The Buddha taught that to realize enlightenment, a person must develop two qualities: wisdom and compassion. So if a fulfilling life is what you are after, or if you want to add some unexpected joy to your life, work in service of others. I am not referring to jobs or bosses in the traditional sense though these too can been seen as service to others. It’s truly a delicate exchange.
This delicate exchange that I am referring to, if disrespected by letting other people “step on you” by not getting something back in value (whether it is the practice itself be it teaching or whatever service you are offering), then they will eventually form a debt with you and a chronicity of theievery in their own mind.
In Buddhist tradition, monks don’t just beg and run off after they get a meal. They tend to share dharma with their benefactor. Something to think about: by letting other people “step on you”, you are enabling them to do an evil deed! Do not let them use you! This evil deed is not only their seed of retribution but your own to experience in the future as well.
So be strong, be assertive. Make sure you are happy with the exchange! Give and take value. Even if that value is just the action itself, make sure you are happy with it before doing it and not doing it too much out of guilt or pity. If you have to do it out of pity, then try to assert that you are just “making one exception” so that there is no chronicity in the person’s mind (which strangely enough is your mind as well!)
And what better way to live with integrity than to put someone else’s needs before your own?
Peace and Love, Jim