The 20-dollar phenomenon

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Is it wrong to say no to those who don’t value our generosity? Read all about what I like to call “the 20-dollar phenomenon.”

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Throughout our lives we meet many unique characters. Some are funny and charming, kind, and considerate, while others are selfish and greedy.

Is it wrong to say no to those who don’t value our generosity? Read all about what I like to call “the $20 phenomenon.”

Throughout our lives we meet many unique characters. Some are funny and charming, kind and considerate, while others are selfish and greedy.

While there are many more interesting humans, I would like to focus on the more selfish among us.

More specifically, the ones who have no compunction about using us for their own personal gain.

What’s worse is our attitudes towards this particular brand of person. It would seem that, sometimes, the good in people ends up being a fundamental flaw. Or is it? Perhaps it’s a more of a wonderful character trait? I tend to think it’s the latter. But on with the post!

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For instance, have you ever felt bad for not doing something for someone? One who is asking for the 100th time? Well, that might be an appropriate reaction if you’ve never had time to help. However, if you’ve run to their aid constantly and it’s never been returned, you have no reason to feel bad.

Still, though, we do. But why is this? Well, perhaps we aren’t the best at setting boundaries, or maybe it’s because our values conflict with not being a giver. Whatever the case, it’s important to realize that if someone does you wrong, you owe them nothing.

That’s why we all need to draw the line in the sand. Not everyone is of good moral fiber and thus, is not as deserving.

A good way to think about this is in such a way that I call “the $20 phenomenon.”

I’d like to think of myself as generous and one who loves lending a hand. But one thing I’ve learned is that not everyone deserves it; at least not a second time. This is of course, dependant on their circumstances.

So, if you were to need $20, I would give it to you without hesitation. Of course, there’s an expectation that you will pay it back. But… here’s the thing. If I give you the last $20 out of my wallet and you, for whatever reason, decide not to pay it back, I draw a line.

In other words, I set a stern boundary. I simply say to myself, “That was the best $20 I’ve ever spent.” I say so because if I never see my money again, that’s the last time you get anything from me.

And now I know that I do not have to feel bad for not helping out such people. Especially the next time they come running with their hands out. For it is not I who neglected to pay the money back, it was them. Therefore, I’m not going to own their misdeeds.

I mean, why should I? I didn’t do it, right?

Fundamentally, one of the biggest challenges we have in society is to say no! Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that we literally don’t know how to say no. I will address how you can say “no” in a future post. So, stay tuned.

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However, in reality, why would you continue to help someone who doesn’t share your values? I know, I know, we don’t want to think that people would do such things; however, they do.

That’s why we all need to draw the line in the sand. Not everyone is of good moral fiber and thus, are not as deserving.

I like to think of it this way, help once, and do what you can to help so long as it doesn’t break you. This could mean financially and/or mentally. So, hold firm and don’t sacrifice your values for those who have none. Trust me, you will get more satisfaction out of helping those who are mutually supportive. Or at the very least, are able to pay it forward.

I feel so strongly about not being taken advantage of, that it’s one of the lessons I really drove home to my children. And that’s exactly what I called it – the $20 phenomenon.

They, like the rest of us, need to know that it’s okay to set boundaries and that the word “no” isn’t always bad. Moreover, it’s important that they learn that not all people have good motives.

So, protect your mental health by not letting people take more than they give back. Your kindness is not a crime, and you shouldn’t feel shame because of it.

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Finally, boundaries allow you to keep reaping the benefits of being kind to others. whilst at the same time, cutting out those who are truly unworthy. A firm line in the sand will help you obtain maximum satisfaction, restore your faith in the world, and your mental health will thank you!

Pro Tip: Say this to yourself to start your journey into setting boundaries:

“Not everyone is worthy of my kindness and that’s ok.”

In crisis? Go to Crisis Services Canada

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The 20-dollar phenomenon Copyright – 2022

Jonathan Arenburg

Jonathan Reginald-Nixon Arenburg (Born January 14, 1976) is a Canadian mental health blogger, speaker, and published author. Retired from the fire service and long-term care fields, he has written and self-published an autobiographical account of his life-long battle with anxiety, depression and more recently, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Titled, The Road To Mental Wellness, he wrote it for what he calls “therapeutic release.” He published it in hopes it would help others going through similar mental health conditions. The sales of The Road To Mental Wellness have been steady selling over 300 copies since its release on October 10, 2021(World Mental Health Day). Arenburg has also been involved in a collaborative publication Called Lemonade Stand Volume III, a book featuring 20 authors who bravely tell their stories of PTSD. All authors where from the military and or emergency services. Published by Joshua Rivedal and Kathleen Myers for the i’Mpossible project, a mental health advocacy organization. Jonathan has also appeared on several mental health podcasts including The Depression Files, A New Dawn, and The Above Ground Podcast Arenburg has also consulted with the Government of Nova Scotia and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, the Honorable Brian Comer and Candidates for the New Democratic Party of Canada, on improving the mental health care system in Canada. Additionally, Jonathan was recognized in The Nova Scotia Legislature by the Honorable, Chris Palmer, Kings-North MLA, for his Book, The Road To Mental Wellness, his fight to make the mental health care system better. In addition, Chis acknowledged the support he gives to others.

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