Equity

Liberate Yourself from People Using You

Photo Credit: Los Angeles Post-Examiner

When you transition to living a life free from allowing folks to take advantage of you, it’s a liberating experience. It’s not about revenge against those individuals who have used you; it’s about giving yourself a chance to be, to live, to breathe. If you’re living a life where you’re constantly serving every beck and call of others, then it’s time to stop. In fact, it has been time for you to end such an unhealthy, unproductive lifestyle.

Recognize that people will continue to take advantage of you as long as you allow them. You must muster the will and courage to stop doing this to yourself. After all, those people who have used you could only do what you permitted.

Once you close the door to users ever being able to use you again, leave that door closed forever.

When you’ve truly given yourself an opportunity to live free from leeches, folks always with their hands out looking for what you can do for them, it’s time for you to celebrate. Celebrate what? Celebrate your newfound freedom, or the rediscovering of such freedom. You deserve it!

You don’t have to announce you’ve closed that door to those individuals forever. Let your actions inform them. When they see your actions speaking, they will see your new liberated self.

People will start to realize they need to give you something before you continue to pour into their lives. This new liberated self isn’t about embracing selfishness—it’s about granting yourself the right to experience personal equity and justice. One shouldn’t passionately fight for equity and justice for others and not extend that same equity and justice to herself or himself.

Yes, those who have used you will begin to make some of the following comments: “You’re acting funny now,” “You’re acting brand new now,” “You weren’t really for me in the first place,” and “You weren’t doing things for me out of the kindness of your heart; you were always looking for something in return.” That last comment really strives to make you feel guilty and compel you to return to a life of bondage.

Never taste the sweet nectar of freedom and then revert to bondage.

Fight for you; fight for your freedom.

If people who have only taken from you want something now, respond to them by inquiring about what they plan to do for you in exchange for what they desire. This dramatically changes the power dynamics: it moves you from being a pushover to the person who holds all the cards.

When you understand that you hold all the cards, you will exercise your power to thwart attempts to victimize you.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison   

Make Your Work Pay

Pay Me

(Photo Credit: Navitor)

Although it may sound harsh and selfish, don’t do anything that will not yield you a beneficial return. View your work and activities through the lens of budgeting and investing. Labor and activities not producing a useful return—eliminate them. Does a fruitful return necessarily mean money? No. It can mean anything deemed valuable to you. When you constantly feel overextended, take an opportunity to see why. Are you trying to do more than you’re able to do? Are you attempting to solve all of the problems of those around you? Are you more preoccupied with the affairs of others than your own? If your answer is “yes” to those aforementioned questions, then your life is rife with imbalances.

Have enough courage to turn down work that does not pay. Be willing to disengage or not participate in activities that will not improve you in some way. When you know your worth, then you will place a demand and/or price on requests people make. If someone wants you to do something for him or her, then he or she should expect to give something in exchange for the request. He or she cannot go into the supermarket and pick up a bag of grapes without supplying the cashier money in exchange for the item.

Face it—we live in an exchange society: you want something; you give something.

For those who have a problem with this exchange society, they’re really the ones who are selfish. Why would you want someone to do something for you and you not at least offer to do something in return for him or her?

My dad taught me to work smart—not hard. Yes, I know his teaching is counter to the American ethos of “hard work pays.” However, does hard work always pay? How about most of the time? If you desire for your work to be meaningful and your activities to be meaningful, then you better attach expected returns to that work and those activities. Don’t become so altruistic to the point you lose yourself, lose your self-worth.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison