For most of my life, I have been accused of being ‘too nice,’ which is a polite way of saying I’m a pushover. I admit, I find it difficult to say that two-letter word. As a result, a great deal of my time is taken up doing for other people. (Before any of my author friends think I'm referring to you and/or that I'm tooting my own horn, that is not the case at all. I get a LOT from you in return. I do not feel, in the least, that I am doing more for you than you are for me. I am blessed with the outpouring of support and help from my friends. And, my comments about my lack of ability to say no are definitely not bragging. I'm a bit of a doormat :/)
I’ll admit, sometimes when I say ‘yes,’ I end up resenting it. Those times are rare, but once in a while, it turns out that I feel taken advantage of. I end up working with authors over and over, almost rewording their entire MS in an effort to help them grow as a writer. Some of these authors either become needy and clingy and never figure things out for themselves, or they become demanding, difficult divas. However, the rewards far outweigh the negatives. I have also made some amazing friends and seen writers who have blossomed and realized their talents and actually learned rather than depending on me to guide their every step.
My inability to say no extends to more areas than the writing world. I can’t say no to my children (although I did when they were growing up. I’m not THAT much of a pushover. ;)), my family, my friends, or even strangers. I buy items I don’t want, attend events I’d rather not, take on projects I don't have time for, etc. But, the thing is, I really DO want to do things for other people. It makes me feel good, which is, perhaps, a selfish motivation, right?
I recall a ‘Friends’ episode where Joey is disappointed when he volunteers for a telethon, thinking he'll be a host, and learns he's only going to be manning the phones. Phoebe accuses him of having selfish motivations for being on the telethon, which disqualifies it as a 'good deed.' Joey tells her that having the babies for her brother also wasn't a selfless act and that there are no selfless good deeds. She vows to prove him wrong. After every other attempt fails, she donates $200 to PBS, even though she hates the station and therefore wins the bet. But, her donation causes Joey to be the volunteer who breaks last year's record, and he ends up being on TV. Phoebe is happy about it, and once again, that nullifies her good deed as 'selfless.' Here's a clip:
(UGH...I really miss this show. Yes, I know, reruns out the wazoo, but it's not the same as having new episodes to enjoy)
So...what do you think? Is Joey right? Are there truly not any selfless deeds? Do have difficulty saying no? And, at 54 years old, am I doomed to be a pushover for the rest of my life? :)