Learn To Say No: Why Offering Unsolicited ‘Help’ Drains Your Energy

by Conscious Reminder

Are you someone who always struggles to say no to others? Be it just a helping hand or a major inconvenience caused to you, you always say yes to helping others, right?

It can be our friends, family, or strangers on the road. While helping others is great, it should not come at the cost of our own well being.

Honor Your Well Being

If you love yourself, you will learn to say no. When you keep suffering just to help others, it will affect those closest to you as well. You can be assertive without being rude. When someone asks for your help, you have the choice to say no. If overextending comes naturally to you, it might not be too easy to say no. but you have to start somewhere.

You can start your self-discovery journey to better understand this urge to help others. The Karpman’s Drama Triangle is a concept proposed by Dr. Stephen Karpman. This psychology theory suggests that there are oppressors, victims, and rescuers. And all over helpers come under ‘Rescuer’.

The Rescuer is the embodiment of the knight in shining armor who is ever prepared to rescue every dame and damsel in distress. And Karpman also suggests this need to help others rises from the expectation of being honored for the help offered.

But in reality, over helpers rarely get any honor and are often exploited by the oppressors. This is why it is important to draw the line when it comes to helping others. Obsessive helping can be detrimental for you and those around you. Over helpers often think their own needs are not important and hence fixate on others’ needs. This helps them disguise their own unmet needs and deny the problems.

Karpman argues over helpers and rescuers create two problems. First, they ignore their own issues, and second, they make others feel incapable. Since they cant solve their own issues, they seek a sense of worth by doing other people’s work. This renders the other person feeling rather incapable of solving their own problems.

So, how can you get out of this Rescuer mentality and start living for yourself?

1. Introspect

Next time you rush to help someone, pause, and reflect for a while. Ask yourself if the other person has directly asked for your help. Subtle cues are not always enough. Think of how your own vulnerabilities have often helped you grow wiser. Are you willing to rob this person the opportunity to grow by themselves? And the last thing would be to put yourself in their shoes. Would you have liked it if someone turned up and helped you fix the situation? You can help without being overly involved.

2. Healthy Boundaries

You don’t need to take control of others’ problems. Instead of being overly involved, draw some boundaries where you stop extending help unless directly asked for. You can just be the should they need or help them find a positive solution to the problem. Ask questions that can help them find their own solutions instead of providing them directly.

3. Be Responsible For Yourself

Overhelping is a defense mechanism, and you can control it by taking responsibility for yourself. Try to understand your own feelings and needs, and take responsibility. If you don’t feel comfortable, stop extending your help.

Think of why you want to help that person. Are you trying to ignore any of your own problems? If you feel obligated and don’t want to help, be assertive, and say NO. It is not your responsibility to save the world!

Understand that your overly helpful nature is indeed a defense mechanism that is hampering your growth. If you feel the toxic energy overwhelming you, seek refuge in some other activities. Start journaling, find other ways to stay grounded.

This will help you feel better about yourself and then help those that truly require your help. Learn to say NO to others so that you can say YES to yourself!

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