For the longest time, I was one of those people who lived to say YES to everyone! I was a people pleaser, I felt a profound longing to always give and to be generous. I wanted everyone around me to be happy, and so I would do whatever it took and whatever was asked of me. I would be over generous with my money, my time, you name it; if it was within my reach I would give. I am results oriented, and a natural giver so over time I attracted takers, who exploited the fact.
My giving certainly wasn’t because the Bible said give, and you shall receive. Over the years, with self analysis I realised I liked being needed and it made me feel important to be contributing positively to someone else’s life. You could come to me and my natural and immediate response would be to try and fix it. Whatever ‘it’ was. I would agree and commit to people’s requests when I had so many deadlines myself. I wanted some sort of recognition and got instant gratification from solving whatever the task was. No task was too big. ‘Yes we can’, was my motto.
Over time, I’ve realised that I am a ‘fixer’. I like doing things, and I enjoyed the recognition that comes from being the one that ‘saved the day’.
I was one of those people who would never be able to say ‘no, I’m sorry I can’t make it”.
So instead I’d say ‘YES, I’ll be there” and then switch off my phone and come up with a long and convoluted story about food poising and why I couldn’t join them. I cringe as I’m typing this because if any of my friends are reading this, they can now connect the dots. (I’m sure they connected them long before now)
Over time I realised I was only hurting myself. Being the person that helps all the people, all the time, with all of the requests eventually burns you out. I would help people and friends out so much that when I wasn’t available to help, they’d turn on me, and call me selfish. Forgetting the endless times when I was there.
I still am a giver, but I’ve just learnt where and how to successfully give without burning out on resources and energy.
Are you a YES person like I used to be? How does one find a health balance?
· Understand that by being a YES person, you are denying yourself of your own freedom, stop being a people pleaser.
· Prioritize who you want to help, don’t always say YES without thinking twice. When inundated with requests – range them in order of priority – family first, close friends, business associates e.t.c
· Reject the temptation to say yes to everything. For instance, Explain why you can’t be a full part of a project; offer to help align a specific part of it where you naturally fit in, you strength lies, and it wouldn’t be too tasking.
· Understand that you don’t have to be everything to everyone: ask people who approach you to choose one or better still choose for them: Either your time, your knowledge, your influence – they can’t take it all. This way you avoid being burnt out.
· Be cautious and study people. Stay away from people (no matter how nice they may seem) who always want to take and give nothing back in return. Direct your energy elsewhere.
· If you really can’t help, i.e you don’t have the time or resources, don’t string anyone along by giving empty promises. Give them a simple NO and send them on their way.
· Stall – It’s perfectly okay to request some time to think about it. Then be honest to yourself about how realistic it is for you to commit to their request at that given time.
· You can enliven, support and encourage others at a time to suit you so that you don’t eventually feel resentful of the time you’ve given. If someone wants your time, it has to be at a convenience to you.
· Learn to say NO and that’s the end of discussion. Explaining the reason why you’ve said ‘No’ can give people the position to guilt trip you or retort with “Oh, please just come later then, please adjust your schedule etc etc.
· Don’t fear the fact that people will stop liking you or call you selfish – let them say. People will talk anyway!
Are you a YES person? Please add to this thread. How have you successfully interacted with others without getting burnt out?