Growing up most of us were taught to share and do what you could to be helpful to others. As we progressed through our lives some of us retained that training and felt it was our duty to help those we felt were in need. Even if it meant going out of your way to do something for someone you didn’t really want to do. The first time I realized that everyone didn’t operate that way I was completely blown away. How is it when someone needed me I felt it was my duty, but when I needed someone they had the option to say no. I must say it took me a few years to really grasp that concept and to fully understand why. And unfortunately the culprit is my mother. (sorry mom) All my life I watched my mother bend over backward, sideways, and upside down to help other people. I would notice how she struggled when she needed help and very few people came to her rescue, but I just figured it was because she didn’t have a HUGE amount of people in the area that she was really close too. As I got older I realized that wasn’t really the case my mom just had, what I called, a giving heart. There was no one, stranger, foe, or friend, that she wouldn’t stop to help. So I figured that was how you were supposed to be, always helpful no matter what. Well, at the age of 32, I started to noticing the same thing that I saw my mother doing, I was starting to do, and with the same outcome. No one there to help me out when I needed it, other than a few select people. And you hate to run those people into the ground so I save them for “emergencies”. But what I really noticed was, I am worn out. All this running around trying to do for everyone else and then trying to make sure that I am taking care of home too; it’s just too much. I can’t do everything, not without serious physical and emotional consequences. So around in 2008, I realized that I was not obligated to do a thing, if I didn’t want too. I actually could tell someone “No” and it was ok. Now it took me a while to be able to say no and not feel guilty. But I am healthier overall. Yes I do still feel guilty from time to time when I am asked if I can or do I want too and I say no. And it doesn’t make me a bad person, it means I am not stretching myself thin, which makes me unavailable to the people who really matter and deserve 100%. My children…. The other thing I learned along the way is I can set limitations. If its something that doesn’t put me completely out or I would have to alter my schedule to do, I can explain that I can help from time a to time b and then I’m done. If the person is ok with that then cool, if not that’s ok too. And you know what? It feels great to set boundaries. It is very empowering to not have to do something you don’t really want to do for the sake of not hurting someone’s feelings (wish I had learned that lesson a LONG time ago) I still have a LONG way to go when it comes to speaking up for myself and not letting people take advantage of my giving heart. But every baby step gets me closer to a happier and healthier me.. Have a great day and remember its ok to say no!!!!