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He’s a mule, he can’t help himself

I was talking to a friend this week. He used a phrase, which I hadn’t heard before. His words went off in me like a firecracker.

My friend said, “The man is a mule, and he can’t help himself. He treats his employees as mules because he thinks like a mule. He loads them down. One of the ladies who worked for him was treated like a mule, but she is a racehorse.”

Wow! I jumped into the conversation.

“I’ve been there myself, and I wondered how I got there. Yes, I know the lady and she is a racehorse. She is valuable and he depended on her completely. She negotiated for him, and she ran his business better than he could himself.

“She was off duty, and we were in Walgreens. He called her five times asking her what to do. At the time I wondered if he recognized her worth and what he had in her as an employee.”

My friend said, “No, he didn’t.”

My question to him was, “Does he know what he lost?”

And he said, “Probably not. Because he thinks like a mule.”

How sad, I thought. It has happened to me many times and I couldn’t understand why.

We, who are doers, always go over the top and do more than what is required from us. Then we are disappointed that our worth is not validated. I’m sure it has probably happened to you, too.

Her needy employer made her feel important because she was needed, and it gave her a sense of meaning, purpose and importance. She was willing to work for a small amount, because her ego was being fed. He validated her by asking her to do what he couldn’t do, but he was treating her like a mule and continued to load her down.

The employer was acting out of the mind of who he is — nothing wrong with it … that’s who he is.  But, if you are a racehorse, it makes you think less of yourself. It takes away your value.

I know. We artists are notorious for operating from someone else’s point of view. We create and others do not see the worth of what we created. They can’t; they don’t operate in that creative flow.

Some people want a deal, they want to know how long it takes to paint a piece. They do not want to pay what it is worth.  They do not take into account that you have painted for 45 years, honing your talent.

I have someone right now who wants to buy a particular piece I painted. She wants to give me a fourth of what I am asking. She wants it, but she doesn’t want to pay the price.

The painting is priced right. I’m not giving in on this one. Not too many years ago, I would have sold it, and felt bad about myself later. I would have questioned my own worth and talent.

Others might never see our worth. We have to come to it within ourselves. I would have probably justified myself by thinking I could paint another piece just like it. That’s not taking away the problem.

There are many people walking around wounded, feeling like victims and not understanding why they allowed themselves to be taken advantage of. They aren’t being treated as who they are, possibly because they do not understand who they are.

Final brushstroke: Recognize who you are. You can’t blame anyone else. Only a racehorse owner will recognize a fine racehorse. You’ll make them plenty of money, and they will be glad to pay you what you’re worth.

Artist’s quote

“Sometimes we expect more from others because we would be willing to do that much for them.” — Unknown.


This story was posted on November 19, 2012.