“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~Dr. Seuss
As children we are taught to just say no, and we do it with abandon.
Want to come inside and have dinner? No! Want to switch off the TV and go grocery shopping? No! Want to wear the red holiday sweater dad bought you last year? You know where this is heading.
Then we grow up and learn about etiquette. We understand that sometimes we need to do things that we do not want to. We get that other people’s feelings matter and we need to consider them before making choices and decisions.
What we do not always learn or understand is how to strike a balance between doing for others and doing for ourselves.
We often say that we value our time, but it becomes very difficult when we field a million requests through calls, email, and text.
We understand that we need to hold our ground if we want to be productive or stay sane but we do not want to disappoint people, or even worse, leave them alone when they need us.
It is important to offer compassion and help, sometimes even make sacrifices, but being everything to everyone will backfire eventually. At some point you would not have much left to give.
You will do things, but you’ll feel exhausted. You will give your attention, but it will be distracted. You will say you don’t mind, but you’ll feel resentful within.
Decide what activities you need to do for you, and then make sure to do them. Decide how much time you need for yourself. And then try to work around those hours. And if someone asks you to do something or makes a request that conflicts, unless it absolutely needs immediate attention, tell you them you’d love to help but you have something important planned.
Whatever it is, it is important. You can only be strong and useful for the people around you if you honour your needs, time and efforts as much as theirs. If you genuinely want to make them happy, do what you need to do for you. Once you have fulfilled your needs, you will find it easier to help others and be there for them.