Confidence and Compensation

Since the end of September I have found myself seemingly being tested and turned around by life without stop. From car trouble, to work trouble, to personal trouble, it has been a bit overwhelming to say the least. Though the theme of the last month seemed to revolve primarily around financial stress, the root of this financial stress has stemmed from a major lack of confidence within myself.

Since I’m pretty sure that I have already written about my views on money and abundance in a previous blog post I wont repeat those views or opinions here. When I really think about it, those views actually don’t even matter in the context of what I’m about to write. Though it may seem like I’m only talking about “money” in this post, I am actually talking about much more. I am talking about compensation. To me, compensation isn’t always about money. Being that we all come from different financial backgrounds and all stand at various points on the scale of privilege, money cannot be seen as the root of appreciation or compensation. In fact, for many people who do not struggle financially at all, money is seen as nothing more than convenience (or for some, ironically an inconvenience). To me, compensation goes beyond the physicality of “money” and represents a more collective appreciation.

I am very lucky to have a few friends who feel similarly about this sentiment. They are generous and fair with their money, they never expect anything other than equal treatment, and best of all, they make it a priority to have others feel taken care of, appreciated, and valued. Though they are not necessarily rolling in dough, they are not stingy. They do not pinch pennies. They do not force others to argue for what they inherently deserve.

Being that I have experienced both financial lows and highs, and have received help when at financial lows, I have always felt responsible for helping others when at a financial high. I have always felt that it was important to never let something as temporary and superficial as money come between friendships or professional relationships. However, over the last month I have learned that there is a huge difference between being generous (whether it’s with ones time, energy, or money) and being taken advantage of. I have also realized that one cannot be taken advantage of unless they allow themselves to be. From having checks come in late, to having Venmo charges remain incomplete, to most importantly, having my time and energy not being respected, I have finally reached my breaking point with giving others the opportunity to avoid compensating me appropriately.

I’ve always felt that if you truly cared about someone, you would never let the pettiness of finances come between you. If you really cared about someone, you would simply take the high road and let whatever the financial discrepancy is go. However, now I realize that if someone actually cares about YOU, or values YOUR work, they would never put you in a position of lack. They would never put you in the (incredibly awkward) position of having to fight for what you deserve.

For as long as I can remember, I have always had a hard time speaking up when it comes to what I am owed. Whether it is treatment in a relationship, friendship, or work environment, I have always lived in this passive pattern of letting things go, and letting things slide, until finally I explode. This built up resentment leads to a fury that I cannot contain, and before I know it, I have a complete lack of interest in the very thing that I was attempting to salvage through my passive and meek voice. I have walked away from several relationships and friendship due to this very problem.

Though this past month was a rough one, it undoubtedly gave me the opportunity to examine why I do this. Why do I feel as though I shouldn’t speak up for myself? Why do I feel as though I should cut people slack that they in turn would not cut for me? Why do I feel responsible for other people’s choices and problems? The conclusion that I have come to is this: I have had a complete lack of confidence in both myself and my work. For some reason, I feel as though others are owed so much more than I am, which sounds completely ridiculous as I say that out loud. But it’s true.

Or at least it was.

All I know is that I am done living in that place of lack. I am done allowing others to take without the intention of return. I am done putting myself on the back burner in order to accommodate others. I know myself well enough to know that I will always remain optimistic and generous, however, the second that I feel a lack of reciprocation, I will reciprocate that lack.

As we prepare to enter into a new decade, I would encourage everyone to follow these simple guidelines of compensation:

  1. If you employ someone, pay them accurately and in a timely manner.

  2. If your friend picks up the bill at dinner, offer to pick up the next one.

  3. Be thoughtful. You don’t have to be a millionaire to make people feel as though you care about them or their time.

  4. When you get a Venmo request, complete it.

  5. If you expect special treatment on holidays or your birthday, reciprocate that effort for others.

  6. If you ask your friend for a favor, ALWAYS show them appreciation. Never get so comfortable that you forget to do that.

  7. Compensate anyone and everyone in your life adequately. Stop being cheap. Stop acting like you have it so much harder than everyone else. We’re all struggling in this economy.

  8. Be generous. It always comes back.

  9. Do not penny pinch. If you’re not willing to spend an extra $3 on tax for a split dinner, chances are you can’t afford to go out to eat. Stay home.

  10. And finally, if you have someone in your life that you rely on or acts as your “rock”, don’t take advantage of them, even if they let you. Reciprocate when you are able, respect their boundaries before they even have to set them, and become inspired by them so that you can eventually do the same for others.