Once upon a time, there was a girl who didn’t know anything about boundaries, simply because she had none. I was a typical yes person, a people pleaser, who wouldn’t and couldn’t say no. Back then, I thought I could do it all. It wasn’t just about pleasing others. There was also the fear of missing out. Do I meet this person or that? Why not both? Do I work on this or go meet a friend. I’ll do both. Am I really going to disappoint others and say no? Why not squeeze it in somewhere in my schedule? I’m sure I could do that.
Do you want to know what that was? It was an exhausting intrinsic trait, a combination of trying to please others and do it all. Eventually, your willingness to help attracts all sorts of wrong people, those who would notice how nice you are and ask for more because you never say no. Well, there are some people who really need help. But there are also others out there who say why do they have to do something if the generosity of your heart will let you do it for them? So, why bother if they could just ask you, the kind, gentle, nodding you?
Even if I find myself feeling overwhelmed, I still don’t say no. I imagine that people would eventually realize they are overwhelming me with their requests. As a person, I find it really hard to ask for help because I’m not fond of giving others any trouble. And I thought people would do the same for me. They would be considerate and wouldn’t give me any trouble. So, you can say that for a long time, I counted on people’s judgment. Yes, that didn’t work,
If you think that others can feel your pain or put themselves in your shoes, you’re so mistaken. People can be so self-involved. They cannot read minds. If you don’t believe me, try to tell somebody, anybody about something you’ve been through. Now, what you’ll get won’t be any sympathy. Most people will automatically just refer to their experience. I know exactly what you mean. I’ve been there. And now you’re listening to their story, to their own drama, something more tragic than what you were just narrating.
To cut it short, if you love to help others but are too shy to say no and you think others might go easy on you. Let me tell you that is not going to happen. Not everyone is considerate, not everyone understands. Well, it took me a couple of years to figure that out.
Eventually, life will teach you an important lesson. You can’t just do everything whether for lack of energy or time. You need to choose carefully what you can do and be aware of what you say yes to. Because there are only a number of YESs that you have time for within a day.
It was around that time that I knew about setting boundaries. It was also around the same time that I found out about toxic people and that they are energy and time vampires. Of course not everyone who asks you for a favor is toxic, but those who expect you to say yes to whatever they ask for are toxic. There are two expected answers to every request: yes or no. Only grownups get that. If your NOs, a human right by the way, are met with disgruntled faces, or you feel pressured to say yes, run for your life.
For a long time, I didn’t say no because I didn’t not want to offend, but in not offending others, I hurt myself. Don’t spend all your time doing tasks that you don’t like for someone who doesn’t respect your time or energy. When you forget to set your boundaries, people cross them. There are those who have no shame in asking you, have no shame in saying no to them. No one can drain your energy without your permission. If you feel like you’re going to lose someone for taking care of yourself, then that someone is not worth keeping. Time is precious. Don’t fall for the entitled, spoilt brats out there. Be brave and say no sometimes. Your loved ones won’t hate you for it. The inner you will thank you for it.