Photo by: Tina Leu Fotos

It’s 6:30AM on Friday and I’ve already said “no” to two people to maintain and defend my boundaries. Actually, its been a week of noes for me.

Saying no is uncomfortable for me because I like to help people, I like to be accommodating. I was raised to believe that the measure of a human is tied to how selfless they are and how much they give.

But 40 years into life, I feel this cultural obsession with being selfless is leaving many of us feeling tired, depleted, and overextended.

I don’t want to be one of those people anymore. I want to be hopeful, compassionate, kind, and brave and I can’t do that from a place of perpetual depletion and overwhelm.

Always saying “yes” leaves me feeling like my work is worth less, that what I offer has less value. I give up a little of my power every time I say yes when I really need to say no and that’s slowly eroding the positive impact I hope to make in the world.

Conversely, saying no to the right things feels like recharging the batteries, it reminds me that someone (me) is looking out for me, monitoring my time and energy resources, and making intentional efforts to preserve my ability to be of continued service while enjoying the time I have in this life.

You don’t have to keep giving yourself away. Share only what you can spare while preserving your sense of worth and well-being — nothing more, nothing less. Let your sharing come from a place of abundance — because you have plenty to give — not emptiness or at the expense of your own physical or mental health.

Your first responsibility is to yourself. If that relationship is crap and built on deprivation in the name of selflessness, how do you expect to add value to the world and care for those who depend on you?

You are here to do something, not everything. And when you know what that something is, “no” is necessary for maximum impact.