It’s so easy to get caught up in people-pleasing and putting other people’s needs first, that we may be unintentionally overextending ourselves, hampering our ability to put time and attention toward our own needs. We may be so used to saying yes to others and putting other people’s needs first that we may barely notice we’re even doing it! Or it may be such a part of your life that we’ve turned to unhealthy coping skills to numb out or take a break (like binge eating or substances), which only adds to your problems in the long-run!
Helping others is absolutely wonderful, but when we help others all the time, we may be distracting ourselves from paying attention to our own needs and wants. Maybe this feels more comfortable- paying attention to a neglected self can come with a harsh reality check. Or you may even feel that you don’t deserve the attention as much as someone else you love and care for- that your energy may be put to better use helping someone else (which is so not true!).
All this saying yes to others comes at a huge cost. When you don’t take care of yourself, your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health suffers. This not only adds to your own suffering and misery, but it actually makes you less able to help others! People notice when you are suffering- and it affects them too. When you are cultivating a healthy and vibrant life, with limits, self-care, and positive habits, this energy is infectious. Equally infectious is negative energy- emotions, and unhealthy limit setting. Would you want the people you love sacrificing their own health for your wellbeing? Of course not!
So saying “no” to others is just about the kindest thing to do for yourself and for the people around you. It models healthy limit setting, which gives an example for your loved ones of how to set limits to prevent overextending. It also keeps your body, mind, and soul-centered in a positive place. That way, when people really need you, your tank is totally full and you’re ready to go!
If this resonates with you, consider practicing saying “no” more often in your life. When you say “no” to others, you’re really saying “yes” to yourself, and if that isn’t an act of self-love I don’t know what is!
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