Monday, December 20, 2010

Resisting Gift-Giving Pressure From Others

I just received a wonderful letter from the reader of this blog:
"Just read your blog about the Shouldless Xmas gifts. I am glad you wrote about it. I also recently had an experience with my follow students at school. All the students wanted donations for a Holiday party and to buy the teacher a gift, for being such a "good teacher" as they phrased it. I personally and honestly do NOT think he is a good teacher, so I told them I was NOT giving any money for it or the party. They of course naturally got surprised and angry. I personally do not care, because they do not pay my taxes, rent and food....Plus, I am NOT working Full-time and I am living of my resources.  In anycase, I do NOT want to go into my private financial pity episode with my colleagues, because it is none of their business and not their problem. So, I take the consequences as NO BIG loss and they shall get over it! As Dr. Albert Ellis once said: 'I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR DISFUNCTIONAL BEHAVIOR!' "
This statement incorporates several tips from my earlier post  about Resisting Gift-Giving Shoulds.  She recognized that (1) Fellow students may judge for not spending money, but they won't pay her bills later, and (2) People may be thrown off center when you don't spend as they think you "should," but your real friends will respect you for taking care of yourself.  This reader found a beautiful way to find peace by living on her own terms as opposed to other people's "shoulds." Are you finding the same?

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist seeing individuals and couples in New York City. He specializes in issues related to addiction, bullying, caretaking fatigue, gay/lesbian issues, stress management, depression, and with couples in non-traditional arrangements. He is also the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve." To schedule a visit, email at

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