The good news is, I have a rich, interesting and full life. The bad news is, I feel generally exhausted and spread way too thin. Even so, I find myself saying yes to more and more projects and invitations—both professional and personal—when all I really want to do is cut back.
It is, of course, nice to feel wanted. I am thrilled that so many people seem to think of me as reliable and competent, and I do genuinely love to be helpful. At the same time, I have a growing unease and nagging feeling that I consistently take on way too much, and that something has got to give.
Why do I keep saying yes, even when I want to say no? What is so difficult about uttering that simple two-letter word, and can you help me get better at it?
Dear Overly Agreeable,
Congratulations on your full and fabulous life, and an extra pat on the back to you for recognizing your good fortune.
It sounds as if, intellectually you know you have a lot to be grateful for, but your daily existence is weighed down by stress and overwhelm, and maybe even a sense of being beleaguered. This disconnect—between your circumstances and how you actually experience them—is usually a recipe for guilt and shame, an added burden that never helps in addressing any problem.
So let’s see what we can do about it.
Why is it so hard to say no, even when you want to, or suspect you truly must?
Some people extend themselves out of love, affection or a genuine desire to help whenever possible.