Question 19: If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don't like doing?
My Answer: I suppose the easy answer to this is responsibility.
I think a lot of us do things we don't necessarily like because we have to do them. Personally, I'm thinking of things like laundry, dishes, dusting, vacuuming, etc. I know there are some of you who actually enjoy housework, and so I hereby officially invite you into my home to do as much cleaning as your heart desires. Because I despise it. Our house is generally clean and is very organized (because I do love organization, but that's different than cleaning), so maybe (I hope) no one would be able to tell how terrible of a house-keeper I could be if I were to allow myself to be.
Also, and maybe more obviously, if you're stuck in a mundane job, you probably have to do a lot of things that you don't like doing because you're paid to do them.
But once again, let's dig a little deeper.
Why do we do so many things we don't like doing -- outside the realm of adult responsibilities?
Maybe we do these things to impress people; maybe it's to impress ourselves -- to prove that we can do it. Maybe it's to please people; maybe we keep saying 'yes' to things we don't necessarily want to do because we don't want to let someone down.
Is that okay?
I think it is, to an extent. I think we need to know ourselves and our own limits, so that we have a sense of when to say 'no'. We need to draw a line, and stick to it. And always, always, we should check our motives.
We need to know ourselves and our own limits.
Here are some questions to ask yourself the next time you're feeling particularly obligated to do something that you may not necessarily want to do:
- Would I still do this if my efforts would go unnoticed?
- Am I considering doing this because I am afraid of losing respect?
- Am I considering doing this because I want someone to like me?
- How much time will this take? Is it worthy of my family's and my time?
- If I were to say 'no', what sort of impact would that have on the big picture?
Of course I don't claim to be an expert on when the best time is to say 'yes' or 'no' -- it's something I am constantly working on. I have found the above questions to be helpful though, when answered honestly, in terms of avoiding overcommitting myself.
And so far, I haven't lost any friends.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? When was the last time you said 'yes', but your heart said 'no'? Do you honestly know why you said 'yes'? Why are you sometimes afraid to say 'no'? Tell me in the comments! ↴