Person B was complaining about how she gave her credit card to a very trusting friend for a gift and told the friend the amount she could spend for the gift. When the credit card statement came, Person B found out that the friend purchased things twice the amount B had told the friend.
Person B started moaning and complaining about how people always take advantage if you are nice and kind.
I told person B that I used to think that way as well. But I realized that people taking advantage has nothing to do with the other person. Look at what’s happening in politics. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price used tax payers money to fly in luxury. Here is another list of Trump administration officials who used chartered flights. Allegedly Steve Munchin, the Treasury Secretary, requested a government jet for his honeymoon. Tax payers’ salaries are loose change for the above mentioned officials and yet they didn’t even blink when using other’s money.
The point I was making to Person B was that there will be people who will misuse funds and resources irrespective of whether the other person is nice or not.
Changing one’s mindset: While, growing up, we may have witnessed people taking advantage of each other, at home or outside, we have to remember that it’s our thoughts that make us feel taken advantage of. So, have some integrity for yourself.
How to remedy our perception:
- Create inner boundaries. This could be the hardest thing because we think others are responsible for our feelings.
- Be self-aware. Ask ourselves if we are focusing on particular people who misused our resources. How many people helped me.
- Do not paint everyone with the same brush.
- Observe people’s behavior before letting them use your resources.
- Think how others have helped you or allowed you to use their resources.
- Learn from an experience and do not repeat. One such experience is too many.
- Do not measure people with your ethical compass.
- Do not put people on pedestal based on their education or appearance.
- Have integrity for yourself so that you don’t live in a cycle of revenge or self-pity.
If we allow other people to do whatever they want with our money, resources, time, not everyone will be careful. Some will misuse them, not because they are taking advantage of us because this is who they are, not because they are taking advantage of (only) us.