1. Don't give more money than you can afford
Some people have a hard time balancing what they want to give versus what they actually have, Belleghem explains.
Some feel the need to sacrifice all their money to a good cause. This can be a noble endeavour, but also not a practical one. Before you give money – to a charity, religious organization, even a friend – think about whether or not you can truly afford it, Belleghem says.
It can also be tempting to lend someone a large sum of money under the assumption you will get it back. But there are no guarantees. Even smart people get duped out of their hard-earned cash.
2. Avoid lending your car to someone
Not handing over your keys may seem like a no-brainer, but many women get coerced into lending their car to a friend or boyfriend, Belleghem says. Even if you've sworn this is something you will never do, when faced with the situation, it's easy to think of it as a one-off. Especially if the person you are lending it to only needs your car for the day, or a couple of hours.
But a car is more than just a car – it's your driving record. "You are responsible for that vehicle even if you are not the one driving it," Belleghem warns. Before you lend you car to someone, think about the potential consequences – someone racking up charges on a toll road, the car parked illegally and towed, speeding or parking tickets and, at worst, getting into an accident.
3. Never lend your spouse or partner out to a single friend or co-worker who needs a date
We know, you're thinking we're crazy for even mentioning this one. Who's going to give away a loved one, you ask? What can often happen, Belleghem explains, is one half of a couple sends their partner to an event (such as a wedding or banquet) with a single friend or co-worker who needs a date. Not a good idea, Belleghem warns.
Though this may seem innocent and helpful, in Belleghem's experience as a therapist, this has led to problems, such an intimacy you don't want to encourage.
By sending your partner out with someone else, you are "putting them in a situation that is an opportunity for them to act like a couple," Belleghem explains. And though you may trust your partner, you are better off not giving them up for the evening to start with.
Page 1 of 24. Don't give up your home or any part of it to someone you don't trust completely
We've all heard the story, or even experienced the house guest who wouldn't leave. Or the person who house-sits while you're away and leaves the place a total mess. It can seem like a nice way to help a person out, but be wary of giving up your home, or even your couch, unless you trust your potential house guest implicitly, Belleghem says.
Being too much of a helper without knowing who you can trust someone can lead to people taking advantage of you, Belleghem says. "You really need to have a good relationship with someone in order to let them into your home."
5. Avoid giving away too much of yourself
It can be easy to get so wrapped up in everyone else's problems that you completely neglect your own needs. Take care of yourself first, Belleghem says. Before you look at everyone else's sob story, think about how much of yourself you can afford to give, either emotionally, physically or intellectually.
It's great to be there for others, but before you try to fix everyone else's problems, check in with yourself. Ask yourself how you're feeling. Are you under stress? How is your energy level? Is there anything you can do to improve yourself before expending time and energy on others? We're not suggesting you become entirely selfish, just that you ensure there is time for you built into the time you spend on others.
6. Don't give up your belief system
As we become adults we assess the beliefs instilled in us as children and decide if we want to keep them as our own, Belleghem explains. This could be something as complicated as religious beliefs, or as simple as eating French fries with your fingers versus using a fork.
If you believe fries are best consumed as a finger food, so be it. You shouldn't have to compromise that, even if you get a sideways glance from your mother-in-law while out for dinner. "The creation of your own belief system is such an important developmental growth phase as you become an adult," Belleghem says.
You may also decide to raise your children differently than your parents raised you, or decorate your home in a way your parents hate. But in the end, once you have established your own belief system, it's important not to give in to someone else, Belleghem says.
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