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Don't bend over backwards...

Don't bend over backwards for anyone...unless you're an acrobat in the circus. ~Doe Zantamata
Overall, there are two kinds of people; those who always do the best they can, and those who do just enough to get by. If you're one who always does your best, you are fantastic. But you also risk being taken for granted and not being appreciated for your efforts.

A wise person by the name of Anais Nin said that "we don't see the world as it is, we see the world as we are." So when you're in a relationship with, friends with, or working for someone who is of the "do enough to get by" variety (as many people are), they actually don't even realize just how much time and effort you put in with all that you do. They would not put in that much effort unless they really had to.

When you absolutely go out of your way and are totally devoted to everything all the time, people come to expect that of you absolutely all the time. Well you can't be everything to everyone. Eventually, you will burn out. Then, instead of them appreciating you and picking up the slack, you may find that you're the target of disappointment or people wondering what's "wrong" with you as you don't seem to be living up to the standard you had set.

In social situations, this can be the person who always goes all out with parties. No expense is spared, they cook from dawn until dusk for days in preparation, the house is immaculate, and all guests are invited to just show up and enjoy. A spectacular time is had by all, and the guests can't wait for the next party. But for the host, aside from the immense cost and time involved, if they're always expected to bend over backwards for everyone, they never get to enjoy the kind of party they love to provide for everyone else. 

That doesn't seem fair.

At work, the one who always goes that extra mile, always stays late when asked, always picks up someone else's work when needed, should be employee of the year. That person should be the last that anyone asks since they already do so much. But instead, they're often the person who is asked first, as for everyone else, they know this person will say yes and come through with flying colors. If anyone else actually goes an extra foot or two, the boss may praise them like there's no tomorrow, and the overachiever feels immediately wronged. That person did one little thing and everyone's cheering, meanwhile they've been doing tons of things for ages and it hardly gets a thank you anymore.

In relationships, again, bending over backwards sets a standard that leaves the other partner with nothing to do. Eventually, they get used to everything being taken care of all the time, and will forget or lose sight of how much effort it really takes to be the world's perfect partner. The overachiever in relationships will eventually realize how much they do and how little their partner does, and will feel hurt and unappreciated.

The feeling that is felt in all these situations is resentment.

Don Miguel Ruiz in his book, "The Four Agreements," talks in depth about resentment for what he calls, "doing better than your best." It's an excellent read, and highly recommended.

Doing better than your best, overachiving, or bending over backwards will make you resent the other person or other people for doing nothing. To them, this will come as a shock. They've probably heard you say so many times, "It's fine, I don't mind, it's my pleasure" that eventually they believed it and stopped asking. They may believe that you actually like doing absolutely everything and no one else ever helping. Sounds odd...but it's true.

You want to be a good friend, a good employee, a good partner, but you also want to be appreciated. Most people leave jobs and relationships because they don't feel appreciated, so knowing that, it's sabotage to overachieve and then resent those who got used to it.

Do your best...yes...always, but when it comes to doing more than that, do so sparingly. Be able to say "no" when something is too much, or when you're being asked too many times to go completely out of your way. Be able to enjoy making great efforts without doing so to the point of being overwhelmed.

You can be a kind, good, generous, dedicated, and loyal person to everyone you know and also let them be kind, good, generous, dedicated, and loyal to you. Less is more. When you do say no sometimes, when you don't always leap to assist anyone for anything, you create a respect for your time and your efforts. Then, when you do come through, once in awhile or even several times, it will be noticed, it won't be taken for granted, and it will be appreciated. Plus, you will have more time for yourself to enjoy this life which has been given to you, and you will have the opportunity to let some other stars find their light and shine as brightly as you do.

By Doe Zantamata

Author of "Happiness in Your Life: Book One - Karma:


  1. EXACTLY what i needed to read. I have always looked for people's approval and love, always doing too much for everyone, except for myself. It was never appreciated, and the day I got very sick and unable to do for others what i used to do, not only I was alone and no one tried to help, but I was blamed for abandoning them, for not being trustworthy enough, for not doing things I used to do.
    Thank you for this great lesson!!
    Much love <3

  2. This is a really nice read and so true. After always going the extra mile, today I realize that it is so much easier on myself to just do the best I can and let the rest go. In this way, i am true to myself and yet I am spared the ill effects of being resentful towards those I love.

  3. Thank YOU Doe, this is exactly what I needed to read. You are right, there is no need to bend over to please anyone, especially that after a while they take us for granted, they start acting as if "this is our job to perform a certain task", when all we wanted to do from the beginning was just to give a helping hand to some people we considered our friends. Thank you for recommending the book "the four agreements" I think I will get it and read it.
    Thanks again for everything. You are doing a wonderful job :)

  4. It is like doing your best without any judgment. This is so easy to do, but we think we need the latter for the former. We don't!!!

  5. Hmmmm. Think I may need to have a read of that book. Says she who is still sitting here typing on a Saturday morning, playing catch up from saying "yes" all week and now chasing my tail to be organised for Monday.

    My biggest problem is I'm fine until I'm not. I don't see the train wreck just around the corner and I just keep saying yes. It's not that I say 'yes' when I don't want to. I just don't realise how many things I've agreed to do until it's too late. LOL

  6. I have learned this lesson the past year and am still learning. I am the kind that thinks "If you want it done right, you do it yourself". I also feel guilty when I am sitting and not doing anything while people are busy around me.

    I got real sick this last year, and ended up with major surgery. It was a very big lesson learned when all the people I have done things for weren't there for me. I actually questioned my husband about it, and he actually said 'well you can handle most anything, I figured if you needed me you'd ask, and you didn't ask, so I left you alone".

    Those of us who "do" what they see needing to be done, have a hard time understanding those who, like my husband, "don't do", unless asked. When my husband said that to me I felt uncared for, unappreciated, and unloved when he didn't just "do", like I would have.

    It was a hard lesson learned for me to realize that I, ME, was the one that made it that way. My doing all the time, conditioned him to only do as asked. Due to my health problems I have had to slow down, and the hardest part for me on doing that has been convincing myself that 1. It's ok to not "do" everything, and 2. It's ok to ask for help. and 3. It's not a reflection of failure if I do 1 and 2.

    In learning this, I have found a peace I have never had before. It's ok to say no, or to just not do it. It really is ok!

  7. I too can relate... the extra mile was good for my selfesteam while others would take advantage. I got burned out and soon seem to always not do anything right. Had to learn to purposely mess up once in a while which I can say felt alittle adrenaline doing so. Perfection is impossible with todays society. Do what makes you happy

  8. Thank you Doe, for this absoluut amazing post! Much hugs!

  9. Thank you very much. I learnt this lesson the hard gives without realising it at times.Then you decide to be careful and end up doing the same thing. This time I am going to try my best to remember your advice and help myself.

  10. In relationships, it is important to give your partner lots of opportunity to express, through their actions, their love for you. If you are always the one working harder for the 2 of you, you deprive your partner of that opportunity.


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