If you’ve ever been on an airplane, you’ve seen the attendants sashay along the aisles demonstrating what to do in the case of an emergency: secure yourself and oxygen mask first and then your children’s. The logic is, once you’re safe and secure, you can do the same for the little ones. Otherwise, you risk passing out and hurting yourself and the child. Following the same concept, securing yourself first is important in life, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about putting yourself first.
They say money changes people, but it changes the people around you quicker than it changes you. You finally get a decent career and suddenly they see you as Money Bags. They don’t see the student loan payments, car note and other bills. So, they lean on you for cash, and you give it to them every time.
When they need an Uber ride or $20 for a sack of weed, a text from them chimes. If you don’t give it to them, something twists inside of you. Even though you want to pay a bill or just blow your own money, guilt drenches you when you say no, but you should say no. Or you’ll enable them to come to you every time.
Sometimes a friend needs a ride, so you pick them up. Or you run your brother and his family to the grocery store. You do these things as a favor so much, those you do them for feel entitled. If you don’t do it, they’ll ignore your messages, speak badly behind your back or whatever, but who cares? Why should you?
Everybody has life figured out until it punches them in the face. You owe it to yourself to make your life as comfortable as possible. That means extending yourself less in every direction to find your center. It means asking yourself, “What can I do for you?” and then doing it. If you don’t make time for you, who will?
That said, I believe we have responsibility to give back, and it doesn’t have to be freely pouring money into the hands of others. You can help get someone a career, or you can show them a process to achieve something. Before you can do that, you have to prove it can be done. So, although giving back is the intent, you have to have something to give.
If someone walks away because you can’t or won’t loan them $20, that’s what it costs you to excuse an untrue friend from your life. No relationship should be contingent upon what you can do for the other party(ies). Do less favors. Say no more. You’ll be happier in the end.
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