There’s something to be said for amiability. Smiling pleasantly, getting along, going along. People like amiable people. You know what happens to those who are so affable, so unbelievably agreeable? They get stuck doing EVERYTHING!
That used to be me, I’ll admit it. I’m a people pleaser, I like making people happy. It’s great to bask in the warmth of someone’s glowing appreciation for your thoughtfulness and consideration. Until you start to suffer. There’s only so many hours in a day, so many minutes in an hour. If you’re always “doing” for someone else, then you’re the one who is going to suffer by not properly taking care of yourself.
To make matters even worse, once you have the reputation for always helping out others, then that attracts even MORE people trying to get in on the action. You are completely and utterly overwhelmed, and your life becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
There’s a very simple way to reverse this nefarious trend…repeat after me…”No.” You can be nicer than that. Try “I’m sorry, I’m not able to help you with that.” And then just stop talking. Don’t waffle and promise to think about it, or to get to it some other time. Just say no.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to never do anything nice for anyone ever again. That’s just untenable. What I am saying is to be judicious with your time, prioritize so the important jobs are done first, followed by helping the important people in your life. You can’t do anyone any good at all if you are so busy and exhausted that you affect your own health and mental well-being. Like the flight attendants tell us, apply your own oxygen mask first before helping others. Look out for number one, so you’ll be in a better position to help those who are truly important in your life.