Updated: Jul 11
If someone does you a favour, you don’t owe them anything!
This came up recently with a friend.
Her and her family weren’t well and I offered to bring round some supplements. She declined the offer. Confused as to why someone would refuse help, I thought about it for a moment. This friend is also my hairdresser and sometimes helps me out by letting me come to her house instead of the salon as it’s a bit further away. I had a feeling that what was happening for her was the need to then do me a favour back by having to rearrange her schedule to fit me in or some other request I may have at a later date.
So my reply was: ‘I’d like to help out. And if you don’t mind me saying, you should learn to accept help.
My help comes with no condition attached at all. None. So even if I ask you for something in the future, you are more than welcome to say ‘no’.
She accepted the tablets.
So what’s happening here? I’ve talked before about it takes a village to raise a child (my friend has 3 children) and so we have to and we deserve being helped when it’s needed. We deserve to ask for it too! The human race got to the size it did from working as little communities.
Why are mental health issues at an all time high? Because we are alone and fighting to be as independent as possible.
It’s destroying us.
Community is essential to our well-being.
Does that mean we are obliged to return the favour? I know some will disagree with me, but absolutely not!
I know some will be thinking, yes but that’s unkind, that’s not fair, that’s not nice…
If you are saying that, I invite you to take a look at your own patterns…
Do you often feel resentment towards other people?
Do you feel lonely and isolated?
Do you feel a sense of lack and think others have plenty?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, it’s likely that you have learnt to self-abandon and people please.
That to be deserving or worthy of love and belonging to a family or community that you have to abandon yourself and your boundaries completely for the benefit of others.
If you do someone a favour, it should come from a place of wanting to help. Of wanting to create a connection. Of genuine care.
If you are doing it from a place of ‘should’ then I invite you to take a look at where in your life you are putting your needs behind everyone else’s?
Let’s take a look at each point above.
Resentment - when we don’t place boundaries and feel taken advantaged of, we can feel resentment towards the other person. So resentment comes from doing things for other people that you don’t want to do.
Isolated and lonely - possibly you fear asking for help because you know you are unable to return the favour or the fear and pressure of having to do so. People who genuinely care, will want to help with no expectations in return.
A sense of lack and think others have plenty - when you live your life with the feeling that there is not enough, you tend to hold onto more of what you have, without generosity. This means you see support or even exchanges as a potential threat. You see that people are ‘out to get you’ and to ‘take advantage’. Letting go of the expectations of having something in return allows you to fully appreciate the support that you can give. It brings generosity from others as people can see and sense that you are open and are more relaxed with also giving to you.
Let’s take a look a little more at what people pleasing and self-abandoning look like...
People pleasing is when you have porous boundaries to your own needs and will do things and if we are going to be honest, manipulate other people’s perception of you. If you are constantly looking to change who you are and your values to fit in and have people like you, then you are in effect looking to change the way they think about you by changing your behaviour.
Self-abandoning is when you completely abandon your own needs and feelings to meet the needs of other people. You are trying to hide your true self to fit in and be loved.
Both of these behaviours are learnt. They are survival techniques, often from childhood experiences. They are linked to feelings of self-worth, self-esteem, concern for losing love, concern that they may no longer belong, concern that their relationship is no longer safe.
The way to overcome these is to begin noticing your patterns: Where are you feeling not considered? Where are you feeling resentment? Where are you feeling that your needs don’t matter?
The best place to start is with boundary setting (I have written other blogs with suggestions on how to do this). Learn to increase your self-worth and self-esteem. Become more conscious of your own needs, recognise them and then ask or create a way for those needs to be met. Be compassionate with yourself and what you are feeling - I can guarantee that everyone you know has felt it at some point in their lives too. Be authentic - be you! Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter what you do, someone will judge you or project onto you, that’s their ‘stuff’, it’s not yours. So be authentically you!
Asking for help if you need it will help you to learn not to self-abandon. If someone helps you and expects something back? Well, as you’ve read, that’s their own story. Their own projection and their own responsibility to work through and heal. Not yours.
Do you know what feels good? Helping someone else without any expectation of getting something in return. Give other people the opportunity to experience that.
Because helping someone without expecting the favour to be returned is what it truly means to help and be supportive. Getting nothing back from that exchange except a feeling of being an awesome human being is truly precious.
What’s your experience with asking for help?
Do you have people in your life who try to make you feel guilty for not meeting their needs?
Do you have a tendency to people please?
Do you self-abandon?
How good are you at boundary setting?
Let me know in the comments!
Carla Crivaro is a trauma-informed and certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach, she works with men and women internationally to reach their goals in delicious sex, profound love and authentic relationships. Carla helps men and women understand themselves and each other, sexually and relationally, in and out of the bedroom. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.