Why It's Okay To Say When You Can't Help

I want to help people.

I like listening to their problems, letting them share their worries and together attempting to find a solution. I pride myself on my active listening and my ability to empathise, and I am thrilled that my friends and even people I know less well recognise that about me.

But sometimes I'm not strong enough to support others. Sometimes I have too much going on, or I'm too close to a situation to be able to detach myself. Sometimes I reach my limit, and to provide emotional support is to sacrifice a part of myself in the process. Yet time and time again I say "of course I'll talk to you" or "no it's not a problem".


Realistically I am no use to others if I am chipping away at myself in the process of helping them. it would be far better for all involved to say "right now I can't talk about this, but I'm more than happy to in the future" or "why don't you to talk to someone else?".

It is not a weakness to recognise my limits. It is not unfair to say when I am not capable of being a support. It is healthy to know when I am of use to others, and when I am not. It does not make me a bad friend, daughter or family member. It is okay to be human. 

This is something that I, without doubt, need to improve upon, but I'm glad that I have recognised it as a problem and can take the steps to rectify it. I think in my mind I expect them to know that I am not capable, but of course they won't. Why would they? We have a responsibility to take of ourselves, and sometimes that means accepting what we are and are not capable of and vocalising it.

It's okay to say that you can't help, don't ever think it's not.

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