before we act

i am learning: when we agree to do something we are unwilling to, we are practicing a form of emotional dishonesty. service performed because of guilt or fear is actually quite dishonoring to the giver and receiver, as the resentment (the giver feels) soon becomes evident. the challenge, i think, is learning to give only when the spirit is aligned with the act--this unity of heart and hands is the mark of true generosity.


Lisa said...

Ah. It took a long time for me to develop the courage to do this, but when I used to find myself doing things I really didn't want to do and feeling resentful because of it, I'd notice there were other people who didn't seem to have a problem being honest about what they would or wouldn't do when asked and since they were honest, it didn't seem to offend anyone when they did it. For example, when I worked in an office, there was a time when I got caught up into a horrible cycle of being invited to all kinds of parties where things were sold: basket parties, weekender clothing, shoes, pampered chef, etc, etc and every time I went, I felt obligated to buy something I didn't want and right afterward, I'd get another invitation from someone who was a guest as the party who was hosting her own and I felt obligated to go to that one too. I finally decided to just be 100% honest and the next time I got an invitation, I just said I wasn't going to those parties anymore. When someone called when Scott and I were in the middle of watching a movie, I either let it go to voicemail, or said I couldn't talk because we were in the middle of the movie. I'd always either made up an excuse to get out of a request or done it and resented it and when I started being honest it was sooooo liberating! It's a lot easier than you think once you get started and people really don't seem to mind :)

iyan and egusi soup: said...


thank you so much for sharing all of this. your post made me giggle(here comes the librarian!) because i've experienced something similar: attending gatherings i wished i'd refused or buying something i truly didn't want--both from not wanting to offend.

you are right that most people are not offended by an outright refusal (maybe coupled with a genuine, short explanation)--it's taken me some time to realize this. and if they are offended, the issue is then about something else.