My dear friend Mary commented, on Facebook, on my last post, and it immediately provoked another post.
For some of us, even when we are already drowning in busyness, it is very hard to say no. For me it has always come from two things, one weakness and one strength.
The weakness is that I don't want to disappoint people. I don't want to make them sad. I don't want them to be mad at me. So I do things that I don't really want to do and for which I don't have time because I don't want to upset the asker. This is where I need to continue to learn to say no.
The strength is that I like to do things for people. I like to help people when they need help. I like to feed people. I like to host people and events. I have no desire to learn to say no to these things. If you need a meal, if your kid needs a ride somewhere, if you just need a break and need to have something done, ask me.
Learning to distinguish between these two has been tricky. Once in a while they are hard to tell apart. A couple of the people who push me to say no don't understand that all requests are not equal. But they aren't.
The other difficulty that grows out of not being able to say no is not being able to ask for help. I don't want to burden someone else who can't say no by asking them to do something, so I tend not to ask for help. I do, now, have a couple of people who I am pretty sure will tell me if they can't or don't want to do something. And that helps. I can ask them. Sometimes. But that is still really hard for me.