We’ve all been an “Overextending Olivia” at times. Well, most of us have. Some people don’t extend at all, but that’s not what I’m talking about today. For those of you who have trouble saying no, this article is for you.
Overextending usually comes from a good place. You want to help, you feel bad when you don’t help, and you’ve been saying yes for so long that you almost don’t even know how to say no. For some people it’s a people pleasing mentality and some people genuinely just always want to help.
The problem arises when you become so busy helping others and trying to do everything perfectly for everyone else that you forget to take care of yourself. Some of you genuinely think you can do it all without wearing down and don’t notice when you are running low on your own fuel, and some of you sacrifice your own fuel knowingly, believing that fueling others is more important. Neither of these mentalities are healthy.
The truth is, the best way for us to help others is by taking care of ourselves. Sounds counter-intuitive, but let me elaborate.
First of all, the more worn down and tired we are, the less energy we have to genuinely help others. By keeping your own health and mental and physical energy in balance, the energy that you do exert to helping someone else will be far more beneficial to them.
Also, the weaker we are, the more likely we are to let negativity creep in, which can lead to passive aggressive tendencies, which aren’t very beneficial to others either.
Most importantly, you have to make sure that your priorities are in check. Attend to the people and situations that matter most to you first, and don’t feel like you have to be the hero of every person’s crisis.
Helping should also be a two-way exchange. If you have become the person that people go to for help, but no one seems to be there when you need help, then that is a problem and only you can change that. You have to set boundaries and tell people that you just cannot do what they are asking you to do. Alternatively, let people know that you have needs too and that you feel the relationship is one-sided. People who are used to all of your yeses may react negatively at first, but ultimately anyone worth keeping in your life will respect you for it, and begin to help YOU out more as well.
So keep being the beautiful giving soul that you are, but make sure to take care of yourself and prioritize the situations you give your valuable time and energy to, and don’t be afraid to ask others to help YOU too!