• Lately I’ve been pulled in so many directions that half the time I’m not sure whether I’m coming or going. I have four children and a full time job, so needless to say daily life is very busy. But somehow, on top of all of that, though I am one of six children it seems like I’m the only one who has time to help my aging parents, who are now in their late 70’s.  Furthermore, I’m also being pulled by my siblings and my in-laws for help completing various projects, even though some of these adults have no jobs and no children. Yet somehow I’m the one who makes time to help. The saying, ‘if you want to get something done then give it to a busy person,’ definitely rings true here.

    Then he simply drove off. Maybe I should have asked for help?

    For the longest time I would agree and sometimes even volunteer to help out. But then it started piling up and I felt like people were just taking advantage of me. When I put together a tree house in the backyard with my children, my brother in law came by to check out the progress. I thought he was going to offer to help out but instead he asked if I could come by and help him put one together at his house when I was done. Then he simply drove off. Maybe I should have asked for help? It seems like people are always borrowing time, but also tools and supplies so that they are often not available when I need them. Don’t get me wrong, I love to help but it gets difficult when it seems like the help only goes in one direction.  I was beginning to build resentment towards people I used to like to help and about doing things I usually enjoyed doing. Something had to change.

    Then, one day I realized that I have control over my own time.  I do what I do because it makes me happy and feels like the right thing to do.  I’m not looking for approval or a return of a favor when I help someone. The only person’s approval I need is my own. This change in my perspective helped me shed my resentment and focus on being thankful that I have the desire, energy, the time, and the means to help others. Furthermore, I realized how blessed I am being able to be on this side of giving and not having to depend on others for help. There’s no shame in needing help but there’s something special and liberating in being able to accomplish things on your own. As long as I keep my limitations in mind and make sure that I address my needs and my own family’s needs first, I’m happy to lend a hand to those around me. I have also learned that it is OK to say no sometimes and don’t feel bad about it at all, because while I’m saying no to one thing, I’m actually saying yes to another- myself!