later date we may be able to fulfill another’s need but not at the present time.We all feel overwhelmed with duty. Our thoughts say if you love this person you will find the time or find a way to help them with a difficulty. The end result is a total depletion of our own energy and spirit. This is not good. We need to maintain our own spirits in order to be of service to others. Maybe if we admitted we couldn’t take on a duty, it might be helpful to the person if they were required to do it for themselves. They may need to be able to gain confidence in their own ability. We may be completely unaware that we are creating a dependency. Even our elderly parents must acknowledge that our lives are important and deserve attention. I am not suggesting neglect but pacing.

I don’t believe others are aware of the burdens they place on us. At the same time it is up to us to be alert to what we can and can’t do. By all means help others right away if it is within your power and you are up to the challenge. If your energy level is already diminished then refrain from making any more commitments. Unless your family or friend is in crisis mode, save the job for another day or allow them to garner help from another person.

The guilt of not being able to be at the disposal for another individual can overtake our logic and reason. Some of us believe we will not be loved if we don’t accommodate others whenever they ask. We can’t win love in this way. Our spouses, parents, siblings, friends and co-workers should step back and expect to compromise. The options might be a later date for the job to be performed or maybe the hiring of another person to do the job. Our bodies and minds need time to adjust and settle down after a long day. It may be a perfect time for the person requesting aid but a less than perfect time for us to accomplish the task.

We can’t feel guilty when we say no to requests. Dismiss any thoughts that the person in need will stop caring for us because we replied in the negative. A doormat gets used up quickly and tossed in the rubbish. When it begins to fray and spreads bristles, out it goes. Likewise we will also stretch bend and break. At that point we will be angry bitter exhausted and vengeful. This holds true for any relationship that is demanding and without empathy. Who cares if the rubbish or light bulb waits an extra week? The multitudes of tasks we deem so important are really irrelevant in the scheme of life. It seems more reasonable to ask another to visit for coffee and a chat. Release burdens others have created for you.

Being a people pleaser has more to do with our need for keeping love and maintaining a relationship. Even when we have no stamina left we attempt to please others when asked. We want the approval even at the price of our own welfare. Neither guilt nor ego should prod us into wearing ourselves thin. It is important to maintain our mind and body. We don’t have to be constantly manipulated by others. It is wonderful to be kind helpful and caring but we can’t forsake our own needs. In order to be a contributing compassionate person, we can help others when possible within reason and without ulterior motives. Leave our guilt and duty behind and when we need rest simply say maybe later.

“I am thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home… I am thankful for the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby.” Nancie J. Carmody

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