Saying no is hard

I try very hard not to live in a selfish me-me-me bubble, where I go about my days thinking only of myself, while stepping over homeless people and kicking puppies.  Instead, when someone needs help, I want to be the one to jump in and make everything better.  I want to make a difference, to be the solution to the problem.  Whenever I am asked to do something, be it for my friends or my boss, I try to make it happen.  Lately I’ve been realizing that this isn’t always the best plan of action (as it’s literally impossible to do everything for everyone) and I have been slowly learning how to say “no”. 

Case in point: a couple of opportunities came up recently that I had to turn down (albeit with some hesitation).  I was approached by employees of two small, local companies asking me if I would be willing to come in and help them plow through some paperwork and make a bunch of phone calls.  They wouldn’t be able to pay me, but it would be a “great resume builder” and, most importantly, would “really help them out”.  My immediate reaction was to say “yes”.  Not only do I believe in the mission of both companies, but I also wanted to help them catch up on their work and possibly put them ahead of the game.

Unfortunately, I am not in a place to take an unpaid position, especially if it's going to require a good deal of my time.  I am trying to pay off my student debt, and am most likely going to need to take a second paid job as it is.  Two jobs, plus blogging, plus practicing my music, plus making sure I am taking care of myself and working hard at therapy (my number one priority) doesn’t leave me much time to take on two internships just because “it would really help them out”.  Because, as easy as it sounds to file paperwork and make phone calls, it’s pretty difficult to do when you’re dead and/or a raging ball of stress.

So I said no to both, which initially led to aforementioned ball of stress.  I knew that I was letting people down (if only temporarily, because I’m sure they’ll find someone else) and the fact that I couldn’t be the person they could count on was like a punch to the stomach.  I spent a long time walking around my room in circles, taking deep breaths and reminding myself why I said “no” and why it’s okay.

After doing so, I feel so much better.  I know that I am taking care of myself and making decisions that benefit me.  In the future, I do want to be the person to rely on, but I can’t do that if I am not strong myself. Until then, I have to learn how to make tough decisions and only allow good things into my life ~ things that are going to help me get better and get me closer to where I want to be ~ healthy, happy and generally kicking butt.

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