I used to say “yes” to everyone, and I had no idea that it meant that I was saying “no” to myself. My friends and family have always been important, and I would always make time for as many people that I could. Sometimes, I would be exhausted, but I would trek to a friend’s home if they needed an ear. If I had money, I would give it to others without question. I would take calls at all times from broken hearted friends. Most often, some friends would do what I call an energy dump. I would absorb it all emotionally.
Fortunately, I learned that it’s not the way to be. I can’t be everywhere all of the time or be there for everyone. Saying no to invitations was difficult, because I always respected them. I had learned saying “no” to others a few years back, but I never felt so tested until my Hurricane Sandy recovery period. My time became very important to rebuilding my life. I spent endless hours cleaning, going through things, and getting my necessities in order to get back to a somewhat normal life. All of it while working full time. That is when I began saying “no” more frequently. Mostly, because all of my energy was being spent on me. It was a very financially trying time as most of the “necessary” things required more than pocket change.
A lot of those who were used to seeing me everywhere began wondering if I had something against them. What they didn’t realize or bother to ask was what I was spending my time and money on.
So after that period of my life, I kept saying “no” to things. I started managing other’s expectations and letting them know what I could or not do. I also began to be more selective about who I spent my time with. Surrounding myself with positive people at all times has always been important. No matter how hard life was for me at that time, some people just wanted to drain my energy. They were continuously focused on themselves, and are what I call energy vampires.
Not giving my energy to those people allowed me to focus on replenishing my own. Of course I continue to be there for those that I love, and the ones who love me back. I’m now more strict about how much time I give to energy vampires. After all they are everywhere, and can be our own friends and family. At times, I just simply don’t engage. Saying “no” and setting boundaries is key to saying “yes” to ourselves. Most people will figure out their issues on their own, and in the mean time I can do something fun for myself, minus the bad energy dump.