Show of hands, ladies, how many times do we get caught in the habit of over extending ourselves just to do for other people? We will swear up and down that there is a visible S on our chest and immune from burnout. I have a very empathetic heart and I feel for people, especially those closest to me. I’m always volunteering myself to help people or saying “yes” when asked, knowing DAWG ON WELL I should have said no. I burn out and complain about being so “busy” when my “busyness” is under my control. What sense does that make Alana?!?!
Why do we fear saying the word no so much? If we do say no, we feel the need to follow it up with an explanation as to why we are saying no to lighten the “blow” or to prevent an awkward silence from happening. I can’t speak for everybody, but I do think that for those of us who tend to never say no do share a common thread:
For some strange reason, we may feel as though we owe people and feel obligated to always tell someone yes when they request help. Maybe once upon a time, you did owe someone and maybe you already paid that debt. Yet and still, when they call, we come running. Don’t ever let someone guilt you into thinking you constantly owe them something. Close friends and family members fall under this category. The word no could potentially cause strife within those relationships, but if the other party allows that to happen, there were deeper issues than the request we just declined to help with.
“WHO ELSE WILL HELP THEM” SYNDROME
I got this real bad. I have some people close to me that struggle in ways I couldn’t even fathom going through. I am often times the friend that gets called when they need to vent, need a ride, some cash, a babysitter, etc. It weighs heavy on me sometimes. Especially when I know their story firsthand and know how hard it is for them to get help elsewhere. It wears me thin and I’m not effective within my own household after doing so much for others. It also carries a sense of arrogance in which we believe this is a role that only we can accomplish. Refrain from committing to something beyond your capacity.
COMMITTED TO A “YES” WITH UNCERTAINTY
This can be a little tricky. Of course, you should follow through with the commitment once you have already given the okay BUT if there is a chance that you cannot help, let that person know ahead of time so they can make the proper arrangements. Simply out of respect. If something pop off because there has been a change in plans, so be it. You did your part in letting the other party know ahead of time, hopefully 🙂
Yes, we will receive backlash. Especially from those who try to make us feel obligated. The sooner that people understand that nobody in this world owes us anything, the better. In the mean time, we have to be proactive in creating boundaries.
- Take care of home first. Household is FIRST priority.
- You are no good to others if you aren’t good to self.
- No means no. You are not obligated to provide justification or an apology
- Be consistent
How society defines the role of a woman in combination with our nurturing spirit goes against this entire post. If we are assertive, you know the word they like to call us. Not true. Our voices are not made to always be in agreement with others or to be a “yes wo-man.” It is going to feel uncomfortable the first couple of times. There may be times requests are not beyond our capacity but the timing is horrible or we just aren’t comfortable getting involved. There may be awkward silence or some type of conflict may ensue after we say no. We have to advocate for self!
We cannot save everybody nor is that what we were created to do. Sometimes the most we can do is pray, which is something I hope would be accepted. Be mindful that of the word that says:
“My grace is sufficient for you. For my strength is made perfect in your weakness”-2 Corinthians 12:9
“Casting all your cares upon him; for he cares for you”- 1 Peter 5:7
“For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”- Jeremiah 29:11
Personal Note: Know that my “no” does not come from a place of selfishness but from a place of self- preservation. I have to set my own boundaries and ensure that mine is taken care of, and also ensure that I am not being an enabler because I am known to always say “yes.” Trust my character and my heart enough to know that if/when I do say no, that it isn’t personal. Ultimately a no will require you to return to the ultimate Source that has the power to take care of each and every need. So no, I may not always be able to help you but I can always refer you to someone who can.