If you are a person solid as a rock, emotionally stable, committed to others, willing to help, decisive and reliable, it is likely that everyone is counting on you. It’s a positive thing. You convey confidence and security, which is why the others often ask you for advice and help in difficult times. However, becoming the person everyone counts on can also be deeply exhausting and draining.
Knowing that you are the pillar of the others can generate great psychological pressure. In fact, you probably hide your emotions to convey that image of strength and resilience that the others expect of you. However, constant pressure ends up eroding even the most solid rocks, so it is also important that you take care of yourself and learn to set limits because giving too much is not good.
Be aware of the impact of your decisions
If you are tired of being the person everyone counts on, taking care of most of the tasks and assuming other people’s responsibilities, it is essential that you establish limits that help you protect your time, preserve your emotional stability and even conserve your energy so that you can allocate it to other vital projects.
However, the first step is to be aware of your decisions. Start paying attention to the consequences of your responses. How does every “yes” you say affect you? What do you decide to dedicate your time, attention and energy to? Why do you do it? How do those decisions influence your mood, vitality, well-being and happiness?
You may discover that the force of habit has led you to overload yourself with tasks, responsibilities and obligations that do not belong to you. You may find that saying “yes” to everything and everyone is taking its toll on you. This small exercise of introspection will serve to bring to light that automatic tendency to give too much and realize its consequences in your life.
Next, ask yourself what you really want. Consider what you need, beyond cultural conditioning. Does that life satisfy you or do you need a change? True transformation will occur when you are aware of what really brings, nourishes and revitalizes you. This way you will begin to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Prepare to stop being the person the others want you to be
Helping the others ennobles, but everything has a limit. Giving too much is not good. When you become the pillar on which everyone holds on, your strength can begin to falter and you run the risk of living for the others, neglecting your own needs and desires.
To avoid this, the question you should ask yourself is not: “Can I do what they are asking me?” but rather: “Can I do what they ask of me without harming myself?” This way you will begin to prioritize your mental health and you will be able to have a life plan that is not constantly interrupted by the demands and needs of those around you.
If you can’t keep giving, you’ll have to start introducing “no” into your vocabulary. People may be perplexed at first and try to pressure or convince you to help them or take on certain tasks, but you need to stand your ground and learn to deal with their disappointment.
Not being the person the other person wants you to be can be deeply disturbing, especially when a dependency relationship has been established. Therefore, you will have to prepare yourself to endure the disappointment of the others without giving in.
We have been taught that we are strong when we give the others what they ask of us. But the truth is that it takes more strength to go against the current and become the person we want to be, regardless of social expectations.
You have the right to say “No” without feeling guilty
When a request does not make you feel good or represents a weight that you are not willing to carry on your shoulders, it is better to be honest and not make excuses. Saying “No” sounds strange because we are not used to others expressing their feelings so directly.
Since childhood we have been taught the idea that a refusal is not enough and even sounds rude, so we must accompany it with an apology – even if it is invented – but if you want to set limits and have more time to build the life you want, the most direct way can be a simple “No.”
Saying kindly “I don’t want to,” but without a trace of guilt, can be particularly empowering. Remember that just as the people around you want to count on you, you have the right to say that you do not want them to count on you on that occasion. After all, you are not in the world to satisfy other people’s expectations.
That does not mean becoming selfish and ignoring the needs of the others. The key is to find a balance between giving and receiving. Identify the situations and people that are really important to you and who need you, as well as the tasks that you can delegate and the responsibilities that are not yours to assume.
The golden rule is not to do for others what they can do for themselves. Help whoever needs it when they really need it. Do not assume other people’s obligations because this will only saturate you and reduce opportunities for them to mature and assume responsibilities.
If you realize that you are giving too much and have become the person on whom everyone dumps their problems and duties, it may be time to reconfigure your priorities in life, be more demanding with the way you spend your time and choose to dedicate your energy only to what is really worthwhile. This way you can break the habit of giving too much to focus on building the life you want and deserve.