Do you do things to keep other people happy at the risk of your own contentment?
At the moment my life seems to be a balance of keeping everyone happy. I am sure this is the same for many people – there is a delicate dance of our own needs and of those around us. Sometimes the scales tip too far in one direction and we have to redress the balance for our own sanity.
Redressing the balance
In the morass of keeping others content, I decided to claw back a little happiness for myself. I need to free up Monday nights if I am going to continue with a sporting activity that I really enjoy. The only way to do this was to change my daughter’s gym club night.
Once I had agreement from her that she was didn’t mind doing this I got around the paperwork and make sure there was a space in another group. I thought I had it sorted. How wrong I was. The gym club was being run by the same people but in a different location. We talked through how it would all work: we would take her there first, then I would drop my son at Beavers before going back for her, then for him. Easy.
Except that she got cold feet as we were nearly there. It didn’t help that the door had a security code that hadn’t been passed to me. I found myself telling her that if she didn’t go in this week, there was no gym club, ever again. That was it. And all the time I was feeling selfish for changing something she had been confident with to make me happy.
Risking her happiness for mine
After dropping the boy at Beavers and buying a little chocolate, she had calmed down enough for me to get the sensation back in my left arm. We compromised – we went back to watch the second half, with a view to joining in next week. We discovered that a girl from Brownies is in her new group, so after one of the biggest melt-downs in history, all is well again.
Sure, by me being happy, it has a positive impact on those around me. And playing sport has not only increased my fitness, it has had a positive effect on my mental well-being. My husband assures me that I am a nicer person to be around. So, perhaps I can justify upsetting my daughter in the short-term for the longer-term gain for my family.
Earlier this week I found myself on my high horse. In my work I often tread a tightrope between what I feel is right and what others would like me to do. While I was preparing for a meeting, I felt I was unable to compromise on this occasion. It was going to be my way or not at all.
And then I sat back for a bit and thought about how it was for the other people involved. I put my own vanity beside for a while and swung the other way. I prepared the material in such a way that I knew would work for my colleagues. I was astonished to find that they were prepared to compromise far more than I had thought. By taking my ego out of the equation, the end result was an open and honest discussion. The common ground was closer than either of us thought.
So, keeping other people happy at the expense of our needs isn’t always healthy. I think I am going to spend the rest of my life working out how to keep the scales balanced.
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