Let me start by saying it is not selfish to put yourself first. My mother always told me to never stretch yourself so thin that you have nothing left to give to you. Have you ever felt like you just need to be there whenever someone calls you? I felt like that for most of my life. I felt if I said no to anyone that I wasn’t honoring the respect that my parents taught me. So I would say yes to things I didn’t want to do and was always available whenever anyone would call. Today I only say yes when I feel up to helping and it’s not all the time.
I had to learn that it was ok to say no sometimes. I learned nothing was going to happen if I said no. The worst thing that could have happened was the person would have to find another alternative. Which they would have done if you weren’t around anyway. I started to understand that it was ok to take a break from doing things for others to do things for me. Let’s face it, those people who you do things for will put themselves first if push comes to shove. Nobody is going to take care of you like you can. So always take care of you first because if you are not well you can’t help others. Your mental health should be your first priority. Also, don’t allow other to dim your light because you’ve always been there if they are true to who they say they are. They will understand that you need a break.
Here are some signs that you are stretching yourself thin:
- Whenever you look at your phone and you dread answering it.
- When you feel like it’s a job to keep up with all yeses.
- When you know in your heart you don’t want to do something but you do it anyway.
- Not saying No when you know you’re not up to helping others.
These are the signs that you should look for. It’s also a way of knowing that it’s time to focus yourself. Learn to see the signs before you get to the fourth one. By the time I got to the fourth one I was so over it. I couldn’t figure out why I was in the worst mood because I allowed myself to say yes to any and everything. I didn’t know how to fix the problem I had caused myself. Yes, it was a big problem. Anytime somebody would ask me to help my first words was sure I’ll help. When I really wanted to say No, I can’t help you because I’m really tired and should catch up the sleep that I have been missing or I’m sick and I should be nursing myself back to health. No, I had to be there for everything anyone needed so they didn’t feel like I was letting my parents down.
Until one day my mother told me I was not letting her down. I was actually disappointing her because I was not taking care of me. I was allowing myself to be put into a space that was not healthy. I was growing to be the yes woman that my mother did not raise me to be. So I did some research on how to deal with the fear and be at peace with the idea of disappointing others. You can not please everyone I kept telling myself while trying to make yourself happy. I would say it worked. I’m no longer feeling the need to please everyone.
Heres my personal advice for you. Tell people the truth. It will save you from overexerting yourself to the point of feeling like it’s a chore to help others. When helping others should be fun and at your own will. Not because you feel like you are not honoring the values your family taught you. There are plenty of ways to help others while enjoying your peace of my mind. I will say the best thing I could have done for myself is to make sure to put me first. Some people will understand and other won’t but it’s not your place to help them understand why you need to take care of you. Also, stop explaining yourself. No one is your boss but you.