I have a bad habit of saying yes to people. I say yes to favors even if those favors seem unreasonable. I say yes to taking on more responsibilities from superiors even if I clearly have too much on my plate. While I acknowledge the good and "selfless" side of saying yes, part of me has come to realize that I might be saying yes too much.
I'm not implying that saying yes is purely a bad thing. "Yes" can be a way to show concern for a friend or lover. "Yes" can entirely be an act of kindness. "Yes" can be someone's way of giving back. It's fine to say yes to favors, requests and all that jazz, but once you've abused your yeses, it's time to stop and instead tell them no.
The thing is, if you keep saying yes and offering your assistance to others, you're unknowingly saying no to your own growth. You say yes to helping someone with their projects, but you end up pouring your time toward that instead of the things that matter to you. You end up abandoning your own projects. Or, you might say yes to responsibilities that aren't yours to begin with. Yes, you might learn some skills, but who gets the credit in the end? You can't keep investing your time on things that won't help you move forward.
You don't have the obligation to say yes to others, to help others, because you aren't here to be a martyr. Oftentimes, people who recognize your skills and capabilities will deliberately use you. They accept that they do not have the ability to accomplish said task, and so they turn to whoever they think they can use. Don't allow those people to take advantage of your habit of saying yes. You weren't made to be someone's step up the ladder of success. You're here on equal footing with everyone else.
Don't allow people to guilt-trip you. Don't feel bad for saying no to people because, in the first place, their success should be rooted from their own hard work, not largely based on your assistance. Don't allow people to bully you for not helping them. That behavior alone clearly shows that they aren't capable of succeeding by themselves. If they need you so much, doesn't that make you question their abilities? Don't be guilty because you don't owe them shit.
Stop saying yes because you expect to get something in return. Most of the time, favors don't get reciprocated. If you do favors because you want that person to do a favor for you in the future, isn't that condition self-serving? If that's the case, better say no.
Stop feeling guilty for saying no. You aren't being selfish. You're thinking about your future as well as your growth. There is nothing wrong with acting a bit "selfish" sometimes, because that's how you get to where you want to be. How do you expect to reach the highest peak of your desired career if you spend all your time helping others reach their dreams? You need to think about YOU.
Don't pull others up while you hinder yourself.
Learn to say no.