“If you just enchanted one person per day, you would make a big dent in the universe.” ~Guy Kawasaki
I often look at my best friend and admire how she wants to help everyone.
I mean everyone.
Someone is moving? She’s there packing.
Someone’s car breaks down? She’s offering a ride and getting it towed for you.
Someone needs furniture? She finds someone willing to donate what they no longer need.
The list goes on.
I’m amazed at her generosity. She sometimes thinks of ways to help that would never even occur to me.
These generous acts of kindness aren’t reserved for holidays or birthdays. These are everyday occurrences and they always make someone’s day brighter. I doubt she realizes the impact she has or how many people she has made a difference for.
The thing is this. When you are a loving, helping soul—like my friend—it’s hard to set boundaries. Suddenly, you are being called on for things any time of day or night. People figure that if you helped last time, you’ll help this time too. They begin to rely on your generosity to get them out of a jam or to help them find a solution they need.
I see this happen with my friend often. I’ll be with her when a text comes in for a ride to work, for a crazy amount of cash, for life altering advice, an apartment to rent, for a special order birthday cake. (Yes, these things all happened.)
And I see my friend giving what she can, but also struggling with how to say no when she can’t.
You see, it’s in her nature to help. It’s in her DNA to solve problems. It’s in her soul to extend and give and give and give.
But sometimes I want her to know she doesn’t have to say yes every time. She doesn’t have to fulfill every request, no matter how small it may be, and she doesn’t need to swoop in and clean up the epic mess someone’s made in her personal life.
I want her to see that just being her—the bright ray of light and love that she is—is enough. She makes a difference by being the person that answers the call. Sometimes answering the call, even if it’s to say no, is enough.
Her very presence is enough.
Her smile, her grace, her laugh and her love is more than enough.
This is something we talk about a lot and she has gotten better about only saying yes, when it’s a hell yes. When it feels like a maybe or a not sure or a no, she does her best to honor that.
So this message isn’t for her. It’s for all you other lightworkers who want to want to save everyone and fix every problem. It’s for all you caring souls who want to shower a person with love, affection, time and money until all is well.
Sometimes you can be someone’s superhero and that’s a wonderful thing. But sometimes you can’t, and that’s okay too.
Don’t break your own heart in the process of trying to heal someone else’s.
You can’t help everyone. You can’t make everyone see the light. You can’t inspire change when the person isn’t ready to be inspired.
Know this truth: You can’t always be the one who teaches every lesson and solves every problem.
Even if the person falters or fails, trust that there is a reason for that too. You cannot always be the answer, the giver of good deeds or the lifesaver. It’s an impossible role so don’t cast yourself in it.
All you can do is be who you are and trust that is enough. Because it is.
Remember, being who you are always feels much more comfortable than stretching yourself into someone you are not.
Being someone you are not, even if you are helping others, can eventually lead to despair, exhaustion and resentment. If it’s not a hell yes, a yes that feels right to the core of your being, you must honor yourself and say no.
When you honor who you are, people will respect your decision even if they don’t immediately like it. Tweet that!
Because consider this. Maybe the time you can’t help is the time that person may figure it out on his own. Maybe you are offering a valuable gift by stepping back and loving someone from afar. Sometimes the people you love don’t need you to hold their hands, but rather, they need you to let them go.
Saying no is often more generous than saying yes.
And though it may be hard to see in the moment, there’s a good chance that eventually you’ll receive a thank you for the no you gave when they were praying for a yes.
There’s also a chance you might not, but that doesn’t matter. You’re not doing it for the sake of a thank you. You’re doing it for the sake of your sanity and the hope for their ultimate well-being. Accept your choice no matter the outcome. Trust in your choices and don’t question them later.
Release the pressure to feel like you have to be everything to everyone at every time.
All the world needs is for you to be you.