So I have this problem, I try to go out of my way to help people, or at least I think I do. The trouble is that it's all in my head. Additionally, I am also a very particular person who likes things done a certain way, my way. There is absolutely nothing wrong with either of these things. It’s a great quality to want to help people. It is also perfectly normal to want things done in a way you like. That’s what makes you you. However, I run into the same trouble most of us do. The people I am trying to help are unappreciative of my help, and things don’t go the way I want them to. These are also very common occurrences. If they’re so common, what can be done? Let’s tackle them one at a time starting with the latter.
What do you do when you have that perfect image in your head, you plan and plan, and no one else seems to get it or care. Nothing goes the way you pictured it. It’s so frustrating. You, in turn, get angry, resentful, maybe even hateful. Well, that’s not how you pictured things either. I’m sure you pictured yourself being happy, not angry. The solution is surprisingly simple. Say what you want. Now, I don’t mean say whatever you want. I mean tell the world, specifically the people involved in your plans, what you want. I have found that most people in this world are afraid to voice their wishes for fear of offending or upsetting someone else. Unfortunately, all this causes is more stress in the long run. What you are doing is forcing people to guess what you want because you haven’t told them. You’re setting up everyone around you to fail. People are not mind readers. Additionally, you are doing a disservice to yourself. It is very important in life to take care of yourself, and if you are constantly denying yourself what you want out of life, you aren’t doing that. As far as the people hearing your wishes, you don’t have to worry about how they feel about what you want (unless you’re being offensive, of course). Everyone is entitled to their own wants and their feelings. What you do have to be prepared for is that after they hear what you want, they still won’t go along with your plans. Everyone is free to make their own choices too. My belief is that the more you are able to do this, though, the more often you will get what you want, and more people around you will know what your expectations are. Maybe they won’t like your expectations, but at least they will know, and that will actually make your interactions less stressful.
You can use this same methodology when doing things for other people too. Just flip it around. Allow them to tell you what they want. Listen when they tell you what help they really need. Don’t try to guess or be a mind reader yourself. If you are really interested in helping, you should respect that no one knows what the person you are helping needs more than the person you are helping. If you try allowing them to tell you what they want, and they still won’t tell you, then simply ask. Remember, you are not the only person that struggles with this. I think almost everyone does. Additionally, you always have the choice to not do what they other person tells you. You are free to make your own choices just like everyone else. Just set your boundaries ahead of time, and everyone will be more comfortable.
Certainly, there are times when surprising people is fun: birthdays, Christmas, just because. However, if you are able to voice what you want and listen when others tell you what they want, then your relationships will only improve, and you will take better care of yourself at the same time.