As an adult, I've discovered a new magic word. NO.
It's next to impossible for some of us to learn to say this word. I know that I have had an extremely hard time re-acquainting myself with this word. As children we are all VERY familiar with it. (Who hasn't heard a precocious 3 year old loudly proclaim "NO, MOMMY!!" when in a restaurant/grocery store etc?) As you grow older, you learn to spare people's feelings, and bend your schedule to accommodate other folks.
I had myself extremely overbooked and since I am a people pleaser, it is extremely hard for me to say no to something. I am normally the person that will just make things work to help out whoever I can. Don't get me wrong I love helping folks out. I just lost sight of boundaries. I got a rude awakening this summer when I agreed to take on a project that while near and dear to my heart as a cause, I could already see into the future was going to eat up any possible free time I may have had as well as been a bad match with the cause's leader. It took me a week of going back and forth, fearing that the people I agreed to help would be disappointed in me, that they wouldn't want my help in any other capacity. Instead, when I said I had to step down, while it was met with resistance, when I stood my ground, it was AMAZING the feeling I felt afterwards.
Since then I have learned that wielding that word can prove dangerous, yet fruitful at the same time. Dangerous in the sense that if you don't phrase your answer juuuuuust right, you might truly hurt someone you didn't mean to, and the time to recover that is harder than the time it would have taken for you to think about what you were about to say. Fruitful because it sets up a boundary with some people that may need to be pushed back in your life for a season. You don't hate them, you don't not want them in your life, you just want them to respect the fact that you have to have some time (no matter how little it seems) for YOU.