No is such a tiny word. Two letters – see that?

When my two year old asks for something, I have no problem saying no. If my amazingly long-suffering friend from across town asks for us to meet up and let the kids play – I can say no. The former is a mom thing, the latter is pure laziness and social exhaustion.

But if someone asks for help with something I’m fully capable of helping with?

Let me push this here, arrange that there, get less sleep – sure, I’d love to help.

I have a huge problem saying no.

Because I love to help people. I want to help people.

The thing is, sometimes I exhaust myself with it all. My natural instinct is to do it, to cram everything I can into my day and more. Age is catching up with me and my brain doesn’t seem to like working late into the night as much as it used to. I now work from 8pm-10pm, go to bed by 10:30pm, sleep by 11:00pm, wake up at 5am, and work for two hours before the kid wakes up. While she’s at school on a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – I get another two hours or so.

I have major anxiety issues which I tend to deal with by making lists. If I can keep things under control, mark them off, and see myself making progress – I can keep that anxiety under control, step away from its control of me. Lately it’s become a little more difficult. Somehow I’ve piled so much on my plate, that I’m having issues making any sort of headway. This leads to panic, which leads to a spiral, which leads to snappiness and irritability and well, it’s not a pretty sight.

The thing is, it’s no one’s fault but my own. It’s just me being too eager, taking on too much.

I know a lot of people who do this. There’s this genuine willingness to help others that just makes you want to push things aside. It’s not a bad thing, but you have to try and temper it with everything else. This is where I, personally, fail abysmally.

Thing is, I don’t want to stop helping others, I don’t want to stop offering to help people who might need it. And please, this isn’t just writing. It’s life in general. Many, many things.

But I think I need to try a little harder. Maybe slot in some of my own time?

Whatever happens, I think a lot of us could benefit from learning that saying no doesn’t make us a bad person.

It just makes us human.