You are not required to set fire to yourself to keep other people warm.- Penny Reid
This quote is a powerful one. It reminds us that we need to take care of ourselves instead of losing track of such because we are busy taking care of others. When we take care of others perpetually, we can find ourselves depleted, exhausted, and harboring resentment about the caretaking that others come to expect from us. When we give so freely of our time, resources, and/ or energy, this becomes a pattern that we and others come to expect when in relationships. How can we say ‘no’ without feeling guilty, feeling as though we are failing, or worrying that we may have let someone down?
-Learn to say ‘no’ without using the word ‘no.’ Artfully deliver your “no” by suggesting an alternative, saying, “I am sorry, but that doesn’t work for me,” or “I’m sorry, I wish I could help.”
-Stop assessing yourself based on your willingness to help others. Having boundaries is a good thing. Even if your boundary disappoints someone else, it does not mean YOU are a disappointment.
-Don’t immediately reply to everyone. When we impulsively reply, we run the risk of reacting instead of responding. Give yourself time to think about it, to truly assess whether or not it is a commitment you can make, and respond accordingly.
-Most importantly, remember this: every time you say ‘yes’ to someone, you are, by default, saying no to someone else, be it yourself, your children, or your spouse. While life requires such, make sure to have a healthy balance so that your patterns of decision making reflect your priorities instead of others’ priorities.