I used to be very much a 'Yes' person. I always wanted to keep my colleagues or friends happy, didn't want to be seen as selfish, would always say 'Yes' even when I was groaning internally with my own time pressures.
Invitations, favours, work, helping out, it was all the same.
Then I met a boss at work who took me under his wing. What happened was I was often late with project work, and told him I was too busy helping other with their requests. Of course that reflected badly on me in my Bosses eyes. He made the point that helping others was tremendous, but not when it meant my own work and personal progress was sacrificed.
So I learnt to say 'No'. The trick he taught me was to be assertive and empathetic, but make it clear you cannot say yes to that request and why.
An example of what to say might be something like 'I'm really sorry but I can't fit that in today, I'm going to have to pass on that". Say it with meaning and attention to the person making the request.
How much better is that reply than simply saying 'No I can't help with that?" What this does is keep your personal rights intact, yet still shows the other person some respect and empathy. Keeps things from becoming an argument too!
It will help with your own feelings if you realise its not up to you to always solve other people's problems at the expense of your own progress. Yes it will be easy to feel rejected or hungry for approval of others, but over time respect towards you will grow.
Importantly, this doesn't mean never saying yes, there will always be occasions when its perfectly OK to do a favour, but not if it causes you angst and hurts your own self esteem.
It was a learning curve for me at the time, but became much easier with practice. The trick is to let others see your reason for saying no is genuine and important to you, rather than just not wanting to. You will have set boundaries without offending anyone needlessly.
What I was taught helped me a lot with relationships with myself and my friends.
Does anyone else have issues with being a 'Yes' person?
Regards, The Bro