I Have a Hard Time Saying No!
And people take advantage of my kindness
Dear Tamara: I have a hard time saying no, especially when it comes to my family and friends. Even when I don’t feel like it, I find myself running errands, hosting events and volunteering for projects. I have even lent money that I really didn’t have to spare because I felt bad saying no to someone in need. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy helping other people and I like that people know that they can depend on me, but lately I feel like people are taking advantage of my kindness. I’m so busy doing things for others that I don’t have any time for myself. It’s hard for me to say no because I hate disappointing others and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I don’t want people to feel like I don’t care.
Dear Yes Girl: There is nothing wrong with helping family and friends or volunteering your time to help others. But there is a problem when you’re giving creates a problem or an imbalance in your life. Even when you’re doing good and helping others, if you are out of balance, it can be to your detriment. Helping others should not interfere with your personal goals or cause you to feel burnt out. Your time is just as valuable as anyone else’s and you should not give your time when you need to be focused on something else. The same goes for for your money. Lending money you don’t have to lend creates stress and an imbalance in your checkbook!
Whoever said that saying “No,” is a bad thing or that the word itself is a bad word? Probably the people asking for the most favors. Saying no, does not have to come off negative and end with the other person feeling rejected, disappointed, upset or mad. If you can’t or don’t want do something, say so. Be honest and upfront. If necessary, share the reason why you are declining an invitation or why you can’t provide the help someone is requesting. Sometimes a simple explanation can soothe any hurt or disappointed feelings.
Also, you have to take care of yourself before you can help others. I know the airplane emergency instructions have become an overused analogy, but they are still effective and one of my favorite things to say: You to secure your own mask before helping others with theirs. You have to take care of yourself before you can help or take care of anyone else. This includes your time and money!
Revisit your priorities and set some boundaries. Say yes when you can and no when you can’t. Don’t give or lend what you don’t have. Hopefully, your family and friends will understand.