A Word of Advice

“Do you want to be liked, or do you want to be respected?”

A near-stranger asked this of me.

“You have to start saying ‘no.’ If you say that, and you set limits and boundaries for yourself and others, people will respect you. They might even still like you!”

I wrote in my last post that I piled far too much on my plate. Three days into my new schedule, I realize I wasn’t being diligent–I was being dumb. Instead of having the pleasant feeling of being occupied for most of my day, I realize that the strenuous schedule was causing me to become restless and my life to become hectic. When peers or coworkers asked a favor of me, I thoughtlessly took on the task without considering how much time it would take away from me.

I told all of this–and more–to this peer (of sorts). She looked at me for a moment, and she asked what I was going to do to alleviate this situation.


She told me I couldn’t just recognize a problem and leave it at that. I have to take responsibility for myself, prioritize, and drop whatever it is I can afford to drop.* So simple, but so hard, I told her. I’ve committed to so many things; if I quit now, people will be angry with me or–worse yet–dislike me.

“Do you want to be liked, or do you want to be respected?”

Sadly, the answer wasn’t so clear to me. It is now, though. There is most certainly a difference between the two (a discrepancy to which I was blind until last night). It seems that for so many people, especially women, individuals forfeit their happiness to appease others. In my case, it was nearly crippling me. My idea of responsibility came from how much I could juggle, as opposed to how well I could assert my authority over my obligations.

I felt compelled to write about this because it’s something many of us face… and ignore. I hope that if you ask yourself whether you want everyone to like you or everyone to respect you, that you would choose the latter.

*I decided to drop an extracurricular activity and a class, as well as set up time throughout the week for me to exercise. Being that this was a bit of a shock to my system (not having a million things in my head at once), I decided to also keep a journal to vent. It’s quite cathartic. See, everyone? Writing is good for you!



Filed under Austin, Health, Oddities, Personal, Writing

2 responses to “A Word of Advice

  1. Mom

    Very nice read.

  2. Sandra

    Good for you Jeni! I learned it was OK to schedule time for you. Time to do nothing if that is what you want. Put it on your calendar so that when someone asks if you are busy you can tell them you already have plans. Keep up the good work.

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