Their Problems Are Not Your Problems

Oftentimes, having a sense of responsibility is great, but at times it might become your undoing. While there are certain things that are expected of you, it’s possible that there are some that are forced on you and by your own hands. When you fail to set boundaries, you’ll end up being stretched thin with tons of responsibilities that initially weren’t meant for you.

Generally, people love receiving help, and there’s no better person to ask for help than a person who wouldn’t say no to a call for help. What’s more is that such calls for help often come with tasking responsibilities and having high expectations. As such, the person who’s always willing to help ends up becoming stressed and unintentionally, though at times inevitably, failing to deliver on his/her promises.

Why You Shouldn’t Fix Everything

Self-interest

Humans are generally termed egoists who often chase after their interests above that of others. While it’s great to help out when you can, you must place boundaries on how much you respond. Remember that your interests are on the line as well, so make it a rule to deal with your own issues first before tending to those of others.

Stress

You unknowingly sign up for inevitable stress when you try to fix everything. There are some things beyond your capabilities, and there are some that are simply just not your responsibility even though you can fix them.

Low self-esteem and Exploitation

The cold truth is that being unable to say “no” when it matters is a sign of low self-esteem. In a situation where you can’t place boundaries on how many demands people place on you, you’ll find it difficult to assert yourself and your interests. As a result, you’re bound to be exploited or taken for granted.

Failure

Generally, when there’s too much on your plate, you’ll most likely fail to deliver on some responsibilities. You are only one person. Taking on too much is harmful for productivity, and what’s worse is that when you fail to deliver, you won’t be spared the guilt, condemnation, or consequences. When you can’t say no and end up with tons more obligations, you’re bound to panic due to the fear of failing. Eventually, failure happens, and you end up taking the blame.

Poor Compensation

People who often are exploited are hardly compensated accordingly. After struggling to cater to external demands, you end up receiving pats on the back with no extra value for your trouble. As a rule, fix only what’s worth your time and would offer genuine value in return, be it in a returned favor, payment, or genuine personal satisfaction.

How to Say “No” 

Boundaries are important in life. When used appropriately, they establish your sense of worth and keep you safe from being exploited. To get started on saying “no” when it matters, you must first resolve it in your mind that saying “no” is healthy. It doesn’t mean that you’re wicked, neither does it mean you’re arrogant. Saying “no” when it matters is your key to ensuring your interests and striking a balance between your availability and the demands of others.

Pause and Think

When someone comes to you with a demand or request, rather than act on impulse, pause for a while. Think about the request if you’re comfortable with handling it. If you’re okay handling it, are you comfortable handling it for the recipient? While some tasks are simple, it’s the person who is actually unbearable. So, to save yourself a terrible experience, avoid agreeing to tasks from unpleasant, unstable, or unappreciative people.

Your Responsibilities Come First

In order to say “no” and stand by it, remember that you have your own responsibilities to tend to. You can only save ‘lives’ when you and your life is in order. Take care of your responsibilities first before contemplating helping another.

Be Courteous Yet Firm

Saying “no” is often met with pleas meant to persuade you into saying “yes”. Don’t fall for them. As calmly as you can, say “no” and stand your ground. Where persuasive pleas keep coming, try to change the topic so you don’t have to go back and forth on the impossible request.

Demand Compensation

Of course, in general, it is not common to demand compensation when you are just ‘helping’ someone out. But where your “no” is being challenged either by pleas or blackmail, your best option would be to ask for reasonable compensation for the help required. Demanding compensation is a great way to discourage people from trying to shift your stance.

Offer Alternatives

True, there are instances in which your help is genuinely required. In such cases and when there’s a clash between your responsibilities and a genuine request, you might find it hard to say “no”. However, the best way to handle such moments is to say “no” by offering an alternative such as delegating or referring them to someone else who can handle the task.

Prepare for Conflict

Sometimes saying “no” is met with zero resistance, but some other times it is met with hostility – you might end up making enemies just because you decided against something that wasn’t in your best interest. Conflicts arising from you standing your ground are perfectly normal, so don’t be bothered. You can deal with perceived conflicts via talking directly to the person involved or explaining yourself to a superior or neutral party.

Last Words

Offering a helping hand is a great way to live and impact the lives of others. But it can be spurned out of control so much so that it can put you at a disadvantage. Be it at your workplace, amongst friends, family, or even your partner, it is vital you establish and maintain boundaries that’ll enable you to help others without jeopardizing your own interests or self-worth.

Being taken for granted happens when you try to be there for everyone and fix everything and everyone. You are not a superhuman. You cannot do it all. The question you should ask yourself is this: who is there for me? Reciprocity is the bedrock of every relationship. You shouldn’t be the only one giving, just as you shouldn’t be the only one receiving. Give when you can with an open heart but set the necessary boundaries to ensure your precious heart doesn’t get taken for granted or end up full of resentment.

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