I am so tired of helping everybody else and putting me last, but what am I supposed to do? My sister thinks that because I work at home, I can keep her kids while she goes to the store or to her job. My husband expects me to manage everything around the house, and the neighbor next door drops in to be entertained and has me accepting her packages “because I’m right there.” If I tell them no, maybe they won’t like me and I’ll feel selfish. Aren’t I supposed to put others first? I am exhausted and I cry all the time, plus I’m not sleeping too well. My doctor says I’m depressed. What do I do?
Last Place in My Own Life
Dear Last Place;
You are learning this hard lesson: the more we give ourselves up to please others, the less they appreciate us and the more they expect us to do. I call this, “greedy not grateful.”
A healthy life includes saying “no” to the whims and desires of others sometimes in order to take care of ourselves. You are trying to give water when your own well is dry! A lot of us think that if we just sacrifice ourselves, people will notice and appreciate it; then we get resentful when they don’t. The answer is not to try harder, but to back off and take care of ourselves. You have every right to say “no” when someone’s request is unreasonable or interferes with your own plans. Your own happiness and health depend upon you finding the freedom in the words “No, I can’t.”