Monday, September 23, 2013

Put Yourself First

For the month of September, every Monday I'll be sharing some reflections of forty something years of living!

Last week, I spoke about my people-pleasing nature and how important it was for everyone to like me. I usually put other people first. I didn't want people to dislike me and I didn't like a lot of drama or friction, so I would sacrifice my happiness to make sure everything was running smoothly.

Over ten years ago, I was up late, working on a freelance project. I had accepted a ridiculous deadline and charged way below what the project was worth. I was tired. No, I was beyond tired. It was at this point that I had an epiphany. I realized that the only person struggling right now was me. The person who had hired me was probably fast asleep knowing that she was getting high-quality work for a fraction of the cost.

That brief, fleeting concept changed a lot of things. It was the beginning of me developing a backbone. I completed the assignment but when I turned it in I explained that the next time, with a deadline so close I would have to charge more ... or just say no. To my surprise, I wasn't met with anger or hostility. I actually got an apology.

I realized that when people ask for something, they realize that the answer might be 'no' and normally, that is okay with them. Denying a request wasn't a relationship ender. No one would hate me. I wasn't burning bridges. However, I was taking care of myself. People said no to me and I didn't have such extreme reactions.

So now when people ask me for something and I cannot accommodate their request, I can say no or counter with an offer that I can accomplish.

I've realized the importance of putting myself first. I know now that if I don't no one else will.

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