LEARNING TO SAY NO






One of the twelve labours of Hercules was to fetch some golden apples from the garden of Hera. The garden was tended by the daughters of Atlas; a Titan condemned to hold up the celestial heavens or sky for eternity. Hercules went to Atlas and offered to hold up the heavens while Atlas got the apples from his daughters.


Anyone who purposely took the burden had to carry it forever, or until someone else took it away. Maybe tired from carrying the burden for long, Atlas tried to trick Hercules by offering to deliver the apples himself. Sensing danger, Hercules pretended to agree to the offer, asking only that Atlas take the sky again for a few minutes so Hercules could rearrange his cloak as padding on his shoulders. When Atlas set down the apples and took the heavens upon his shoulders again, Hercules took the apples and ran away.


Many around us are carrying similar burdens; most of which could be unnecessary. These include the burdens of their futile expectations, sensitivities, hurt feelings, anxieties and so on. The frustrations of these burdens make them seek out for those who would be ready to carry the weight for them.


Some are gentle in their pleadings while asking you to help them out. You do and rather you should reach out to help them occasionally, esp. if they are your friends and family. But often there are those who believe that only you are supposed to carry their burdens. Would they then try to force you through aggression, loud voices, arguments or manipulation? If you refuse, do they then like a energy sucking vampire, criticise you, make you feel guilty or threaten you subtly through some emotional blackmailing?


Does it happen that some, rather than working on their problems, get into the habit of throwing their burdens on you? Have you experienced people habituated to pass on the parcels of their problems on to you?


Or is it, that you, by repeatedly taking the burden of their problems are habituating them to use you as a trash can, where they can dump all their problems?


Are you loving and respecting yourself, by allowing others to misuse you?


Are you showing your love and respect to those you really care for, by contributing to make them irresponsible towards handling their own problems?

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