I Can’t Be That For You

By Quasha Ross

I am recently learning that I can’t be everything to everyone. Sometimes I drop the ball, I make mistakes, I’m distracted, I’m careless, I’m exhausted, and sometimes I just can’t. I often find myself pushing down my trauma, and it’s similar to forcing down the trash into a trash can just to make room for more. I am filled to capacity.

But, how do you tell someone you don’t have the capacity for them? This has been my struggle. I’m always the person listening to other people’s problems, offering advice, helping solve issues, but I rarely empty my own trash. I know how it feels to carry everyone’s stuff and not have room for your own.

It’s time to be honest, and just say, “I can’t be that for you.” I can’t be your therapist, your spouse, your teacher, your mentor, your everything. Personally, I find to be everything to everyone else; it takes a great deal of minimizing yourself. I’m tired of being small. I want to take up space in a way that reinforces to myself that I matter too.

As a people pleaser, I’m always looking for ways to make others happy, even if it means putting my happiness on the back burner. After a while, people-pleasing becomes exhausting, and it makes it hard to live life sincerely. It’s hard to let go of old ways, but I choose to live life differently now.

There will be times when I have to tell people, “I can’t be that for you.” I know that some people won’t understand it or agree with it, but it’s something I have to do for myself. I can’t continue to fill up space with other people and their needs while disregarding what I need.

Saving space for myself looks like:

  • Not answering the phone when I need time for myself
  • Declining invitations to go out when I need time for myself
  • Letting people make their own mistakes
  • Letting people go when they walk out of my life
  • Declining relationships that don’t match my standards
  • Yielding to red flags in relationships and friendships
  • Praying about everything, worrying about little

I’m sure I’ll make a few enemies in this process, which is a scary thing for a people pleaser, but what I need right now is something that people-pleasing can’t give me. I need reassurance that there is space for me in my own heart and mind. I’m confident I’ve saved space for others, but have I really kept space for myself? That’s a question that I don’t know the answer to, and that’s what scares me.

I’m no longer interested in putting myself on the back burner. I belong upfront. I always did.


Quasha Rossis a contributing writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. She’s a creative writer who believes writing is a true art form. Find Quasha on Instagram @quashaross_

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